A Book Survey

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  1. Favorite childhood books? The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, The Cay by Theodore Taylor, The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill.pexels-photo-373465.jpeg
  2. What books do you have on request at the library? Currently three of them. Life As A Pioneer on the Oregon Trail by Jeri Freedman, Frontier Grit: The Unlikely True Stories of Daring Pioneer Women by Marianne Monson, and Surviving the Journey: The Story of the Oregon Trail by Danny Kravitz.
  3. What do you currently have checked out at the library? Strangely enough, I have two books out right now, but my online account says only one. Good thing I’ve read Oregon Trail Revisited by Gregory Franzwa before and will return it. I also have Pioneer Children on the Journey West by Emmy E. Werner.
  4. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? Ultimately I prefer to read one at a time in order to keep the story lines straight; but oftentimes I have multiple books going because I read for different aspects of my life.
  5. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? I think I’d say “regularly,” at this point. Growing up I avoided anything out of my comfort zone, but now-a-days I am willing to pick up and give any book a shot.
  6. What is your reading comfort zone? Anything but science fiction, but as I said in number five, I’ll read that now, too.
  7. Can you read on the bus? Yes. Also in a car, on a train, in an airplane, while walking, and quite possibly I could read a book while I ride my bike. I’m pretty talented.
  8. Do you ever dog-ear books? Yes; I see no problem in making a book mine if it’s going to be mine.
  9. Do you ever write in the margins of your books? All. The. Time. I love to “close read” and annotate while I have a new books. Many of my nonfiction books are both dog-eared AND written all over. Love on your books, they’re just paper!
  10. What will inspire you to recommend a book? If I can’t stop thinking about a book after I’ve finished it, I want to share it. If I stay up too late at night reading a book, I’ll recommend it. If a book made me think, cry, or question my own life, I’ll tell other people about it!

WWW Wednesday, 4/25/18

“For those of you who don’t know, WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.” Today, I found this lovely meme at Peaks and Pages. To particippexels-photo-261909.jpegate, just answer the following questions:

1. What did you read last?

The last book I was reading is Pioneer Children on the Journey West by Emmy E. Werner. I went to the library ALONE last night and got to pick out some historical nonfiction to help my own word count. Recounting a child’s trek across the out-West trails is an insight I gladly welcome.

2. What are you currently reading?

The words on this screen? Okay, so I guess the first question and this question deserve different answers, even if they are close to the same question. For pleasure, I am reading The Rendezvous Series by Win Blevins which I blogged about a few days back. Sam is on his adventure to St. Louis at this point, and he’s already had a few tough twists and turns in his life. Pick it up if you’re into well-written and cleanly described historical fiction.

3. What will you read next?

I don’t know. I rarely plan which book comes after the one I’m working on. The Rendezvous Series is a series, though, so if I’m loving the first part of Sam’s trek out West this much, I would bet that books 2-6 (yes, there are SIX! of them) will be right behind the first of the series.


I subscribe to the idea of those with chronic illness are provided a set number of “spoons*” for themselves. Each of those spoons represents the effort it takes to accomplish a task. (You can read the story behind Spoons at But You Don’t Look Sick?)

Getting ready in the morning requires a spoon; sometimes even getting out of bed takes a quarter of a spoon … so everything I do takes away from my spoons. Making coffee, packing a lunch, even driving into work costs me spoons. Driving home, cleaning up after my family, cooking and then cleaning up dinner, getting Moo into and out of the bath and then into bed … everything.

  • Spoons are more expensive when you’re sick.
  • Spoons are more expensive when you’re tired.
  • Spoons are more expensive when there’s an approaching deadline.

Oh, and you don’t get more spoons when you need them.

I estimate on a GOOD day, I have 12 spoons total. Let’s do some maths.

  • getting up + getting ready for work, no shower = 1 spoon
  • driving safely to work without irritation of other terrible drivers = 1 spoon
  • teaching all day long (just teaching) = 5 spoons
  • grading + planning + counseling students = 2 spoons
  • parent/staff/disciplinary meeting (not daily) = 2 spoons
  • driving home + cleaning up after family at home = 1 spoon
  • planning, shopping for, prepping, cooking, and cleaning up after dinner = 1 spoon
  • Moo’s bath time, bedtime, sleep time prep = 1 spoon

I’m out of spoons and I have a few hours of my day left. I can either sit on the couch and stare at the boob tube (or play a game on my phone), or I can start a load of laundry, tidy the living room, organize bills for the month, refill my meds container, or shower to prepare for tomorrow.

Ultimately, there are not enough spoons in my life.

Teaching requires too many of my spoons each week. I can’t keep a house, a family, and a life outside of my classroom with chronic illness. pexels-photo-313690.jpeg

Teaching may be my calling, but I have to put her on hold for a little while to figure out the best kind of environment for my skills — a dedicated middle school homeroom teacher is too much!


*There are many people with chronic illness who hate the idea of spoon theory; so I understand it’s not for everyone.

So Wild a Dream – Win Blevins

To help inspire my own narrative, I’ve been reading a bit of historical fiction. My novel is set in the early 1830s with a family trekking the newly routed “Oregon” trail.

The Rendezvous Series by Win Blevins

As an avid reader, I utilize both Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading with Amazon and a few days ago I discovered Win Blevins’ The Rendezvous Series. I started reading So Wild a Dream night before last and I cannot put it down.

Sam Morgan decides that he’s done with the halters and reigns of East coast gentlemen. He’s been badly hurt by one of his closest friends and decides to leave the safety of his family and friends to trek across the new nation.

I’m eight chapters into So Wild a Dream right now and I’m already emotionally involved in Sam’s adventure. I am pulling details, inspiration, and encouragement from Blevins’ beautiful writing.

If you are interested in stories about truly human characters, So Wild a Dream is a great series to get into. If you are looking for historically accurate pictures of the wild “West,” this is a solid introduction. If you’re looking for romance, adventure, and lesson in the Oregon Trail, you’ll enjoy this book! (More once I’ve finished the first book!)


Solving Problems with the Wizard

I have trouble with audio books.pexels-photo-373945.jpeg

love reading.

I hate being read to …

… even when the reader is skilled and engaged.

I get stressed out listening to how slowly and clearly every. syllable. is. perfectly. enunciated. while reading for an audio book.

Last night, in an insomnia-ridden haze, exfoliator in my eye prevented me from reading my Kindle.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum has been a favorite tale since preschool, and while I have read the book, seen all the movie variations, own the graphic novels, and regularly belt out “Over the Rainbow,” in my car I had never listened to the book. Until last night.  Miraculously, I fell asleep on two separate moments to Phil Chenevert’s voice reading L. Frank Baum’s words!

Knowing the story line behind the chapters, anticipating Dorothy’s actions, or miming the Wizard’s words kept me an active listener. I was able to enjoy the story instead of rushing through the plot!  The conundrum with audio books may have been solved by that magical Wizard of Oz.

An Introduction

coffeeliquidhugI think the last time I did one of these memes I was still in college. That was like two decades ago. I’m not new to this scene.


Author you’ve read the most books from: Patricia Cornwell, easily. In high school I started with Postmortem and through college I read her books. Almost 20 years later, when a new one appears at the library even now, I tear through it.

Best Sequel Ever: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Return of the King; it was a sequel to the second in the series. That works, right?

Currently Reading: The Troop by Nick Cutter

Drink of Choice While Reading: strong coffee; though a cold San Pellegrino is right behind that.

E-reader or Physical Book? I prefer my Kindle Paperwhite, but I love to read a physical book. I love to take notes in books and that’s hard with a Paperwhite, but I love being able to take hundreds of books with me in a single pocket and that’s hard with physical books.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:  Charlie Kelmeckis, the narrator in The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: Hugh Howey’s Wool; absolutely worth the read!

Hidden Gem Book: The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

Important Moment in your Reading Life: I was barely four years old, and my dad took me on a job site with him. I asked a stranger “may I read a book to you?” and while the stranger was willing to let this little kid “read” a book to her, I read the actual words from the page to her and still (31 years later!) remember her shocked expression as I told her The Story of Ferdinand.

Just Finished: I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read: *smells something stinky face* What? I’d read anything. I can find the good in any book.

Longest Book You’ve Read: Centennial by James Michner (1,056 pages; read it multiple times, too!)

Major book hangover because of: She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. I go back to this book when I’m stuck in a place where I’m feeling low emotion … this book always restarts an emotional journey for me.

Number of Bookcases You Own: Just one, but my entire hallways is built-in bookshelves, Kal’s office has three seven-foot bookcases, we have a bookshelf in the kitchen (yes), and there are five built-in library shelves in my office. I also have PILES of books around because I don’t always put them on the bookcase shelves I do have!

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: Just one? The Phantom Tollbooth is one of my favorites since fourth grade. Norton Juster’s wordplay is beautiful.

Preferred Place To Read: alone, near the ocean in a hammock in 78* weather with a slight breeze. Most often I read in or on the bed, though. Now that I’m not teaching I plan to read EVERYWHERE again.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: “‘Only the rocks live forever,’ Gray Wolf said.” from Michner’s Centennial. (Thanks Mr. Thomas for making me read this book; it changed my life.)

Reading Regret: not trying science fiction as a high school student; I was set completely against it and I wish that I had been exposed to more “boy” books as a kid.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series): The Magicians series from Lev Grossman; it got too dark and sexual for me and I had to quit reading.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books: (I’m only mentioning ones that weren’t previously mentioned … I have a lot of “all-time favorite” books.) 1) I Am Charlotte Simmons: A Novel by Tom Wolfe     2) Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson     3) Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Unapologetic Fangirl For: John Green’s books … I like them all.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others: uh, I don’t actually keep up with book releases; I just pick up what strikes me as something I might enjoy. I don’t think that’s a weird or bad thing.

Worst Bookish Habit: most people think this is terrible, but I actually DO NOT. I write in my books. I write in all my physical reading books. I once lent a very well and close-read copy of Made in America to a boy. He didn’t return it and I regret ever sharing that book with him. LOL

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: I had to get up to do this, you owe me a coffee. Marvel’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz graphic novel; it’s one of my more recent purchases!

Your latest book purchase: HAH! It wasn’t for me, but last weekend I bought Moo My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Wondercolts Forever: The Diary of Celestia and Luna by Hasbro. The last book I bought for myself was National Geographic The Greeks: An Illustrated History by Diane Harris Cline. I like ancient civilizations.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan.
this meme discovered on The Perpetual Page Turner