Quest books for Book Bingo

Hello! It’s time for our next installment of Book Bingo categories… Quest.

It’s one of those words that wants to be said with emphasis, isn’t it?

So here, we’re not just talking about a small “I want” — we’re going big.

We’re going fairytale-size quest, we’re going to the moon.

Here are 5 books of people on a serious quest…

  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
  • Robbergirl by S.T. Gibson
  • You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
  • Rocket Men by Robert Kurson

So what amazingly quest-filled book are you going to read for this category? And what are the favorite quest books you’ve read earlier?

We could all use a little more quest in our lives…

5 Anti-racist Books for Book Bingo

Hello, readers! As I mentioned last week, this new series of posts will offer 5 books for each Book Bingo category. 

“Anti-racist” is up next, and there are so many great books to choose from. 

Finally, I selected 3 nonfiction books: a moving memoir, a powerful sociological/self-improvement book, and an historical perspective; and 2 works of fiction: a heart-rending novel and a soul-stirring YA book.

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

As I mentioned, there are many, many remarkable anti-racist books. For more suggestions, check out these articles:

 

With so many books to choose from, what book about anti-racism are you going to read next?

5 Books from “1000 Books Before You Die” for Book Bingo

Introducing a new series of blog posts, all about Book Bingo! 

We’re going to be taking a look at this year’s book bingo card and suggesting 5 books for each category. 

And because I love orderliness in my list-making, we’re starting in the upper left corner and taking them in order from left to right… just like we’re reading.

…which means: 1000 Books Before You Die is our first category. 

For this category, the idea is to choose a book from James Mustich’s magnificent opus, 1000 Books to Read Before You Die. He’s generously created a website that lists the books, so you can check it out there. Or… check out his book from the library, or even buy a copy.   

When I heard Mustich interviewed on the Just the Right Book podcast, host Roxane Coady asked him to name just one book. He named two. (Let’s admit it: we’d all name more than one.)

His top 2: Middlemarch by George Eliot and The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban

 

Here’s my selection of 5 sure bets from his full list… 

 

There are oodles (995!) more to choose from, so let the games begin!

Once you decide, I’ll be curious to hear… Which book are you going to choose from 1000 Books to Read Before You Die?

Introducing Book Bingo 2021

Welcome to Book Bingo 2021!

It’s a new year, my friends, and it’s time for some new goals and new changes to move all of our lives in a good direction. We hope Book Bingo can help you structure your reading in a positive way.

The Theme

This year’s theme is nautical because some of our categories (Knotty, Survival, The Explorer, Breezy) made us think of the sea. Also because we like the ocean (just like the year we had a pizza theme just because we love the pizza).

The Team

Book Bingo happens each year because of the collaborative efforts of two of the world’s finest humans

  • My dear friend, who brings inspiration and humor and intelligence and fun to the whole process
  • The Dear Man, who brings the graphical brilliance and creativity and delight to our design every year. We give him a few phrases and he turns it into something beautiful.

How to Play

  • Read a book that fits the category. Each book can qualify for only one category.
  • Complete just one row or column, or go for blackout by reading a book in every category.
  • All books must be finished in 2021. Books started in 2020 but finished in 2021 count.
  • We’ve provided some definitions, but you can free-style it if you like—as long as you can make a case that the book fits the category. (This is one of my favorite sports)
  • All categories can be fiction or nonfiction (your choice), unless otherwise specified.

The Categories

To Sign Up

Couldn’t be easier… just leave a Comment on this post with your name. If you’re a blogger, also include your blog name & URL so we can follow along with you.

The Printables

Here’s the bingo card in pdf format:

Questions? Answers!

If you have any questions about any of the categories, ask your question in the Comments of this post, and I promise I’ll respond.

 

Now let’s start doing some reading, my friends!

It’s time for anti-racism

Being a non-racist is no longer enough, and it was never enough, and I see that clearly now. It’s time for anti-racism. It’s actually been time for a long time.

I am deeply saddened by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. I believe that Black Lives Matter. I stand with Black Americans in condemning violence and systemic racism toward Black people and all people of color. 

I recognize that merely stating these beliefs is not enough.

Here’s my commitment as a book blogger:

I will amplify the voices of Black authors and other authors of color.

I will look for more book bloggers of color to follow.

I acknowledge that I have much to learn about racism and anti-racism, and it’s my responsibility to do that learning. 

On my TBR:

Books specifically about anti-racism

  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo

Books by Black authors

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates  (it’s time to re-read this book)
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
  • Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim

What books would you recommend?

What I’ve been reading: April 2020

Reading in the time of global pandemic… Things are not normal for any of us, my friends. And my reading life is way off-kilter (everything is off-kilter!) even though I’m finding that reaching for a book is a necessary tonic at the end of each very long day. 

So for me, reading is more essential than ever. And it’s also in fairly short supply. But it’s enough to replenish my energy and restore some equilibrium. It’s my daily re-set. 

In April, I finished only three books. I’m calling it good. And I’m so thankful for these three books, which truly carried a heavy load for me.

Means of Ascent by Robert A. Caro

3 words: in-depth, cinematic, dramatic

Give this book a whirl if you like… portraits of powerful people, the complex personality of LBJ, in-depth research and scene-building, gorgeous storytelling, thinking about the ends vs the means in politics

 

Passing by Nella Larsen

3 words: lyrical, powerful, interpersonal

Give this book a whirl if you like… Harlem Renaissance writers, #ownvoices, thinking about race, women’s friendships, stories about life choices

 

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb

3 words: intimate, engaging, compelling

Give this book a whirl if you like… great storytelling, worklife narratives, inside baseball, behind the scenes in therapy, unflinching self-scrutiny

 

So what’s going on in your reading life? Is your reading disrupted? Or are you reading differently these days? 

Stay safe and well, my bookish friends…

Book Bingo: quarantine variation

Many of us are a full month into quarantine, and these are not normal times. 

Raise of hands — how many people have examined their bookshelves and counted the number of TBR books as an emotional comfort tactic?   (Me, too. [My answer: 36])

As I was gazing at my shelves, it occurred to me that we could play Book Bingo quarantine-style… and here’s how that goes. 

On your bookshelves, find books for each category on the bingo card. If you feel so inclined, type your titles into the Comments (or highlight a few that make you especially happy or that are a total stretch or that are so perfect you can hardly stand it). 

I’ll report on my matches in a later post. 

Now… off to my shelves with the bingo card…

Wanna join me?

Comfort reads

Anyone else turning to sure-bet comfort reading right now? I’m right there with you.

When times are uncertain or scary, I gravitate toward books that offer reassurance that things’ll be OK. 

Here are some of my favorite comforting books…

What I’ve been reading: March 2020

As I look back on the books I finished reading in early March, it seems like a lifetime ago. This new strangeness we’re living in… it creates a warped sense of time. And also of experience. When I look at the first couple of books on this list, I think of what a naive, unaware person I was then: quarantine would’ve seemed like something from a dystopian novel. 

But here we are, my friends. And we’re still here — still carrying on and still reading. And that’s something we can be thankful for. I’m glad you’re here. 

 

The March reading list: here it is… 

Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of the Children’s Ship by Deborah Heiligman 

3 words: vivid, urgent, gripping

Give this book a whirl if you like… British children evacuees during WWII, shipwrecks, true tragedy, quiet heroism

 

Lady Bird and Lyndon: The Hidden Story of a Marriage That Made a President by Betty Boyd Caroli

3 words: revealing, intimate, behind-the-scenes

Give this book a whirl if you like… learning the role and motivations of Lady Bird Johnson, stories of political partnerships, strong women, the power of subtle influence

 

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine

3 words: joyful, quietly enthusiastic, encouraging

Give this book a whirl if you like… developing a philosophy for living, envisioning the worst so you can appreciate what you you have, finding peace, diminishing anxiety

 

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

3 words: atmospheric, menacing, unfolding

Give this book a whirl if you like… #OwnVoices, Southern mystery, current-day Southern plantation tourist site, single mothers

 

Welcome to Replica Dodge by Natalie Ruth Joynton

3 words: introspective, lyrical, intimate

Give this book a whirl if you like… beautifully written memoirs of everyday life, stories of religious conversion, fish out of water narratives, Jewish life, story of a new marriage and building a life together

 

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

3 words: folksy, heartwarming, uplifting

Give this book a whirl if you like… cats, small town America, the importance of libraries to the life of a community, Iowa

 

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

3 words: sobering, nuanced, thoughtful

Give this book a whirl if you like… learning about Japenese American internment camps, blend of a child’s innocence and an adult’s reflections, WWII, memoirs in graphic novel form

 

What have you been reading lately?

What I’ve been reading: February 2020

All month, I had the feeling that I was reading lots of books but not finishing very many of them. I was sampling and bailing, and I was reading books that I’ve had underway since January… and still not finishing them. 

But when I look back at this month’s reading, it’s actually quite a satisfying list. 

Here’s what I read–and finished–this month…

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

3 words: raw, honest, grim but hopeful

Give this book a whirl if you like… overcoming, woman in a downward spiral, confronting racism and sexism, #ownvoices, getting help

 

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

3 words: lyrical, powerful, emotional

Give this book a whirl if you like… modern Native American lives, hockey, survivors of abuse, stories of difficult childhoods, Canadian fiction, #ownvoices 

 

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

3 words: comforting, bookish, romantic

Give this book a whirl if you like… small town setting, fish out of water, books set in bookstores, friendship through letter writing, reinventing oneself, the power of one person to change people’s lives

 

Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living by Elizabeth Willard Thames

3 words: personal, conversational, unconventional 

Give this book a whirl if you like… personal finance, homestead living, frugality, FIRE movement, young couple charting their own course, stories of personal growth

 

Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow

3 words: fast-paced, investigative, disturbing

Give this book a whirl if you like… shocking behind-the-scenes stories of cover-ups of wrongdoing, investigative journalism, #MeToo, Bad Blood

 

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

3 words: irreverant, surprising, engaging

Give this book a whirl if you like… a touch of magical realism, first person narratives, twins, unconventional nannies, quirky characters, politicians in fiction, female friendship

 

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

3 words: practical, encouraging, totally do-able

Give this book a whirl if you like… customizable tactics for adding good habits and eliminating bad ones, research-backed strategies, a conversational tone, small steps that can make a big difference

 

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

3 words: informative, surprising, practical 

Give this book a whirl if you like… learning about what motivates us (and what doesn’t), rethinking ways of working and conceptualizing work 

 

What were your favorite books of February?