Happy National Popcorn Day

Clearly, I know what snack I’m making tonight.

My love of popcorn goes back to my childhood. Popcorn was a treat I’d get sometimes (most often served with orange juice) while watching The Muppet Show. We didn’t get the popcorn maker out all that often, so it was special when we did.

popcorn-bookI also read Tomie dePaola’s “The Popcorn Book” (a 1978 classic) many times over as a kid. When I was home for the holidays, I was sorting through some of my things left in the attic and I found my copy. It’s beat up from the multiple readings and the 20 years (at least) boxed up and hidden away in the attic, suffering through the heat/cold changes of that space.

As I flipped through the book, I was amazed at how much of it I remembered.

The book also taught (re-taught) me that I’m storing my popcorn kernels all wrong, as I don’t have them in an airtight container. My solution for that, currently, is just to eat up what I’ve got.

P.S. Tomorrow is National Cheese Day. I’ll celebrate that one too.

Missing a friend

I’m having one of those moments where I really want to re-read the Potter books because they are old friends that I miss.

But I also want to find another book series that sticks with me in the same way, becomes real, offering both entertainment and insight for years to come.

This is equally the best and worst parts about being a reader.

2016 Reading Stats

My 2016 reading year resulted in some fun stats:

  • Books read:  88
  • Average per month:  7
  • Page count:  33,995
  • Average per month:  2,833
  • Total author count:  42
  • New to me authors:  20
  • Most books read by a single author: Darynda Jones for 8 books in her Grim Reaper series
  • Number of authors read once:  26

In 2017, I want to branch out and read more “new to me” type books, which was part of the development for January’s Challenge to read a life changing book.  I firmly believe that when one reads (or listens) to stories that are different than our own, we change our lives too.  I don’t have a number of books goal, but I do want the books to be thoughtful choices that will help me get outside my comfort zone of reading.

Bethany’s 2016 review is something to check out too, in case you missed it during the holidays.

Why we color

stress-relief

h/t to Mindful Life on Facebook

December Reading Challenge

The December 2016 reading challenge was to read a debut novel published in 2016. This one was staged deliberately to give us maximum time, and thanks to Bethany’s keen scoping, we had titles picked out in no time.

caughtBethany’s Pick:I picked the young adult “Don’t Get Caught,” by Kurt Dinan. I got to meet Kurt a few years back, and I always like getting to read books by people I know. Don’t Get Caught was a really clever and charming YA heist novel. The Prank War to end all Prank Wars has come to Asheville High School and boring Max Cobb is one of a handful of students invited to join the legendary Chaos Club. As they spend the year playing pranks (or seeking revenge), the group of unlikely friends learns how to stick up for each other and what they believe in. This was a great Reading Challenge Pick and I hope this group of pranksters in back in a sequel.

 

Stacie’s Pick:  I live near the hometown of Harry Houdini which made “Mrs. Houdini” by mrshoudiniVictoria Kelly an easy choice. The story flips between the beginning and the ending of Houdini’s life, and revolves around unwrapping the mysterious communications that he promised his wife post-mortem. The flash backs and forwards made sense in context of the story. Most troubling, I was bored. My interest peaked at page 194, when the mystery seemed to gather some velocity. Before that, the story was primarily concerned with how the Houdini’s became Harry Houdini, and his wife’s every decreasing role in his life.  This was a miss for me, and it it hadn’t been for the Reading Challenge I wouldn’t have made it to the end and unraveled how Harry did indeed communicate with his wife after his death.

2017 Reading Challenge

challenge-timeFor the third year running, the Word Nerds have set our annual reading challenge. Our challenges were started as a way to read things outside our normal genre bent or just to find unique picks.

We’re back at it for 2017.

Here’s the list of this year’s monthly picks.

I’m personally excited for April and and July.

Let us know if you want to join in the reading fun.

Book Banter: For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

Title:  For the Lovebookbg.jpg
Author:  Jen Hatmaker

Genre:  Non-fiction

Length: 224

Where Stacie’s Copy Came From:  Personal Collection

Plot Basics:  Hatmaker pulls together life experiences into an entertaining book where the reader learns why “For the Love” is her catch phrase.

Banter Points:  I picked this up because I had heard from a pair of friends about how good this book was. I definitely had laugh out loud moments, especially during the Thank you chapters.

I appreciated how Hatmaker’s spiritual life comes through in the book without over powering the book. It’s the sort of balance that I find in the pair of friend who recommended it too. Faith in this manner isn’t something that I’m used to, and it was refreshing to experience.

The candor about her 40s and what it’s like to have white privilege is something that I personally have been thinking about and facing too. I turn 40 next month. I have privileges afford to me because I’m white and others withheld because I’m a woman. I want this to be part of my conversation with friends and loved ones going forward.

For the love, we need to talk about this stuff!

Bummer Points: I was disappointed by the end of this book. I felt the way I almost always do when reading non-fiction based on a message or theme. It starts out strong, funny and witty even. By the end, I’m laughing but I’m not sure what the theme is anymore. Hatmaker had a huge following online (check out her Facebook page sometime) and loads of people adored this book. Me? Eh. It was okay.

Stacie’s Recommendation:  : If any of the Banter Points appealed, give it a go. Or if you read this type of book usually, try it out. But if neither of those are true, give it a pass. Hatmaker’s voice is fantastic, and I may try another title. This one just didn’t work for me.

Book Banter: Death Warmed Over

deathTitle: Death Warmed Over (Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. #1)

Author: Kevin J. Anderson

Length: 296 pages

Genre: urban fantasy

Where Bethany’s Copy Came From: IndyPL

Plot Basics: Being a zombie isn’t stopping PI Dan Chambeaux from continuing to solve cases — including his own murder. He’s one of the few working cases for the unnatural community, the vampires, ghosts, witches, zombies and more that came to life in the Big Uneasy. He’s got plenty to keep him busy — from a mummy seeking emancipation from a museum to a vampire seeking protection — all while trying to work the cold cases that left him a zombie and his girlfriend a ghost.

Banter Points: I read a short story from this series in the “Shadowed Souls” anthology and thought it was hilarious, so I gave the first book in the series in a try. I’m always looking for a good urban fantasy/PI/mystery series.

Bummer Points: Anderson isn’t a mystery writer. He’s got a zillion books to his name, but the good ones are the space opera. Shamble has too many cases and not enough that holds them together. The ending, while not totally predictable, was still not enough of a twist to leave me excited.

Word Nerd Recommendation: It’s unlikely that I’m going to keep going with the series. There are just too many other good books out there…