Reading Update

Happy Reading Thoughts Today:

Yesterday in the mail I received my ARC of Anne Bogel’s I’d Rather Be Reading – Look for that review soon! The release date is Sept 4th! Preorder now!

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I received permission to read Transcription by Kate Atkinson and I am overjoyed – look for that review soon too!

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From a recommendation from a writing friend, I picked up Wonderbook from the library yesterday. This book is so up my alley that it makes me giddy to read and it will make me a better writer! Thanks Marta!

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What I Am Reading…and Recs

The fiction selection I am currently reading is:


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It is over 700 pages but I love the story. This book was a BOTM and also recommended by Liberty!

Blogs I am reading and recommend:

1. Marta Pelrine-Bacon author & artist

2. Marian Allen, Author Lady

3. Amanda Potts

4. Getaway – I would love to stay here!

5. Julie Duffy Storyaday

An Hour A Day…

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Shaunta Grimes is the founder of Ninja Writers. One of the articles on her Patreon (of which I am a supporter) and her Medium page is about how to change your writing in one hour a day. If you click on her name above it will take you to the Medium article.

She uses a simple acronym but it is powerful to me.

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The idea is to do each of these 6 things for 10 minutes. Just 10 minutes…

W= Write

R = Read

I = Come up with 10 ideas a day

T= Talk to people who don’t live with you

E= Exercise

R= Regroup – review and plan

Writing and reading for 10 minutes a day isn’t normally an issue for me. I always have a notebook and book with me. If I am stuck without physical materials, I also have my phone which has my Keep app and Kindle app. Technology can be wonderful!

The I resonates with me and Julie Duffy’s idea sparks. As a writer, I am constantly observing and taking notes. I love it. It is fun for me. My notebooks are for idea gathering not really writing. The writing happens mostly on the computer. I have started writing a list of 10 ideas,  which has worked well over the last 2 days.

T is the one I have the most trouble with. I could go for days without talking to people and be just fine. I can get away with texting which technically is talking to people. (wink, wink)

Exercise isn’t an issue for me usually either. I am a runner but have been opting for shorter runs lately since I have been so tired. I am really ready for the summer break and the break from driving. I walked the dog yesterday in the sun at the park and that was satisfying. I will be running with my daughter this summer more often so that is a good pattern to get into again. I am allowing myself to walk, and not always feel the pressure to run which will help my mental state.

The regroup section is the one I am working on this week. I do this mentally sometimes, but unless it is teaching I usually do not write the goals down. I have set some monthly goals for writing so will regroup at least at the end of the week to check my progress.

Routine is an interesting concept to think about. I do love routine but I also am a rebel. Just because the routine is good for me or it’s comfortable is the exact reason I go against it. I sometimes get impatient with the routine and do not take the time to enjoy it.  I just want to get through it. It is something I am working on.



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View story at

Simply Tuesday Thoughts…on Thursday

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I am reading Simply Tuesday by Emily P Freeman. I love her podcast the Next right thing which is what brought me to her books. I read and I hear her voice in my head which is a very good thing. There is a soothing and calming effect of her voice which is wonderful. Many of the ideas she talks about hit home for me. She is a Christian writer and so some of the “God speak” I gloss over. It is a bit much for me in spots.

In the chapter titled Community and Competition, she has a delightful story about her reaching out for some fellow creatives to meet with. She was feeling lonely and wanted some connection with real people. She formed a small group of 3 and they are called  The Artists Circle. They get together monthly at coffee shops or their houses and answer three questions:

What are you working on?

What is inspiring you?

Where do you need prodding?

This is appealing to me as such a delightful notion and I love the simplicity of the questions. These questions can also translate to so many areas. They immediately were written down into my notebook. The questions come from Todd Henry who wrote The Accidental Creative. They really hone into the springboards of a deep creative conversation.

I love when books and authors I love,  recommend books and authors they love. I have a new rabbit hole to go down now and I couldn’t be happier. Plus I have new questions which always makes me happy!


Come back tomorrow! I will be reflecting on my 31 Story A Day challenge and what I learned.

9 Read Aloud Guidelines for Parents and Teachers


  1. The story needs to be read at different speeds depending on the content. Sometimes a book needs to be read slowly or very fast! Pay attention to the punctuation and word placement on the page especially for picture books.
  2. If you are reading to a class it is usually a good practice to read the book to yourself first. Don’t just grab one off the shelf.
  3. A cold read can be valuable to have some teachable moments when you encounter unknown words, misread sentences and then teach the students how to deal with it.
  4. Children are never too old, or to young, to read aloud to.
  5. You can always come back to a book. There are many reasons to read. The brain loves pattern and many children enjoy hearing the same story over and over and over…even though we don’t always like to read that many times!
  6. Find spaces to read where you are less likely to be distracted.
  7. Having a set read aloud time establishes a pattern.
  8. Books can go with you anywhere – especially if you are reading to your children you can read in the car while waiting, or in line.
  9. Choice is important! Let your child, or the class, choose what to read. Modeling the choice will help when you want them to choose books to read independently.

Reading Changed The Trajectory Of My Life



pexels-photo-1034008.jpegI seem to be an anomaly in my own family. Outsiders perceive my associations and mindsets to be quite different from the people who raised me. At the present time, the disadvantage is no one can meet my Oma (German Grandmother) who I spent the bulk of my formative years with.

A couple years ago a friend and colleague and I were reflecting about career paths, life decisions, waiting, and life. We both remarked how different we were from our siblings who we grew up with in the same house and with the same parents. Then the conversation moved to my love of asking a great question. One, in particular, I  love to ask is what their first reading memory is. I also say it can be a positive or a negative one, just the first one they can recall. The reaction and answer is either a dramatic story of happiness or a dreaded and horrific story of a novel or text that teachers made them read that they hated. It is ALWAYS a strong emotion – passion vs hate. It is always fascinating to me.

The connection of my thinking being so different from my family and reading is one I have never made in any of the self-reflection I do. (There is a lot).

The weekend before, I had met this same friend for coffee in Chicago at a quaint little shop down the street from several independent bookstores. We, of course, had discussed the reading question.

A sudden startled look on her face as we sipped our lattes demonstrated a connection. She then looked at me bluntly and said, “You do realize that the answer to your own question and fascination with reading is why you are so different than your circumstances. Your own reading life and patterns changed the trajectory of your life. You didn’t want to settle for just what you already knew.”

Ironic when someone else points out your own motivations.

What we do to kids with reading and writing can have last consequences. Below are some of the answers I have received when I ask the question: What is your earliest reading experience? NOTE: Often the conversation then expanded to a comparison to their reading lives now. These remarks are also contained in the following snippets.

  • K’s first reading experience that she shared was heartbreaking. She had not experienced any GOOD reading experiences her entire life. She blames it on her  ADD and that she cannot concentrate enough. She also notes The Hound of Baskerville by Sir Conan Doyle ruined reading for her completely. She does not recall the exact reasons but she was very adamant about her hatred of this book.
  • D had a different experience. He likes fantasy reading and can lose himself in a book. He will read and forget how he got that far and go back and reread. He also remarked that he gets fixated on a word and will still be thinking about the word as he reads on…then has to go back 3 pages. He can’t read nonfiction because he loses interest.
  • B remembers reading Agatha Christy and remembers it all the details. She also read the American Girl doll books. She remarked as an adult she reads in pieces – comes back to the books. She also keeps the books that she has started even though she is quite the minimalist. This is unusual because possessions get rotated and eliminated frequently in her apartment.
  • F remembers reading Mac Christopher sportsbooks. He remembers reading the Goosebumps books in first grade and feeling tremendous pride. F learned to read before he went to kindergarten.
  • remembers watching TV and her dad reading her a Cookie Monster book and she tried to read it.

What are your earliest reading memories? How have they shaped your reading life today?


Happy Reading!

Books Read over SB

Betwixt and Between: Essays on the Writing Life by Jenny Boully

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I loved this book. It is from Coffee House Press. It is weird and lovely. I am going to start reading from the beginning again! Very rarely does a book have this effect on me!

Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk Kathleen Rooney

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This book was a BOTM choice from last January. One of my goals to read books I already have on my shelves and this is one of them. The book is well written which is mostly why it held my attention. The plot is literally a woman who goes for a walk and reflects on her life on New Year’s Eve in New York. The premise sounds boring but I assure you it is not.

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

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Another BOTM pick recommended by Libery Hardy. I enjoyed this book and the research that included about solitude. Lots of underlined passages!

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

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This book has been on my TBR list for a long time. It did not make me cry and I found it to be a fast read. Overall it was good, not great.

On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for Writing by Ann Kroeker

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I loved this book. I listen to Ann Kroeker’s podcast and enjoy her emails for writers as well. I really want to talk about this book with some other writers!

Writers Digest Magazine

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I treated myself to a digital subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine. I really enjoyed this issue especially since there are articles by Julie Duffy from Storyaday and Gabriela Pereira from DIYMFA. I am a sucker for a good list and this issue is full of great lists AND articles.

What have you read lately?