The Book Blogger Test


Here’s a book blogging meme via Ashley at Inside My Mind.  I took the advice to tag myself.

What are your top three book pet hates?

  • Books where the narrators are completely oblivious to their privilege and how they unwittingly disparage others. This happens in fiction (The Nanny Diaries) and non-fiction (Under the Tuscan Sun).
  • Writers who use big words and overly complicated sentence structure.  In other words, academic speak.
  • Anyone who trashes the writers of popular history and science because they actually use engaging writing in place of academic speak (David McCullough, I’ve got your back!).

Describe your perfect reading spot

  • I do most of my reading on the T these days.  As long as it’s not overly crowded and I can get a seat, I’m happy to cozy up on a subway train or bus and miss my stop if the reading is too engaging. :)

Tell us three book confessions

  • I’m completely unable to read Charles Dickens.  Something short circuits in my brain and I’m unable to comprehend anything my eyes scan over.  This makes me feel bad because I have a lot of friends who love Dickens.
  • There are a great number of class children’s books that I never read or even heard of until I was an adult.  These include Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, The Phantom Tollbooth, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Snowy Day,  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Bridge to Terabithia, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Winnie the Pooh, A Wrinkle in Time, The Westing Game, and anything by Beverly Cleary.
  • I had no interest in science fiction or fantasy until I was in my 30s.  I’m saving Romance for my 50s.

When was the last time you cried during a book?

I felt a lot of emotion reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  If I didn’t cry, I was close to it.

How many books are on your bedside table?

No books.  No bedside table.

What is your favorite snack to eat while you’re reading?

Whatever I can hold while holding a book or e-reader and will not get the book sticky.

Name three books you would recommend to everyone

  • The Eyre Affair by Jaspe Fforde
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston

Show us a picture of your favorite bookshelf on your bookcase

I endeavor to get all my books from the public library and I neglected to take a photograph of my favorite shelf last time I was there.

Write how much books mean to you in just three words

Need more words.

What is your biggest reading secret?

I don’t think I read enough.

2008 Year in Review: First Sentences


The first sentence from the first post of the first day of each month of this year.  Exciting, eh?

January:  “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) tells a familiar story.”

February:  “It’s early morning on Sunday 1 February 1998 and mist shrouds Galway as I board a bus to Rossaveal.”

March:  “On the first of March 1998, I made a rail journey across London to the borough of Greenwich.”

April:  “Here’s a bunch of short movie reviews, notes for my memory at least.”

May:  “Nobel Prize Laureate Heinrich Böll’s novel Billiards at Half-Past Nine represents Germany for Around the World for a Good Book.”

June:  “On Sunday, the Forest Hills Educational Trust and Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston presented a family concert in the lovely Forsyth Chapel called Tunes, Tales & Tricksters.”

July:  “Boston By Foot offers a special walking tour during Harborfest called Son of Boston: A Salute to Ben Franklin.”

August:  “New York: A Documentary Film is an 8-part film made by Ric Burns that debuted on PBS in 1999 (except for episode 8, which is from 2003).”

September:   “I arrived early for a tour in Ashmont and with nothing better to do, I got my geek on and rode the Mattapan-Ashmont High Speed Trolley Line.”

October:   “Truman Capote’s Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948) begins with a pre-teen boy arriving to move in with the father he never knew, hoping to avoid going to military school. ”

November:   “Last year when I went through a liturgical year with posts on my favorite saints, inspired by Fr. James Martin’s book My Life With the Saints, I failed to make a post for All Saints Day.”

December:   “I read Freeman Walker (2008) by David Allan Cates on the tails of completing The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, both of which feature young men in slavery in extraordinary situations, but their tales diverge rapidly from that similarity.”

Previously: 2007 Year in Review: First Sentences

History Blogs


One of my goals for my second year of blogging is to use this technology for learning, sharing, and writing about history.  I recently learned from an article in the History New Network about the Cliopatria Awards.  For the past three years, these awards have been given to recognize excellence in various aspects of history blogging.

I’ve gone through the list and decided to add the following blogs to my feedreader:

Another unique history blog I learned about via Found History, and is called Ten Years Ago.  Every day it features an historic event that happened on that date illustrated by hand in a moleskin day planner.  That’s just too clever to ignore.

Hopefully, reading these blogs will help inform the history initiative of Panorama of the Mountains.  And if not, I’ve given you some good alternate reading suggestions.