The Most Famous Book Set in Each State

Reblogged from Mental Floss.

The Afternoon Map by Jason English…

Maps like these are designed to get people arguing in the comments. So, have at it. Do you agree with the book chosen for your state?



A Bookish Bucket List – Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of their bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

So, without further ado…My Bookish Bucket List!

  1. Read Les Miserables…one of these days, when my kiddos are grown.
  2. Finally read Anna Karenina.
  3. Finish The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor.
  4. Read Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.
  5. Read The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis with my sons.  My first time through will be when I read them with my oldest son.
  6. Read everything by Willa Cather, Cormac McCarthy and Kent Haruf.
  7. Have over 300 classics on my finished list.  I’m currently at 186.
  8. Buy no new books for an entire year…including Kindle books.  Limit my reading during that year to my personal library and our local public libraries.  (I’ve tried this before and failed magnificently.)
  9. Get back to reviewing books on this blog.
  10. Own my own used (and loved) book store…perhaps with a reading nook complete with coffee and comfy chairs.


Appreciating the Zealotry

Well it’s time for APPRECIATING THE ZEALOTRY. The purpose of this challenge is to re-post a favourite post you wrote in April that perhaps many people did not get to read due to the craziness of the month. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a romantic post – just go with your favourite, whatever that was – a story, a post about writing, a guest post…

Read full details here

How to do it? Re-post your post (s) onto your blog, then link up wherever you see the linky list…After you link, visit others on the list and have a great time reading and commenting on everyone’s favourite post for April.

Open to all, so link up…linky open until Sunday 20th.

Have fun!


I did this challenge over at Spotts in the Valley of the Sun, but this particular post was all book related, so I’m reposting it here.

April 2 (B)…Books (and a Bookish Nerd)

If you know me personally, you had to know that today’s topic is a no-brainer. 

I love books.

I love reading, and try to do so every day.  I listen to audiobooks in my car constantly, and I set (often unattainable) reading goals each year, hoping not only to improve on my totals from the previous year, but to push myself to read things I would not ordinarily pick up.  And every year, I have had had great surprises, failures, disappointing revelations, but (nevertheless) satisfaction at having added to my reading history.

A few years ago, I was introduced to Goodreads, and I was instantly hooked.  I have always had a personal library, and Goodreads was the tool that allowed me to catalog my books, track my reading, get new book recommendation, publish book reviews, follow other readers’ reviews and comments, and interact with a group of people who love books as much as I do.

So I cataloged, organized, categorized, and made lists.

Most importantly, I started formally tracking my reading in 2007.  This has proved to be one of the most satisfying endeavors I have ever undertaken during my reading life.  I have learned a lot about my reading habits and my taste in books.  I discovered, for example, that pre-planning my annual reading is an absolute FAIL for me, as my mood is the dictator of what books wind up on my bedside table.  I also discovered that I am a relatively slow reader, in comparison to the many bookworms I encounter on Goodreads, in the blogosphere, or wherever we happen to connect.

Here are some stats:

2007:  40 books; favorites – Family Baggage and Alphabet Sisters by Monica McInerney
2008:  44 books; favorites – The Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan, Becoming Finola by Suzanne Strempek Shea
2009:  84 books; favorites – My Grandfather’s Son: A Memoir by Clarence Thomas, No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peal Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
2010:  49 books; favorites – Rain Gods by James Lee Burke, The Water is Wide and South of Broad by Pat Conroy, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
2011:  54 books; favorites – Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, My Reading Life by Pat Conroy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
2012:  12 books (to date); favorite (to date) –The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan

The best things about this project are that I am getting better at picking books I love, and I have at my fingertips book recommendations galore…to share with others, or to peruse when I’m in a slump.

I’d love you to connect with me bookishly.  Comments, complaints and snide remarks are welcome and encouraged.

Here’s where you can find me: My personal book blog: Goodreads:

I also revew books on

So, from one book lover to (hopefully) many…happy reading!

Bogged (and Blogged) Down

I had some pretty lofty reading goals for this year.  I joined a Southern Reading Challenge, an Adoption Reading Challenge, a Read Your Own Books from Your Own Bookshelf…Mostly…and Don’t Buy (or Try Not to Buy) New Books Challenge, a Back to the Classics Challenge, and a What’s In a Name Challenge.

Then I went and lost my mind and joined the 150 Book Challenge in 2012.  Lost my mind because I have never (I repeat, never) read 150 books in one year…in my life.  And I reada lot!  But the closest I’ve ever gotten to that is 84 in one year, and that was a banner year for me.  Apparently that was not a deterrent when I had my brief moment of insanity, and I signed up for a guaranteed failure.  Yay, me.

Now, if you are familiar with my reading habits, you will understand instantly that these are ALL doable challenges for me.  Well, almost all…because I’ve gotten bogged down.  And blogged down.

I’m at a WHOPPING fifteen(ish) books for the year, and half of those are audiobooks.  Further, I am at a complete standstill on realreading.  Every book I start gets set aside after a few pages.  I am completely without motivation to pick it up again.  No, that’s not true.  I am motivated to pick it up again, but I’ve been hard pressed these days to find a book so riveting to read that I carve out chunks of time wherever I can in order to finish it.  This has not been a problem with listening.

Granted, my eyes are not what they used to be, and they get tired quicker.  But this is an excuse.  Beyond the fact that I’ve been involved in a blogging challenge that has been time consuming (and great fun), I am unsure how to explain it.  It’s also true that I’ve been reading blogs a lot more (part of the challenge), and I’ve run across a few new blogs that are on my regular rotation.  Nevertheless, this is still not an adequate explanation for a near cessation of reading.  I LOVE to read.  What is wrong with me??

It has happened in the past.  I don’t know why.  And…of all the crazy things…it does not stop me from buying more books to read.  HAH!

I knew it.

I really have gone insane.

The Pages of 2011

Year Roundup (a post I ran across at Book Memes & Quizzes)

What’s the best book you read this year?
It’s a tossup between Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, Pat Conroy’s My Reading Life, and Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  I loved them all, but because they’re so different, it’s hard to say which stands out the most for me.

Any other standouts?
Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, Flannery O’Connor’s Complete Stories, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.  All were excellent, compelling reads.

What’s the most challenging book you read this year?
Feodor Dostoyevsky’s The Gambler.  It was a very difficult book to get into (took about 1/3 of the book to really sink into the story), and it was a setting that I just don’t relate to at all.  I enjoyed the story, but it was definitely outside of my frame of reference.

What’s the worst book you read this year?
Dear Author: Letters of Hope  – a great idea, but very poorly executed in my opinion.  Way too long, and some of the author responses were preachy & ridiculous.

Which authors featured most prominently for you in 2011?
Pat Conroy (2), Lisa See (2)

Were you part of a reading challenge? Did you meet it?
I was part of several reading challenges.  My standard challenge is to read 100 books during the calendar year, which is a big challenge for me and not conquered as of yet.  I did an audiobook challenge, ending the year with 26.  I tried a TBR challenge for the second time, and for the second time I flaked on it, mostly because I don’t like planning my reading in advance because my taste meanders around so much.  I worked on about four other challenges sporadically, one “unofficially” (I didn’t sign up), and one that didn’t have an ending date (so I’m still “technically” working on it).

Are you signed up for any in 2012?
150+ Challenge for 2012, What’s in a Name 5, Southern Lit Challenge 2012, Adoption Reading Challenge, Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2012 (aka Howards End is On the Landing), Back to the Classics 2012, Les Miserables Read-Along.  There may be others – I’m contemplating another audiobook challenge as well as continuing the 50-State Reading challenge I started last year.

What books are you hoping to get for Christmas (or buy next, if you don’t do the holiday gifting season thing)?
None – I like to buy my own, so I’d rather a gift card.

Which books are you most looking forward to reading in 2012?
A Personal Odyssey by Thomas Sowell, more of Pat Conroy, The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, more Asian & Indian authors, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo


Well, I’m not going to meet my reading goals for this year.  Not a single one of them.  I’ll likely finish out the year with about 55 books under my belt…a little better than one book per week.  Not bad, but definitely short of the 100+ books I had set as my goal.

Neither am I going to complete my “TBR Challenge,” which was the simplest of all.  Read 12 books that have been languishing on your “to be read” list for at least a year.  I read two.  Now to be honest, I have a very difficult time creating a list ahead of time and following through on reading those books.  My moods change.  My tastes meander around.  I go through periods of time when I do a lot of heavier reading – classics, spiritual reading, psychology – and then I’ve got to knock off and read some fluff.  Most of what has been hanging around unread for a year or more is not fluff.  And I did read a lot of good, solid (if not heavy), quality lit this year.

  • For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway (halfway…but I’m counting it as half)
  • This Side of Paradise – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • On the Road – Jack Kerouac (notable because I had once said I would never read it)
  • In Cold Blood – Truman Capote (currently listening)
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
  • The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison (reread)
  • The Gambler – Feodor Dostoyevsky
  • Complete Stories – Flannery O’Connor (some, not all)
  • Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro – Ernest Hemingway
  • The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson – Mark Twain
  • The Help – Kathryn Stockett
  • The War Prayer – Mark Twain
  • Casey at the Bat – Ernest L. Thayer
  • Helen’s Eyes: A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller’s Teacher – Marfe Furguson Delano
  • The Slap – Christos Tsiolkas
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
  • The Plague of Doves – Louise Erdrich
  • Homer & Langley – E. L. Doctorow
  • My Reading Life – Pat Conroy
  • Remarkable Creatures – Tracey Chevalier
  • Amy & Isabelle – Elizabeth Strout
  • Shanghai Girls & Dreams of Joy – Lisa See
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
  • Sister of My Heart – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (currently reading)

The rest was light weight (for me).  Some of these are probably fluff for a lot of readers, but fluff or not, they are quite beautifully written and excellent from start to finish.  I’d recommend any of them to anyone, especially if the request was for something of a bit more depth than usual.

All in all, not a bad reading year, but it could be much better.  I want it to be better.  My goal is…always…100 books per year.  One day I will reach it, and perhaps that will happen in 2012.  To that end, I think I’ll revamp my reading blog a bit for the coming year, as I’ve been tossing around the idea of a fun (little) challenge that will consume (hopefully) more of my free time and (hopefully) less of my expendable income.  It was all inspired by a little book called Howards End is On the Landing by Susan Hill, a book that chronicles Susan Hill’s year of reading through her own personal library.  She committed to not purchasing any books for herself for a year.  I think find that to be a grand & daunting challenge.  There are so many great books out there…so many that I want to read, some that I actually want to own.


I am committing (kinda…sorta…maybe…ok, yep) to concentrating on my own library this year, with some (occasional) supplementation by the public library or a friend’s library (Bri, Gail).  I don’t think I’m committing to never purchasing a book, because frankly that’s akin to cruel and unusual torture for me, but I am committing to the following:

  1. Pull from my shelves first.
  2. If I can’t find something I’m in the mood to read, check the library.
  3. Borrow from friends.
  4. If I do buy the occasional book, it is either for my Kindle or used (and I mean thrift store used).
  5. Try not to do #4.

I’m telling you, if you saw my library (six bookshelves of varying sizes full to overflowing with books, plus a few stacks here & there), you would see that I could spend the next several years reading from my stacks and never run out.

Wish me luck, and if you recommend a book to me, please please either lend it to me or tell me it’s in the library.  If I had ever tracked my book spending like I do my reading, I dare say this promise alone should save me a bundle.

So…here we go.  I welcome comments, recommendations, and snide remarks.  Tell me what you’re reading.  Tell me what challenges you’re setting for yourself in 2012.  Maybe we can read along together on some things & share thoughts.

Happy Reading to us all, and a very well-read & literary 2012. 🙂