New on the Stack in January 2018

Welcome to New on the Stack, where you can share the latest books you’ve added to your reading pile. I’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own post or Instagram picture sharing your books! It’s a fun way to see what others will soon be reading, and get even more ideas of books to add to my “I want to read that!” list.New on the Stack button

Nonfiction

One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional

How did I get it: Bought a print copy.
Why did I get it: Someone I knew highly recommended it.

Call the Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle by Mary J. Macleod

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: I always enjoy unique memoirs, and this setting sounded interesting.

Good & Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day by Leanne Brown

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: It popped up as a suggested title on my library website.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: It’s been lingering on my TBR list for ages. get it:

Give a Girl a Knife by Amy Thielen

How did I get it: Borrowed it via audio from the library.
Why did I get it: I don’t remember where I first heard about it.

Fiction

Kilmeny of the Orchard by Lucy Maud Montgomery

How did I get it: Bought a Kindle copy.
Why did I get it: February’s read for the “year of L. M. Montgomery” books.

The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: February’s read for my Facebook book club.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: February’s read for my local book club.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

How did I get it: Borrowed it via audio from the library.
Why did I get it: I don’t remember where I first heard about it.

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: I think it was on a list of “if you like Harry Potter try this book” suggestions.

The Maharani’s Pearls by Charles Todd

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: Filling in the Bess Crawford short stories I skipped when reading through the novels in order.

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: Looking at it as a possible book club read.

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it:

Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: I’m somewhat following along with some friends who are reading all the Newbery Medal books. And this is a Medal winner, but I’m so not inspired to read it.


“New on the Stack” Link-up Guidelines:

1. Share your posts or instagram pictures about the new-to-you books you added to your reading stack last month. They can be purchases, library books, ebooks, whatever it is you’ll be reading! Entries completely unrelated to this theme or linked to your homepage may be deleted.

2. Link back to this post – you can use the button below if you’d like, or just use a text link.

The Deliberate Reader

3. The linkup will be open until the end of the month.

4. Please visit the person’s blog or Instagram who linked up directly before you and leave them a comment.

5. By linking up, you’re granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs from your linked post or Instagram. (Because on social media or in next month’s post, I hope to feature some of the books that catch my attention from this month.)

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Introducing February’s Book Club Selection: The Death of Ivan Ilyich

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

by Leo Tolstoy

What’s It About?

(Description from Goodreads)

A middle-aged high-court judge who had never thought about his own mortality, Ivan Ilyich must readjust his thinking when he learns he has a terminal illness.

Why Was This Title Selected

I’ve never read anything by Tolstoy, and this short novella felt like a manageable way for us to read one of his titles for the year.

Anything Else to Know About It?

The discussion will begin soon in the Facebook group, and you’re welcome to come and join us.

It’s available in Print, for Kindle or Nook, or on Audible.

What’s Coming Up Next?

A Vision of Light coverA Vision of Light by Judith Merkle Riley

What’s it about? “Margaret of Ashbury wants to write her life story. However, like most women in fourteenth-century England, she is illiterate. Three clerics contemptuously decline to be Margaret’s scribe, and only the threat of starvation persuades Brother Gregory, a Carthusian friar with a mysterious past, to take on the task. As she narrates her life, we discover a woman of startling resourcefulness.”

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Nook | Audible | Goodreads

See all the books we’ll be reading in 2018 here.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Quarterly Update on Book Club Selections

A look back at the books my two book clubs read for the fourth quarter of last year, focusing especially on how they worked as discussion titles.

October

The Deliberate Reader book club (TDR) read Funny in Farsi and my in-person book club, Broadened Horizons (BH) had our annual book flight (multiple books related to a theme; in this case Jane Eyre).

Funny in Farsi was entertaining and worked well enough as a discussion title. Most of us seemed to want a little more from it than she gave, but the potential to talk about the book and broader themes are definitely there. And it can be hard to find that in lighter memoirs, so this is one worth keeping in mind as a possibility.

Jane Eyre was the theme for our book flight, and we read it and then the modern retelling The Madwoman Upstairs, and the nonfiction title Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart. The Madwoman Upstairs was fantastic as a read-along (read-after?) to Jane Eyre, and the biography did make me appreciate Bronte’s accomplishments all the more. If you remember me posting about this, you might have noted that the modern adaptation switched from Jane Steele to The Madwoman Upstairs. We ended up changing our minds on which one we wanted to group together. 🙂

November

TDR read Ordinary Grace, and BH read At Home in the World

Ordinary Grace was FANTASTIC. Not only was it a terrific book, but it supported a great discussion as well. Highly recommended as a book club choice (or to read even if you don’t have a book club).

At Home in the World worked well as a discussion title, although not as well as I had hoped it would. Or really the discussion was fine; the book itself wasn’t as great as I wanted it to be. It does lend itself to many discussion possibilities, so if your group reads nonfiction this is one to consider.

December

TDR discussed Swear on This Life, and we did not have an official book for my local bookclub. Instead we asked everyone to come prepared to talk about their favorite reads for the year! (I’ve already shared mine).

Swear on This Life was disappointing, but I did enjoy the discussion much more than the book itself. Still, I wouldn’t recommend it for any book clubs, as I think there are better options.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

New on Your Stack (volume 31)

Some highlights from the books from last month’s linkup:


I’m curious about As Bright As Heaven, mentioned by Stacie (Sincerely Stacie.) It’s not a time period that gets a lot of attention in historical fiction, but I find it fascinating/horrifying.


Kate (Opinionated Book Lover) highlights Secondborn, which sounds like an intriguing start to a series. I’m definitely going to let her finish it and say what she thinks about it before trying it myself, and I might even wait until the next in the series is released.


Jill (Days at Home) has lots of fun books on her list, including Louise Penny’s The Nature of the Beast, the previously-mentioned As Bright As Heaven, and The English Wife, which I currently have borrowed from the library.


Love seeing books I’ve recently finished pop up on others lists, and Annette (AKBookworm) featured Hex Hall, which I read earlier this month (and I’ve already borrowed the sequel).


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Goodreads Hacks: Using a “Someday” Shelf

As part of my reading goals for 2018, I’m working on cleaning up my “Want To Read” shelf on Goodreads. One way I’m doing that is by shifting books off to a “Someday/Maybe” shelf.

Goodreads lets you create endless shelves. The key to me using the someday/maybe shelf is that I’ve set it as an “exclusive” shelf. What’s that mean? A book can only be on one exclusive shelf.

If you haven’t created any of your own, you have one of three options: Want to Read, Currently Reading, or Read. I’ve added a “Paused” shelf, “Never Finished,” “Not Interested,” and now “Someday/Maybe” to my exclusive shelf options.

What’s the advantage to this?

It becomes a nice holding area for books I don’t want to forget about, but I know I won’t be reading anytime soon. I’m also using it for books on topics where I’m not actively reading currently, but if/when I want to get back to that topic, those are the titles I want to read.

It’s also where I’m parking books that I’m keeping on my “ideas for bookclub” shelf, but only want to read them if my bookclub selects them.

My “Want to Read” shelf is still overloaded, but as I go through it again, and delete titles I no longer want to read, I’m trimming it down even further by shifting titles over to the “Someday/Maybe” option.


Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Cover Love: Around the World in 80 Days

My local bookclub is embarking on a round-the-world via books theme for this year (and maybe next year too) and we started off the year with Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days. Which is a perfect book for another edition of Cover Love!

The 1873 edition has a beautiful cover. And if you have several thousand dollars you don’t know how else to spend, you too can have the 1873 edition.

Around the World in 80 Days cover

While I don’t generally like retellings, I do like the cover on this Classic Starts retelling. And, it’s very appropriate to the book (unlike some other covers).

Around the World in 80 Days cover

I hate to pick on the Dover Thrift edition, but it’s really pretty boring, and kind of looks like somebody was playing with clipart.

Around the World in 80 Days cover

Nothing but raves for this audio version of the book, as Jim Dale is an amazing narrator. As a cover however, I side-eye the balloon. Did I sleep through the portion of the book where the balloon makes an appearance?

Around the World in 80 Days cover

Love this cover from Penguin Classics.

Around the World in 80 Days cover

Love this cover from Penguin as well.

One final great cover, this one from Puffin Classics.

Around the World in 80 Days cover


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Favorite Books of 2017

Yes, this is a list of twenty-five titles, but that’s only about 10% of my yearly total.
These are the ones that I loved, the ones that stuck with me, the ones that made me think. I might not recommend them all to you in particular (some definitely need the right sort of reader to appreciate them) but they were my favorites for 2017.

Fiction

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Hands-down the book I recommended most often this year. It’s a slower-paced read, but so absorbing with wonderful characters.

Moloka’i by Alan Brennert
Heart-wrenching but such a compelling look at another world and time.

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
Beautifully-written historical fiction, with just a hint of a mystery.

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
Poignant but lovely.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Gripping and fast-paced (unlike all the previous ones I’ve mentioned) it’s not high-quality literature, but it’s thought-provoking and intriguing.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Reminded me so much of an Agatha Christie book, and it would make for a very fun book club selection, as there’s enough going on beyond the whodunnit factor, unlike some mysteries.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
Gruesome yes, but I love the characters so I can forgive all as I wait for the next book in the series.

Series Reads

Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny
I love how the characters have developed throughout the series, and the amazing sense of place most of the books have.

Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear
Maisie is such an enjoyable character, and the way the series takes place across the years allows Winspear to show so many changes in the world. I can’t wait to see what happens next in it!

Bess Crawford and Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd
Bess is an appealing character, and I’m so sad to be all caught up on the series. Fortunately for me I still have several with Rutledge. I enjoy the setting and time period for both, and following along with the main and secondary characters.

Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch
I might be cheating a bit by listing this for 2017, as most of the series was read in 2016, but I finished it last year, and read all the “extras” (audio freebie, a short story, and some graphic novels). It’s such a fascinating world Aaronovitch has created.

Nonfiction

Memoir(ish)
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Heart-breaking yet hopeful and encouraging.

Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
I almost felt like I was there with Doerr as he experienced his year in Rome (and I so want to read the book he partially wrote during that year, and I will get to it in 2018)

Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
Excellent on audio, with all the humorous asides. Chatty and fun.

Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper
Surprisingly fascinating look at all that goes into modern dictionaries.

Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs by Heather Lende
Heart-warming and it stuck with me long after I would have expected it to be forgotten in the flood of other reads.

Other Nonfiction

Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics by Tim Marshall
A fascinating look at the geopolitics behind 10 significant areas of the world.

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff
More motivating than many self-help books that are all about the “bigger faster more hype” because this one was so encouraging about “this is what actually works to get things finished.” I want to re-read it this year when I can take notes (I listened to it the first time).

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
Incredibly encouraging slash terrifying, as I realize the importance of the mindset I’m developing in my kids. And thinking about how can I ensure they all have growth mindsets, because of how essential they are for long-term success and happiness.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
Not always completely practical for life as a stay at home mom, but I’m still mulling over how I can put some of these ideas into practice in my life.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong by Eric Barker
Lots of interesting tidbits of info. I do love this sort of book so I was predisposed to enjoy it.

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin
A fascinating look into the four tendencies, and great ideas about how to work with your own tendency, and the tendencies of people around you.

Special Mention

Because when friends write books, it’s impossible to be impartial.

The Yes Effect: Accepting God’s Invitation to Transform the World Around You by Luis Bush with Darcy Wiley
All about the amazing things that can happen when ordinary people say yes to God.

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel
Interesting summary look at various personality typing systems, and how to use them to make improvements in your own life.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

New on the Stack in December 2017

Welcome to New on the Stack, where you can share the latest books you’ve added to your reading pile. I’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own post or Instagram picture sharing your books! It’s a fun way to see what others will soon be reading, and get even more ideas of books to add to my “I want to read that!” list.New on the Stack button

Nonfiction

Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: January’s book club selection, and listening to it wasn’t happening.

The Alpine Path coverThe Alpine Path: The Story of My Career by L.M. Montgomery

How did I get it: Bought a Kindle copy.
Why did I get it: January’s book club selection for my LMM group.

Prisoners of Geography coverPrisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics by Tim Marshall

How did I get it: Borrowed it via audio from the library.
Why did I get it: It sounded interesting.

Dogtripping coverDogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, And 3 RVs On Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure by David Rosenfelt

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: My mom told me I had to read it.

Fiction

Emily of New Moon coverEmily of New Moon by Lucy Maud Montgomery

How did I get it: Used bookstore find, passed along by a friend.
Why did I get it: 2018 is the year of Lucy Maud Montgomery! I’m part of a group reading thorugh her books this year.

Emily Climbs coverEmily Climbs by Lucy Maud Montgomery

How did I get it: Used bookstore find, passed along by a friend.
Why did I get it: Will be reading in 2018.

Emily's Quest coverEmily’s Quest by Lucy Maud Montgomery

How did I get it: Used bookstore find, passed along by a friend.
Why did I get it: Will be reading in 2018.

Pat of Silver Bush coverPat of Silver Bush by Lucy Maud Montgomery

How did I get it: Used bookstore find, passed along by a friend.
Why did I get it: Will be reading in 2018.

Mistress Pat coverMistress Pat by Lucy Maud Montgomery

How did I get it: Used bookstore find, passed along by a friend.
Why did I get it: Will be reading in 2018.

Further Chronicles of Avonlea coverFurther Chronicles of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery

How did I get it: Used bookstore find, passed along by a friend.
Why did I get it: Will be reading in 2018.

Akin to Anne coverAkin to Anne by Lucy Maud Montgomery

How did I get it: Used bookstore find, passed along by a friend.
Why did I get it: Will be reading in 2018.

A Conspiracy of Kings coverA Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: Next in the Queen’s Thief series. I decided I wanted to read it first, and then listen to the audio. Will be reading in 2018.

First Frost coverFirst Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: Sequel to Garden Spells

Black Powder War coverBlack Powder War by Naomi Novik

How did I get it: Borrowed it via audio from the library.
Why did I get it: Next in the Temeraire series.

Knots and Crosses coverKnots and Crosses by Ian Rankin

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: Looking for a great Scotland book for my local bookclub to discuss.

Death of a Gossip coverDeath of a Gossip by M. C. Beaton

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: Looking for a great Scotland book for my local bookclub to discuss.

Crocodile on the Sandbank coverCrocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: My friend Katie really recommends this series, and so I’m giving it another try.


“New on the Stack” Link-up Guidelines:

1. Share your posts or Instagram pictures about the new-to-you books you added to your reading stack last month. They can be purchases, library books, ebooks, whatever it is you’ll be reading! Entries completely unrelated to this theme or linked to your homepage may be deleted.

2. Link back to this post – you can use the button below if you’d like, or just use a text link.

The Deliberate Reader

3. The linkup will be open until the end of the month.

4. Please visit the person’s blog or Instagram who linked up directly before you and leave them a comment.

5. By linking up, you’re granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs from your linked post or Instagram. (Because on social media or in next month’s post, I hope to feature some of the books that catch my attention from this month.)

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Introducing January’s Book Club Selection: The Gifts of Imperfection

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown cover

The Gifts of Imperfection

Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are: Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life by Brené Brown

What’s It About?

(Description from Goodreads)

New York Times best-selling author and professor Brené Brown offers a powerful and inspiring book that explores how to cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to embrace your imperfections and to recognize that you are enough.

Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we’d no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, What if I can’t keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn’t everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, PhD, a leading expert on shame, authenticity and belonging, shares what she’s learned from a decade of research on the power of Wholehearted Living–a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.

In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough, and to go to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.

Why Was This Title Selected

I was looking for a discussable nonfiction title, Brown has been on my “To Read” list for ages, and I thought this would be a nice one to begin the new year.

Anything Else to Know About It?

The discussion will begin soon in the Facebook group, and you’re welcome to come and join us.

It’s available in Print, for Kindle or Nook, or on Audible.

What’s Coming Up Next?

The Death of Ivan Ilyich coverThe Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories by Leo Tolstoy

What’s it about? “A middle-aged high-court judge who had never thought about his own mortality, Ivan Ilyich must readjust his thinking when he learns he has a terminal illness.”

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Nook | Audible | Goodreads

See all the books we’ll be reading in 2018 here.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

2018 Reading Resolutions

2018 Reading Resolutions and GoalsI don’t always make reading resolutions, but next year my goals are:

  1. Finish book club selections the month before the discussion begins. I had one or two months where I was wrapping it up during the first days of the discussion and I prefer being completely ready to go when the discussion begins.

    What will I be reading? My Facebook book club choices have been announced. My in-person book club selections aren’t all finalized, but for 2018 we’re doing an “around the world” theme and reading books set in different countries all year long. I’m super excited about this plan. I’ve also joined a group that’s reading one Lucy Maud Montgomery title a month, and I’m looking forward to reading her beyond her Anne of Green Gables stories.

    Why this goal? It makes it easier when I’m not scrambling to get the book read right before the discussion. Plus, for my own group, I like being able to give everyone else a heads-up about any possible content issues.

  2. Each month, tackle one book off my “learn something new” nonfiction list. I don’t have to finish the book, but I need to at least either read it or know that I’m not going to read it.

    Why this goal? I want to make some progress on reading books on that list, and not just keep endlessly adding to it. Also, getting two books off the list in one month gives me grace for a future month. I need to get 12 off the list for the year. If I get on a roll and take care of 12 super early in the year then it’s yay me. It does not have to truly be one-each-month.)

  3. Clean up my Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf. I’ve been slowly working my way through it (more on this later) and I’d like to get that project completed next year.

    Why this goal? Currently, there are so many books on that list it’s losing its usefulness to me.

These goals were all written in part using ideas from Jon Acuff’s book Finish. So while I want to make ALL THE GOALS! I’m dialing it back, to help ensure I actually FINISH them all. I’m so good at starting projects, and not so good at finishing them. Starting something new is always more fun than finishing up the last bits of an old project.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!