Unruly Reading: Q1 report

Anyone else wild about statistics? Me, too!

The only college textbook (that’s an actual textbook) that I kept is this little beauty, because I adore it.

I know: I’ve got some issues.

But there are up sides to everything, and in this case, I’ve got some serious numbers about my reading.

Here’s what’s happened in the first 3 months of the year around here:

 

My favorites so far this year:

 

So, good people… What’s the best book you’ve read in the first quarter of 2017?

Bookish Advent calendar

Last year I described the amazing Advent calendar tradition my friend developed, and I’m glad to report the tradition’s going strong.

To recap…

My friend, who is a wickedly talented artist, felted this Advent calendar (which I like to leave on the wall year-round, but she chastises me for doing that, which I rather like: it’s part of our shtick).

 

And then she fills it each year with quotes, mostly from books.

And I give her a collection of daily quotes for Advent, too.

And then… this additional step, which caps it all off:

We met earlier this week to discuss which quotes were our favorites.

My favorites that were given unto me:

 

There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.

– Bram Stoker, Dracula

 

No one hits the bullseye with the first arrow.

– Sybil, Downton Abbey, S1, E4

 

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

– Agatha Christie

 

I mean seriously… Aren’t those good?

 

And here are my friend’s favorites:

 

Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.

– Hafiz of Persia

 

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.

– A.A. Milne

 

 

Never let a good crisis go to waste.

– Winston Churchill

 

 

So… I’ve already begun compiling her quotes for next year, which has me doing things like checking out the printed book of an audiobook I’m reading, so I can capture the quote that I think she’ll like.

It’s like reading with a purpose, all year long. I like it so very much.

 

Unruly Reader — the new web address

Greetings from the WordPress trenches!

 

I continue to toil away at the WordPress conversion, and today’s big switch is this:

We’ve got ourselves a new URL here, my friends.

 

So, if you’re kind enough to include Unruly Reader on your blogroll (thank you, good people!) here’s the new address:

unrulyreader.com

 

Ain’t it pretty?

 

Speaking of pretty and blogs…

Here’s a photo of one of the fabulous gifts the Dear Man gave me for Christmas…

It’s a mug with my blog logo on it!!!

Lucky blogger? Absolutely YES.

Currently… WordPress conversion

We’re right in the middle of the holiday season (Happy holidays, everyone!) …so what better time to convert a blog from Blogger to WordPress, right?

It’s not like there’s anything else going on.

It actually wasn’t supposed to be like this. But I just finished a WordPress class, and part 2 begins in mid-January, and I wanted a WordPress site up and running so I could tinker with it. I learn better that way.

And then one day I thought, “I’ll set up web hosting this evening and then move my blog over at a convenient time.” [nods head with satisfaction]

But various things led to my transferring it that very night, and man did it ever look ugly.

(If you stopped by last week, you know what I’m talking about. [If you’re here right now, you know what I’m talking about.])

So: my free time (when not wrapping gifts and making holiday preparations) has been gobbled up by the WordPress Learning Curve.

Thank goodness I took that class, or I’d be completely lost.

But still, guys? I’m still pretty lost.

 

So… here’s my Big Ask:

Bloggers using WordPress… What tips can you offer me?

What plugins are essential for my happiness and well-being?

If you see weird things on my blog that are ridiculously easy fixes, please tell me about it.

If you’ve got WordPress hacks, I am all ears.

 

Thank you, my friends.

Best Books of 2016 – new to me

It’s that wonderful time of year, guys… the year-end “best” lists.

I love this time of year. 

 

Earlier in the week, I posted my list of the best books of 2016, published in 2016.

 

Today we’re looking at the best books I read in 2016 that were published earlier.

 

Here are my favorites…

 

Best Fiction

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

 

Best Nonfiction

Quiet by Susan Cain

 

Best Mystery

Stillwater by Melissa Lenhardt

 

 

Best YA Fiction

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

 

Best Children’s Fiction

Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

 

Best Biography

Being Nixon by Evan Thomas

 

Best Memoir

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

 

Best Self-Improvement Book

Getting Things Done by David Allen

 

Best Fantasy

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

 

Best Essay Collection

Hidden America by Jeanne Marie Laskas

 

Best Book I Won’t Finish Until Next Year

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

 

 

So, dear readers… what were your favorite books of the year? 

Best books of 2016

It’s time for #libfaves16 on Twitter, my friends, and that means making some hard choices.
The idea is to list your top 10 favorite books that were published in 2016.
And then rank them.
This is difficult.
So I basically went with my gut.
A Gentleman in Moscow was this year’s clear winner, but the other rankings could shuffle around if you asked me on a different day. But the top 5 would remain the top 5.
Here goes…
Gracious, engaging, triumphant

 

Personal, informative, domestic

 

Introspective, unflinching, surprising
Lyrical, brutal, magical realism

 

Exuberant, collaborative, insider info
Unflinching, personal, troubling

 

7. The Clancys of Queens by Tara Clancy
Sharp, conversational, unexpected

 

Rollicking, informative, conversational

 

Lyrical, poignant, personal

 

10. The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King
Layered, innovative, historical

Book Bingo 2017

 

 

OK, good people. Here it is.
Book Bingo 2017… revealed!
Again this year, my good friend and I compiled ideas, then narrowed the list down to these 25 categories.
The planning session is tremendous. (It’s one of my favorite annual events.)
Then the Dear Man made our categories look terrific by creating this fabulous bingo card. (We said, “Wild West theme, please!” and he did it up right.)
Here’s more…
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 2017. Books started in 2016 but finished in 2017 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.
  • All categories can be fiction or nonfiction (your choice), unless otherwise specified.
About the Categories
Pop Psychology
Nonfiction books about why we do the things we do
Outlaw
A book about person who lives by his/her own code
Doom and Gloom
When things go terribly wrong
Guilty Pleasure
Something you shouldn’t like, but you like it anyway
Water
Water is a key element of the story, whether it be setting, activity, or natural phenomenon
Indigenous Peoples
A book about Native Americans, First Nations, the Inuit, or Aborigines
The Journey
­­A transformative experience or a literal journey
A Book I Own
Read something from your own shelf
Highbrow
Literary, scholarly, or classic
Boomer Lit
Written by Baby Boomers, for Baby Boomers
Where I Grew Up
A book set in a place where you spent your childhood
Escape
A book about someone breaking free—either literally or metaphorically—or a book that is a true escape for you as a reader
Assigned Reading
A book you need to read
Creativity
Exploring the creative process
Asia
A book with an Asian author, character, or setting
Library of Congress Fiction Prize
A book written by an author who won this honor
Bookstore Discovery
A book you found at a bookstore
Bad Title
The title doesn’t fit the book. Or the book sounds good, but you hate the title.
Occupational Hazards
A book about a job or workplace. Or a book that helps you become better at your work
Midcentury Modern
Pick your century, then find a book written in the midst of that century, that has a progressive or modern outlook
Author’s Name Begins With M
The author’s first or last name begins with the letter “M”
Best in Class
One of the best examples of its genre
The Outdoors
A book about, or set in, the natural world
Hot
A trending book or author, a steamy romance, or a book set in a hot climate
Up in the Air
Planes, planets, astronauts, birds, pollution, clouds, uncertainty, uprootedness — anything that’s up in the air
Join the fun!

Nonfiction November: New to my TBR

It’s an embarrassment of riches, the Nonfiction November experience.  
My TBR just grew by a substantial percentage.  
This is not a complaint. 
So, as we finish out this month of nonfiction splendor, here’s this week’s topic, brought to us to Lory of The Emerald City Book Review:
New to My TBR:
It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have
made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who
posted about that book!
Here are some of my new TBR highlights, with thanks to each blogger who made thoughtful personal recommendations and who wrote such compelling reviews that I’m gonna have to read these books.
Medical
Recommended because I like police memoirs…
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sherri Fink
A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back by Kevin Hazzard
Aviation
Recommended because I adore airplane books…
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying by Wolfgang Langewiesche
Suggested to me by Citizen Reader
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Suggested to me by Sarah of Sarah’s Book Shelves

Supreme Court
My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
Reviewed by JoAnn of Lakeside Musing, who created a great Supreme Court book list
Amazing Women
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot LEe Shetterly
Reviewed by Katie of Doing Dewey, who made this seriously beautiful display of books about remarkable women 
So, in the wake of Thanksgiving, I’m giving thanks for all of these book bloggers and this wonderful community. 
Special thanks to our hosts:

What exciting books are new additions to your TBR?

Nonfiction November: Books about airplanes

Nonfiction November is my new favorite holiday.
This week, we’re hosted by Julie of JulzReads, who gives us this
topic:
Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert
Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more
books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert),
you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have
been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books
on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).
I seriously love this “Be the Expert” assignment, because it lets
us fly our freak flags. And heaven knows we’ve got ’em. 
I had to decide among my obsessions: Presidents? Space? True
tragedy? The modern West?
It was a dilemma, guys.
But in the end, I went with: Aviation.  [happy sigh]
I’ve been reading about airplanes for years, and I love
airplane books
.
Here are two of my shelves.

And here’s me flying one of those puppies. 

Today we’re gonna look at the aviation books I’ve read in the past
several years and blogged about. 
We’ll start with…
The memoirs
I love a good aviation memoir, especially when the pilot/author
keeps it real. Here we’ve got two fine examples, one from a fighter pilot and
one from an airline pilot.

And here are two bonus memoirs, because I can’t resist. These
books don’t have blog posts about them, but they’re a couple of my favorites
from years past.
The Spirit of St. Louis by Charles Lindbergh
(3 words: lyrical, modest, triumphant)
The Fun of It by Amelia Earhart
(3 words: sprightly, forthright, conversational)
Next up: a wonderful book by a great nonfiction author, about one
of those days when things went wrong… 

Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson by William Langewiesche


If you’re more into history, check out these books about two guys with the Wright Stuff.
My favorite Wright brothers biography is this one:
For a different approach (ha! pilot pun!) give this one a whirl…


All of these books just make me happy. 
What
topic do you keep reading about, over and over again?

BEA book blogger reunion!

Remember how I met those amazing bloggers at BEA? 
Back in May, we did that thing where we said, “We’ll have to get together someday soon!” 
And we actually did.
Marisa, Julie, me, and Katie, as photographed by Shortman of the JulzReads universe
And it was fantastic, because these ladies are seriously accomplished.
Julie of JulzReads invited us to her lovely home, a place that is nothing short of amazing, because:
  1. Her house is gorgeously decorated, and she’s only lived there since May. (I’ve been in my house for 19 years, and guess what? It’s not decorated.)
  2. Not only is her house beautiful, but it’s bookish as all heck. She has a for-real library with windows that look out into the treetops, and a cozy reading room with a fireplace, and she even has a Harry Potter themed bathroom. I’m not even kidding.
Then we were talking with Marisa of The Daily Dosage about her new job, which she has been gearing up for during the past year. And she has one of those jobs that makes other work seem really easy, so we were all pretty much in awe of her.
And then it came to light that Katie of Words with Worms not only gardens like a fiend (the woman’s flowers are ridiculously beautiful), but she also decorates 4 (yes, I said 4) Christmas trees at her house every year. And then she rapped some Hamilton and brought down the house.
I was clearly out of my league (and also missed nearly every pop culture reference), but they were kind and pretended not to notice. 
We had a fantastically bookish and blogish conversation, and everyone’s TBR grew (I added Burial Rites and Forty Rooms and… oh my gosh, I thought that was it, but there’s more… Also: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe). 
And then: book geeks party game! We each got to choose a book for Julie to read from her TBR shelves. (I prescribed The Lonely Polygamist.) 
And then Julie and I raved so much about A Gentleman in Moscow that Katie and Marisa said they’d read it (maybe so we’d hush). 
It was a delightful get-together. 
So, dear readers… Who are the people in your real-life world who talk books with you?