Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Slice of Life Story: Finding My Way Back to Books

Last week, I wrote about, How Children's Books Saved My Life.  While this is true, the day that my husband passed, I entered what I call "The Reading Slump of a Lifetime."  I've been in reading slumps many times.  I can't seem to figure out what to read and nothing seems appealing, or to be able to live up to what I had just completed.   "The Reading Slump of a Lifetime," began that fateful day and lasted for about 2 years. For many months I had no interest in reading anything at all.  Then when I tried to pick up the pieces of my reading life, I began with picture books.  I just couldn't do it- picture books didn't appeal and I couldn't even fathom reading a middle grade or YA, not to mention and adult selection.  I was simply not interested in reading in the voracious manner that I once had.  Books seemed to be of the past, having to do with my previous life- before I was a widow.  Reading and books were lost to me.  I just couldn't fathom living the same bookish life.  

Talking about the reading funk didn't help, so I decided to give myself the gift of time and repeated attempts at reading whatever I thought it might help.  Eventually I realized that the bookish life that I so longed for, WAS my life.  I just wasn't the same person as I once had been.  What I needed was time. Time to heal and become the person that I am today.  That person is the bookish girl who loves everything about books, and reading, bookstores, libraries, and anything book-related.    

I am happy to report that I am back- the true book nerd that I always have been!  If anything, I believe that I am today, an even bigger bibliophile.  I read daily, continuously add to my TBR list, blog about books, bookshop regularly, seek out bookish adventures, care for a Little Free Library, visit LFLs, collect bookish knick knacks, talk about books, and decorate my home with bookish decor.  

I used to read as many new books as I could.  Although reading new releases is something that I do often, I no longer try to "keep up with the Jones'" of the book community.  I spend my time reading what I want, when I want. One of my pursuits is to catch up on the wonderful books that I may have missed over the years.  So, if you can recommend your favorites from the last 4 years, I'd love to hear about them and possibly add them to my ever-growing TBR list.  Please leave the titles in the comments. Let's talk books!  Thank you!

Happy Reading!  

What is Slice of Life?  Visit Two Writing Teachers to learn more.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? My Bookish Life

Jen from  Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers are co-hosting the #IMWAYR blog hop.  Check out all the links to other blogs and see what great children's literature everyone is sharing; picture books, middle grade, and young adult.  

What I've Been Reading:
This month, I am participating in "Series September," a reading challenge created by Krista at Books and Jams I'm working on completing some of her prompts on the BINGO board.  This book completes 3 prompts, "Read a book in the most recent series you’ve started," "Read the second book in a series," and "Read your newest purchase that’s part of a series." Whoo!  Hoo!  I'm not sure of the next, series prompt that I will be reading from, but stay tuned for my update next week!  

Anna James' series, Pages and Co. is a cozy, fantasy, where Tilly and her family are all "book wanderers" (they can travel inside of a book). Since The Lost Fairy Tales is the second book in the series, I don't want to give away too much.  I'll simply tell you, that Tilly and her friend, Oscar, discover that he is also a "book wanderer," and there is a problem inside fairy tale books.  
The 2nd book in the Pages and Co. series by Anna James
Photo by Amy Soto

Last week was a busy book week.  I received an order from Book Outlet, went to my local bookstore, and donated a book to my church, and donated a book to my daughter's, mosque's library.   

The book that I plan to donate to my church’s Sunday School.
Photo by Amy Soto

I Prayed for You is a sweet story about mama bear and how she explains that she has prayed for baby bear on many occasions, beginning with baby's birth through the time that he starts school.  I know that the Sunday school teachers at my church will enjoy sharing this story with their students, especially the nursery class.  They may even want to read it aloud during one of their Wednesday evening, bedtime stories.  The bedtime stories are read aloud each week, online.  If interested, you can check them out, each Wednesday evening on the church's Facebook page, here (Fairview United Methodist Church).

My Book Outlet Haul
Photo by Amy Soto

The book I donated to my daughter, Sienna's mosque.
Photo by Amy Soto

In My Mosque is a beautifully written and illustrated story about visiting a mosque, from the perspective of a child.  It is an important book that should be read aloud, shared, and discussed with both children and adults.  In My Mosque will open doors to diversity, and foster understanding and acceptance.  

Treasures purchased at my local bookstore. 
Photo by Amy Soto

Pugtato Finds a Thing will be added to my collection of books about pugs (I have a black pug, named Mr. Wrinkles and I recently lost a fawn pug, named Miley).  This is an adorable story about Pugtato (a potato, illustrated as a pug), who finds something mysterious.  He asks each of his friends (other vegetables, or "Spuddies," in the garden which are the likenesses of animals, for example, "Purrsnip" and "Tomatoad"), if they are able to help him determine what the mystery object could be.  Pugtato Finds a Thing, is a story of friendship, told in rhyming text, and has the cutest artwork!  What a fun read aloud!

You Belong Here is poetic and lyrical.  Clark explores various ways in which creatures belong where they do, and, of course, how you belong, "right where you are."  The artwork is lovely - done mostly in shades of black, white, and gray, with occasional, pops of muted color.  I think this book can be gifted to anyone that you love, as well as be a beautiful read aloud.    

Stay tuned for, Gustovo the Shy Ghost - it is on my TBR pile for this week!

What I've Been Writing:
                                                                                                                            One of my favorite ways to create journal entries, is to write lists.  I like to pair my lists with scrapbook-type page layouts.  Some layouts are simply decorated with some stickers and die cuts, while others are more elaborate and involve the use of decorative papers, stamping, stickers, die cuts, and any other embellishment that I find looks pleasing.   

A list from my journal.
Photo by Amy Soto

This was a reread/listen for me.  I took notes this time!
Photo by Amy Soto

Another bit of writing that I like to do, is keep a Reading Journal.  My current Reading Journal is being kept in a bookish planner.  I record what I am reading and create TBR lists in my journal.  Additionally, I sometimes jot down notes about the particular books that I am reading.  

My Reading Journal.
Photo by Amy Soto

What I've Been Learning:                                                                                                                          I am always learning about both memoir and poetry writing, as I work on writing in both formats.  My favorite poet, author, and friend has a wonderful website!  I am constantly visiting Amy Ludwig Vanderwater's site, The Poem Farm, for poetry reading, and writing inspiration!  Be sure to visit!

                           Amy LV’s awesome website.       

                     Photo by Amy Soto 

What I've Been Loving:                                                                                                                            I was asked to be my church's Little Free Library's "Librarian."  I live across the street from the church and am tasked with keeping the LFL organized and stocked with books.  I have a room in the church where I store donated books, from which I restock the LFL.  I also donate books from my personal collection or pick up new ones on occasion.  I love being the "librarian" and stop over on a regular basis to check on the library.  I recently  added the little flag!  Once of my most favorite things about the LFL is that I am often able to see patrons visiting and borrowing or placing books inside.  

My church’s Little Free Library.
Photo by Amy Soto

My reading plans continue to include some pool-side reading - I'm determined to get in as much time by and in the pool as I can before it has to be closed up for the season.  I also plan to get in some front porch reading time on the cooler evenings.  Whatever your plans may be, I hope you have a wonderful reading (and writing?) week ahead! 

Happy Reading!

My front porch.
Photo by Amy Soto

Poetry Break (revisited)!

"Poetry Break!" . . .  Several years ago, on my original blog,  Mrs. Merrill's Book Break,  I explained and featured my "...