It’s been a decade! – with a box of goodies

Read all the way to the bottom for the giveaway 🙂

Ten years ago I opened up shop here at Stacy’s Books with no other goal than just to write.  I didn’t have high hopes for followers or fame and I certainly had no understanding of how people who I met here could become real friends. I didn’t read blogs and I didn’t do any research on how to start one.  I just did it.  I really had no idea what I was doing.

I love this blog even though it has gone through periods of neglect.  I’ve documented travels, Gage’s birth and first years, and talked about the books I’ve read and movies I’ve watched.  I’ve dipped in and out of memes, participated in 24 hour read-a-thons (who knew there was such a glorious thing before blogging?!), interviewed dozens of authors and even quizzed you guys for years (always tempted to start this again, we’ll see what 2018 brings).

I’ve met a few bloggers in real life with Bonnie being the most memorable since she brought be into her wonderful book club over a year ago.  I’ve also met a few others briefly and always wish it was longer and happened more frequently.  Facebook has let me into the everyday lives of bloggers friends which is especially great for keeping in touch with those friends who have shut down their blogs.

This morning I spent some time looking over the stats wordpress lets me see and will share the top pic, post and book review of each year.  I was surprised at how many of these were tops in the years after I posted them.  Thanks to Google I guess.  Plus I think I changed some of the photo settings because why else would me eating fries in Rome in 2008 be a top pic in 2017?  I’ll have to look into it.  Unless anyone can clue me in?

*Edit – because a few of the pics were way too big I just provided a link 🙂


2008 

Florence, Italy

Top post- Florence pics  Top book review- WITSEC: Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program by Earley and Shur

2009

 

Rome, Italy

Top post- Rome pics Top book review- The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

2010

 

5,000 piece puzzle of Florence

Top post- Baby-to-Be Update  Top book review- The Second Son by Charles Sailor

2011

 

Parking in Rome

Top post- My Book Problem  Top book review- The Devil and Tom Walker and other Stories by Washington Irving

2012

 

Venice, Italy

Top post-Monday Movie Meme- Bring on the Heat  Top book review-The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

2013

Baby Shower

Top post- Book vs. Movie-Under the Tuscan Sun  Top book review- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

 

2014

bookwall2014

Top post- 101,102,103…Mini-challenge  Top book review- The Vessel by Taylor Stevens

2015 

Sundays with Gage-A weekend of Firsts

Top post- Book vs. Movie-The Secret Life of Bees  Top book review- The Precious one by Marisa de los Santos

 

 

 

2016

first bookFirst book 2016

Top post- Baby Movie Quiz  Top book review- J is for Jane Eyre, the graphic novel

 

2017

Rome, McDonald’s and the Pantheon

Top post-Book vs. Movie – The Hound of the Baskervilles  Top book review- Yesterday I Saw the Sun by Ally Sheedy


Thanks for stopping by over the years and chatting with me.  Every comment and connection is meaningful and I’m so happy to have met you.  I hope that the next ten years brings continued friendship.

Now for the giveaway- Leave a comment and I’ll enter your name for a box of bookish goodies!  I’ll have Gage draw a winner next Sunday!

2018 First Book of the Year

Every year Sheila hosts this fun event so that we can all show the book we’re starting the year reading.  It was a no brainer for me.  As soon as I saw the movie Wonder last month I knew that I wanted to read the book (it didn’t hurt that it was also sitting on my TBR stacks).  I don’t know how much time will be devoted to reading today since hubby and kid are both home and that means family time, but I’ll see if I can carve out some time in bed this afternoon since I am still trying to conquer this bad cold that found it’s way into the house a week and a half ago.  For the first time in I don’t know how many years I didn’t make it to midnight to bring in the New Year.  I guess that means I’m well rested, right?

Hop on over to BookJourney and see what everyone else is reading today.  You’ll even find my pic in her collage 🙂

IMG_2564

So, what’s your first book going to be this year?

I need your help!

Last year Jason and I started doing monthly challenges and created a new website to keep us honest, My 30 Day Challenges.  Last September I read a book a day for the month and, while difficult, it was fun.  This September I want to read a book a day and make it just a tad bit harder.  I want it to be a month of reading a biography or autobiography a day.  I don’t read enough of them, but when I do I always come away a bit smarter and definitely filled with more empathy.  But, because they aren’t my genre of choice I’d love to hear some suggestions.

I need biography/autobiography recommendations.  They can’t be too long (I only have one day to read them!) so let’s not go over 400 pages. 

For every recommendation in the comments (here on the blog – not FB) I’ll put your name in a drawing for my favorite book of the month 🙂

I’ll keep this open for a month, let’s say August 24th, so I have time to track down the books I’m interested in.

Thanks so much!!!

 

 

The Mid-Year Freakout Book Tag

Originated at Maureen’s Books, but I first saw it at Carol’s Notebook.

I’ve read 31 books this year and I feel pretty good about that.

1 – The Best Book You’ve Read So Far In 2017

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman.  I fell in love with Ove and his collection of merry wo(men) around him.  For every trouble he caused those surrounding him, at least one blessing was given out.  Ove was a man with a heart, who didn’t always play well with others.  I think everyone knows an Ove, some of us better than others.

2 – Your Favorite Sequel This Year

Waiting On You by Kristan Higgins, Blue Heron #3.   I love this series set in New York wine country.  The small town is charming, the people are eccentric and the dialogue is snappy.  As with the first two books I laughed out loud many times and was brought to tears at least once.  Higgins is so talented. I can’t wait to read everything she’s written.

3 – A New Release You Haven’t Read But Really Want To

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.  I read his interview in Poets & Writers magazine and am eager to pick it up.

4 – Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half of the Year

Whatever the yearly Harlan Coben release is!

5 – Biggest Disappointment

Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Crusie. I usually love her but this oldie was too dated and stereotypical.

6 – Biggest Surprise

Dream More:Celebrate the Dreamer in You by Dolly Parton.  I’ve never really followed Dolly Parton, but after listening to her narrate her book I’m a fan.

7 – Favorite New Author (Debut Or New To You)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Fantastic debut about something so important going on right now.  I can’t wait to see what she does next.

8 – Your New Fictional Crush

I had a little crush on Ove 🙂  He may have been a 59 year old curmudgeon, but I loved him.

9 – A Book That Made You Cry

A Man Called Ove, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

10 – A Book That Made You Happy

Good romances always make me happy and I’ve read several so far this year.  The Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas, When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James, Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins

11 – Your Favorite Book To Movie Adaption That You’ve Seen This Year

A Man Called Ove was well done, subtitles and all.  Although the book and movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close were different, I thought they were both well done.

12 – Favorite Book Post You Published This Year

I loved having my first Bookish Wine Party and hope to make it a yearly thing.

13 – The Most Beautiful Book You Have Bought/ Received This Year

Of the books I’ve read I really liked Almost Famous Women

21411936

14 – What Are Some Books That You Need To Read By The End Of The Year

I need to knock a few of my Classics Club list. I’m woefully behind.

 

If you want to have some fun, consider yourself tagged.

Book problem year 10

Another year, another Mt. TBR.  I started this yearly project back in 2008 and thought it was fun to recreate every year as books were added.  The only problem was that at some point it just got to be too many books.  In 2015 I was up to 876 books.  That’s 876 books in my house that I have not read!  I try to declutter and always have a giveaway box going in the house for old clothes, toys, etc., but until this last year I haven’t done such a great job with the books.

Last year was the first year I actually had my number go down! I had 827 books. The physical act of moving all of these books to one spot every year really puts those numbers in perspective.  I was exhausted last year and went on a donation spree, read 31 and had a Bookish Wine Party where a few more found their way to good homes, but I also added 49.  So, after all that I was looking forward to my new Mt. TBR.  I wasn’t disappointed.

book probemfinal

Still looks a little unmanageable right?  But I went from 827 last year to 734 this year!  Yay! That’s 2 years in a row that my book wall has gone down by considerable numbers.  Maybe next year I can get into the 600s 🙂

Wanna share a pic of your Mt. TBR?

A Bookish Wine Party

In December I read this story at Book Riot and it inspired me to give it a try.  I talked to some of my neighbors and we found a good date.  I invited my book group and a few other book loving friends I hadn’t seen in a while.  The day of the party I pulled out 50+ books from my shelves (read and to be read both) and put fiction on one table and non fiction on another.  Because one of the neighbors said she only read magazines I included a magazine exchange on the ottoman ( I was happy about this since I get way too many magazines to keep up with!).  I went to the store and bought wine, cheese, crackers, some marked down boxes of Valentine chocolates and a bag of Skinny Pop.  Put everything out and waited for people to show up.

I forgot to take any pictures when people were actually here, but my friend took the last three when she came.  I had 14 stop by and everyone came and went home with at least one book, many people brought and took a handful. I was left with a bag of donations for the library plus 14 books that I pulled to read myself (I plan on reading a chapter or two before deciding what to do with them). One neighbor even brought A Man Called Ove which I snatched out of her hands before it made it to the table since that’s our book club read next month 🙂

I thought it was a fun way to get friends together and will do it again, but I might fine tune it just a bit with one bookish activity that could bring everyone together for a few minutes.  I encourage you all to host your own Book Exchange Party!

First Book of 2016

Welcome to 2016, friends!  My only new blogging goal right now is a new look for the blog so be on the lookout 🙂1st aI couldn’t resist joining Sheila this year in celebrating the first book I’m going to read this year.  I considered many but decided on one that I won from fellow blogger Lloyd.  It was his favorite of the year a few years back and it’s been sitting on my shelves for that long (this happened last year when I won Lisa’s favorite book and it took me years to read. I mention it only because it ended up being my favorite book last year! But no pressure Lloyd :)).

first bookI read the first few chapters last night and have a very good feeling about The Language of Flowers.  Have you read it?  What will be your first book of 2016?

Mary Doria Russell book talk and My own reading habits

This week I was able to hear local author, Mary Doria Russell, speak at the Orange library and catch up with an old friend from my Washington DC days.  Amy Preneta's photo.Mary is a hoot and I hope you all take a look at her schedule and plan to hear her speak about her latest book, Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral.  I last heard her speak in 2008 and she did an email interview with me on this blog in 2009 (parts 1 & 2).  Many bloggers love her first novel, The Sparrow and its follow-up, Children of God (actually my friend Amy and I read Sparrow together in the same DC book group!).  She wrote those two sci-fi novels and has been writing historical fiction ever since.

I will go out on a limb and say that even if you have zero interest in Doc Holiday or the shootout at the OK Corral, you will want to read them after hearing Mary’s passionate talk and response to these men and their stories (especially Doc who is still her favorite character).  I admit that I know, well knew, nothing about the OK Corral but I am very excited to read both Doc and Epitaph with Jason.  She knows her stuff and she has me interested in the OK Corral because she told us that it was about gun control.  Sound relevant?  As a cop’s daughter she was able to see these men for what they were warts and all, even making many connections with stories of today.

I’m so glad that I was able to hear her speak again and I hope you can find a tour stop where you can too!


imagesI’ve been tagged by Vicki at I’d Rather Be At the Beach to answer some questions about my reading habits.

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?  Not really.  Our front room is great for natural light during the day and I have been known on occasion to take a book into the hot tub with me 🙂

Bookmark or random piece of paper?  I have a basket of random bookmarks on my desk so I will usually use those, but in a pinch any piece of paper or wrapper will do.

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/a certain amount of pages?  My reading time is ruled by a 4 year old so stopping at the end of a chapter seems like pointless goal 🙂

Do you eat or drink while reading?  One or the other for sure.  A glass of tea or wine in the evening with or without Skinny Pop usually does the trick.

Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?  I don’t need either but both are fine – unless it’s a show I’m halfway interested in and then the book usually loses.  But I have so little tv or reading time that this seems like a moot point really.

One book at a time or several at once?  I never thought I had ADHD but my reading seems to point in that direction (and I say this with love since I have a son who is most likely ADHD).  I always have 2-5 books going at once.  If one really grabs me I will lose the others until I finish it.

Reading at home or everywhere? I read pretty much everyone, most often while I’m waiting for Gage at different activities or when I happen to be in the car by myself.  I’ve also been known to read books in line at Chipotle because we have the slowest Chipotle in the country.

Reading out loud or silently in your head?  Do people really read out loud?

Do you read ahead or even skip pages?  I don’t skip pages but I have read the last page on occasion.  It used to be all the time but now it’s only if not knowing what will happen is causing me stress.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?  Breaking the spine is okay and sometimes the only way to enjoy reading a paperback.

Do you write in your books?  Depends.  In college we were told to teach active learning so writing in books was encouraged.  I have some classics and non fiction that have received some active learning 🙂

If you thought these questions were fun I hope you will consider yourself tagged!

Six in Six, 2015

I saw this at JoAnn’s who saw it at Jo’s and I had to participate.  They both chose slightly different categories so I’m choosing my favorites.  I’ve only read 33 books so far and a few that made the lists I haven’t even reviewed yet but it was a fun exercise.  Why not join in too?

Six books I have enjoyed the most

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

The Reader by Bernard Schlink

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins

Six tried-and-true authors

Sarah Addison Allen

Lee Child

JoJo Moyes

Taylor Stevens

Kristan Higgins

Agatha Christie

Six classic novels

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Six nonfiction titles

What I Know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey

As You Wish:Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Carey Elwes

The Residence:Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Anderson Brower

Lookbook Cookbook:Simple, Delicious Gluten-Free and Vegan Dished for Fashion Loving Foodies by Jessica Milan

The Hidden Connection:Discover What’s Keeping You from Feeling Happy, Healthy and Symptom-Free by Kathleen DiChiara

Healing Our Autistic Children by Julie Buckley, MD

Six new-to-me authors

Bernhard Schlink

Wilkie Collins

Menna van Praag

Michael Koryta

Ted Dekker

Eowyn Ivey

Six books I’ve received that I haven’t read yet

The Accidental Bestseller by Wendy Wax

Losing Faith by Adam Mitzner

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, 31-60

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

Time to catch you up on my 1001 Albums project I started last summer.  Originally I started listening and dancing with Gage, but this round he wasn’t allowed to hear a few of the albums.  I listened to some rap this go round, but evened it out with lots of Beatles and U2.  I’m still playing with how I want to do these posts (since I know they are more for me than for you) so this time I’m going to list all the albums, one sentence from the book, and then a link to my favorite song of each album.   Listing them in the order I listened to them.

My three favorites were Tapestry by Carole King, Velvet Underground and Nico, and Abbey Road by The Beatles.  See any of your favorites?

All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2002) by U2.  This is an album of epic proportions and no filler (“In our heads we’ve written 11 singles for this record,” commented Bono).  Fave-Beautiful Day

Joshua Tree (1987) by U2. The Joshua Tree marks the point in U2’s long and gloriously inconsistent career at which they woke up to the possibilities of studio technology, expanded their sound from a post-punk chug, and found grandeur, abstraction, and finesse.  Fave- With or Without You

War (1983) by U2.  U2’s third album saw the Dublin four-piece articulate their impassioned views on politics and the human condition. Fave-Bloody Sunday

The Visitors (1981) by ABBA. It would have been unreasonable to expect an album by divorcees to be as joyful asn uplifting as an album by two married couples. Fave-When All is Said and Done

Dirt (1992) by Alice in Chains. The record was laden with allusions to lead singer Staley’s drug addiction, a portent to his fatal overdose a decade after the album’s release. Fave-Would

Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969) by Crosby, Stills & Nash. But this first, excellent three-quarters of an hour of wistful exuberance remains a landmark. Fave-Marrakesh Express

Tapestry (1971) by Carole King. Carole King dramatically reinvented herself as a solo star with this landmark release.  Fave-I Feel the Earth Move

Destroyer (1976) by Kiss. Destroyer is the iconic Kiss Album.  Fave-Beth

Station To Station (1976) by David Bowie. Increasingly paranoid, he had become obsessed with UFOs, occultism, and Adolf Hitler.  Fave-Word on a Wing

Boston (1976) by Boston. Boasts melodic rockers, flashing guitars, powerhouse rhythms, and sweet cascading vocals.  Fave- More Than A Feeling

2112 (1976) by Rush. Rush’s trademark sound-prog-meets-heavy rock-comes fully into its own on this record.  Fave-Tears

Wish You Were Here (1975) by Pink Floyd. “At the beginning of the recording sessions most of us didn’t wish we were there at all, we wished we were somewhere else.” Fave-Wish You Were Here

Ready to Die (1994) by The Notorious B.I.G.  It’s a strange album in that the first cut says…’Let’s stop killing each other’-and then the rest of the record is all about people killing each other! I refuse to choose a favorite because I had to listen to the guy have sex.

Appetite for Destruction (1987) by Guns N’ Roses. They looked cool, they swore, they fought, they-let’s bite the bullet-rocked.  Fave- Paradise City

Nevermind (1991) by Nirvana. Kurt later complained about the slickness of the album’s sound.  Fave-Come As You Are

MTV Unplugged (1994) by Nirvana. When he sighs, in a moment of silence just before the climatic closing section, it seems the weight of the world is crushing him.  Fave-Where Did You Sleep Last Night

In Utero (1993) by Nirvana. The grunge landmark of the 1990’s. fave-All Apologies

The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967) by The Velvet Underground. Its straight talk about sex and drugs got the album banned on New York radio; stations elsewhere in the United States simply ignored it. Fave-Sunday Morning

Illmatic (1994) by Nas. Fusing old-school street poetry  with razor sharp production. Fave-One Love

Stardust (1978) by Willie Nelson. With Willie Nelson there is no country or pop, just Willie Nelson songs.  Fave-Blue Skies

Red Headed Stranger (1975) by Willie Nelson. It was also something of a formal experiment, a loose concept album about a lovelorn murderer’s adventures.  Fave-Medley:Blue Rock Montana/Red Headed Stranger.

Straight Outta Compton (1989) by N.W.A.  Niggaz With Attitude were the fruit of Easy E’s entrepreneurship.  Offensive in every way that it was intended so I’m not choosing a favorite.

The Atomic Mr. Basie (1957) by Count Basie. “I have never bragged on anything, but (the Atomic Basie)band…was one I could have bragged on.  Fave- The Kid from Red Bank

A Hard Day’s Night (1964) by The Beatles.  For the first time on a Beatles album , all tracks are Fabs originals. Fave-It’s a Hard Day’s Night

Rubber Soul (1965) by The Beatles. The album injected mystique into FabWorld. Fave-What Goes On

With the Beatles (1963) by The Beatles. The sleeve photo is arguably the most iconic of The Beatles ever taken, as well as being one of the Sixties’ most defining images. Fave-All My Loving

Revolver (1966) by The Beatles. Revolver is cited as the point when The Beatles broke up: they paid their last paying gig weeks after its release.  Fave- Eleanor Rigby

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) by The Beatles.  The album embodied elements of psychedelia:Eastern philosophy and druggy allusions.  Fave- With a Little Help From My Friends

The Beatles (aka The White Album) (1968) by The Beatles. It mixes peerless acoustic-driven ballads with comical tales. Fave-While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Abbey Road (1967) by The Beatles. The vitriol, ecstasy, and social commentary of Lennon and McCartney is what makes Abbey Road and essential.  Fave- Come Together

List of the albums we listened to from the book(The Visitors by ABBA, Back to Black and Highway to Hell by AC/DC, 21 by Adele, Pump and Toys in the Attic by Aerosmith, School’s Out by Alice Cooper, Dirt by Alice in Chains, Among the Living by Antrax, Tidal by Fiona Apple, Funeral by Arcade Fire, The Atomic Mr. Basie by Count Basie, Abbey Road, The Beatles (white album),  A Hard Day’s Night, Revolver, Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, With the Beatles by The Beatles, Parallel Lives by Blondie, Boston by Boston, Station to Station by David Bowie, Crosby Stills & Nash by Crosby Stills & Nash, Eagles and Hotel California by The Eagles, Seldom Seen Kid by Elbow, The Marshal Mathers LP and The Slim Shady LP by Eminem, Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics, Frampton Comes Alive by Peter Frampton, So and Melt by Peter Gabriel, Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses, Darklands and Psychocandy by The Jesus and Mary Chain, Tapestry by Carole King,  Destroyer by KISS, Tragic Songs of Life by the Louvin Brothers, Illmatic by Nas, In Utero, MTV Unplugged in New York, and Nevermind by Nirvana, Ready to Die by The Notorious B.I.G.,  Straight Outta Compton by NWA, Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, Regatta de  Blanc and Synchronicity by The Police, Elvis Presley by Elvis Presley, 2112 by Rush, Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim and In the Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra, System of a Down by System of a Down, Dear Science by TV on the Radio, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, Joshua Tree, and War by U2, Velvet Underground & Nico by Velvet Underground,  Red Headed Stranger and Stardust by Willie Nelson, Back to Black by Amy Winehouse) 60/1001

Linkup to my past posts

1-10, 11-30