The 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge (Yay!)

For the second time in five years, I successfully completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge, reading 50 books in 2017! In a year fraught with way too much reality, fiction was the name of the game: magical children, brave creatures, curious characters, time travelers, mystics. Yes, yes. yes!

This year’s tally of 11,193 pages otherwise included 8 books of poetry, 10 non-fiction, and 4 children’s books. Also on the list were a few Young Adult novels including the final book in Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series, as well as the Last Survivors series by Susan Beth Pfeffer. (The first of which, Life As We Knew It, remains the most haunting book I read this year.)

According to star-ratings, my least favorite books in 2017 were The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō and Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi.

There were a few other low-star rated books—mostly me wandering out-of-genre (Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Jaren Russell) or buying into hype (The Light Between Oceans, M.L. Stedman).

I was generous with my five-stars this year, but I always am. If it captures my attention, makes me wonder, keeps me interested to the final page? Yes! Bestsellers like Dan Brown, Amy Bloom, and Mary Oliver, of course, but even more so for friends and local authors like Luanne Castle, Robert Finch, Gordy Whiteman and Nan Meneely. What delights!

(Was it shameless of me to include my own book, Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, in the mix?)

A few classics showed up this year—The Long Christmas Dinner by Thornton Wilder, and A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas—and a few personal favorites returned (Thanks Elizabeth Gilbert and Alice Hoffman!)

The most memorable books of the year? Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick, and The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey.

But my most favorite (also probably most recommended) was definitely the Roland Merullo Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner with Buddha series. I thoroughly enjoyed each book with equal measure and still pine for Rinpoche’s humor and wisdom—some seven months since turning the last page.

That this year’s collection of favorites included the counsel of a Buddhist monk, pages and pages poetry, and a dystopian end-of-the-world series is not ironic. It is, I think, reflective of this new and startling world in which we find ourselves.

Thankfully, so is the book I’m reading today. In Braving the Wilderness, social scientist Brené Brown outlines a clear path out of our “spiritual crisis of disconnection” by advising that “People are hard to hate close up, move in; Speak truth to BS, be civil; Hold hands, with strangers; Strong Back, strong front, wild heart.”

And so we bravely go…2018. Are you ready? And are you reading?

Don’t Miss Evidence of Flossing!

Mark your calendar for these upcoming events to celebrate the launch of Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, then follow this blog, or Like our Facebook page for event detail as they become available!

OCTOBER 14
Launch Party for Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind
Saturday, October 14, 3:00PM – 6:00PM
Book Signing, Refreshments & More
Hosted by the Martha Link Walsh Gallery
188 North Main Street, Branford, CT


OCTOBER 15
Sunday Salon
Sunday, October 15, Noon – 2:00PM
Artist Talk with Jen Payne & Martha Link Walsh
Conversation, Refreshments & More
Hosted by the Martha Link Walsh Gallery
188 North Main Street, Branford, CT


NOVEMBER 18
Book Signing: Rock Garden
Saturday, November 18, 11-2
Book Signing, Refreshments & More
at the Rock Garden
17 South Main Street, Branford, CT


A Good Year for Books

It was a good year for books. Book writing, book publishing…book reading. Thanks to the incentive of the Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge, I read 32 book this past year — the highest total I can recall since my days as a tome-weary English major! Apparently, I am not alone…in 2014, the Goodreads Reading Challenge had 678,678 participants… Continue reading A Good Year for Books

2014: GO!

If you talk to me this time of year, or read my blog posts, you would think I am super zealous about New Year’s Resolutions. That I have an endless list of self-improvement tasks to make me a better human being. And while I do select one thing I would like to accomplish each year…… Continue reading 2014: GO!

hope is the thing with feathers

You may recall, a while ago, I wrote about how I created a vision board, how a quote founds its way into my sightline… You’ve got to jump off cliffs
 all the time and build
 your wings on the way down. …and how suddenly, feathers were appearing at every step. Feathers continue to appear —… Continue reading hope is the thing with feathers

The Bedroom Bookshelf

Put Something In by Shel Silverstein Draw a crazy picture, Write a nutty poem,
 Sing a mumble-gumble song,
 Whistle through your comb. 
Do a loony-goony dance 
 ‘Cross the kitchen floor, Put something silly in the world That ain’t been there before. Shel Silverstein’s classic book A Light in the Attic was published in 1981,… Continue reading The Bedroom Bookshelf

Read More: Life Is Full of Sweet Spots

Life Is Full of Sweet Spots: An Exploration of Joy by Mary O’Connor GOODREADS SAYS: Explore and connect with the niches and nuances of the earth, the sea and sky, our bodies, minds and souls — the places where joy resides. Come away with new understanding of life and how its beauty and powers make us… Continue reading Read More: Life Is Full of Sweet Spots