Tag Archives: books

December 2021 Bookish Resolutions

I hope that you found some sort of peace and comfort during this holiday season. Although still challenging, my celebration this year was better than last year’s.
On this Boxing Day, I am posting my last “Bookish Resolutions” post:

Read 24 books this year for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

Well at least I am wrapping up my year with two books that count towards this challenge.

“In-between Days” by Teva Harrison
I read Harrison’s book “Not One of These Poems Is About You”, and then I decided to read this book, her “hybrid graphic memoir” about living with incurable breast cancer. Harrison decided to write and draw her way through living with the disease, and this collection is the result. I didn’t find it to be a downer, but instead very raw and honest.

“The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations” by Oprah Winfrey
I bought this book for my husband a few years ago, and it has taken me that long to finish the book, dipping in and out of it over the years. It has a lot of goodness in it, and it is meant to be savoured. Maybe I just wanted to savour it for a very long time.
From the epilogue:
“…as long as you are asking the right questions of yourself, the answers will readily reveal themselves. Who do you want to be? How can you allow who you want to be to thrive in all aspects of your life?”

You can see my list from the whole year on my Mount TBR post.

Read 12 nature related books this year to enhance my horticultural therapy study.

None

Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.

“I Hope This Finds You Well” by Kate Baer
Baer makes erasure poems—turning the negative into positive—from comments she receives or things she reads on the internet. My favourite is “Re: My Daughter’s Struggles”.

“the untethered soul: the journey beyond yourself” by Michael A. Singer
A gift for my birthday, I found this book about inner peace and freedom very appealing. However, freeing myself is easier said than done. Luckily, the author himself states that this path takes a lifetime of work. I have the companion journal, and I will tackle it in the new year. I look forward to further insights.

“How to Avoid Making Art (Or Anything Else You Enjoy)” by Julia Cameron
Cameron nudges you in this graphic novel to remember the things that can stand in the way of you and your creative process. For example, “Talk about it so you don’t have to do it.”

“The Listening Path: Six Weeks to Deeper Creativity” by Julia Cameron
I’ve been trying to hone my listening skills, but a lot of the exercises Cameron suggests either I already do or are ones that do not appeal to me. Still the book did nudge me to remember to listen in different ways. Most important for me though was that the book brought me back to doing “Morning Pages” and “Artist’s Dates”.

Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

Not much writing done this month. Whenever I meditate though, I’ve been hearing the call to write again.

Read related literature to my novel writing.

Not done.

Analyze two creative nonfiction essays per month.

“I Regret Telling My Mother Her Traditional Chinese Soup Was ‘Gross’” by Katharine Chan
I lived in China for three years, and it was very much a “food as medicine” culture. I enjoyed the reminder through this article, as the mother explains to her daughter the benefits of each food that was in the soup.

“How to Tell Your Mother She Can’t Go Home Again” by Heidi Croot
I was put in a similar position with my father, so this essay really resonated with me.

Analyze what I like about two picture books per month.

“Ten Cents a Pound” by Nhung N. Tran-Davies; illustrated by Josée Bisaillon
What I like about this book:
-the lyrical language
-the repetition and refrain
-the setting
-the theme: a mother explains to her daughter why she should be leaving her village for a better life
-the drawings: the closeups of hands and feet

“Natsumi’s Song of Summer” by Robert Paul Weston; illustrated by Misa Saburi
What I like:
-the sensory description
-the main character loves insects
-a cross cultural encounter
-the setting
-but especially that the book is written in a series of tankas (five lines and 31 syllables)

Bonus:
“Friends Forever” by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
The third of a series, this is a graphic novel based on Hale’s life in grade eight. I can totally relate, especially the part about being thought too sensitive and hiding my feelings, and suffering with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder. I wish I had had this book back then.

Submit one story to a contest per season.

I have already done this.

Attend one writing webinar per month. (flexible)

Not many were offered this month.

Work on one lesson of a writing course per month. (flexible)

No, I didn’t do this.

Attend a writing group session per week. (flexible)

I did this.

Blog at least twice a month.

Completed.

Weekly treasure:

One of the art installations in my city’s “Winter Illumination” exhibit

Challenges:

HaikuForTwo

I wrote two.

Well that wraps up my “Bookish Resolutions” for this year. Although I didn’t accomplish all what I wanted to this year, I am proud of what I did do.
As mentioned in last week’s blog post, my format will be different next year. See you in 2022.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories
@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

September 2021 Bookish Resolutions Wrap-up

September has been a better month for me. It’s not been so tumultuous, and I am enjoying the peace I am experiencing. I know though that I have several important decisions to make, but in the meantime, I am going to savour the peace.

Read 24 books this year for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

“The Giblin Guide to Writing Children’s Books” by James Cross Giblin

Though the latest reprint of this book is 2005, I was using it in a course as recently as 2017. I only skimmed it back then, but took the plunge this month to read it as a book study. Read more about it on my Mount TBR 2021 post.

“Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Read more about this book below.

Read 12 nature related books this year to enhance my horticultural therapy study.

“Escape to Reality” by Mark Cullen with Ben Cullen

You may have seen him on TV or heard him on the radio, but have you read any of Canada’s most famous and loved horticultural expert’s books? In this collection of short essays, Cullen (with the occasional piping in of his son) writes about everything from the value of a gardener’s work to how to think like a plant.

Consider this:

“Experience tells us, according to <Peter> Ladner, that local food reduces our dependency on oil. A Canadian study on ‘food miles’ estimated that sourcing fifty-eight food items locally or regionally rather than globally could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about fifty thousand tonnes annually. That is the equivalent of removing almost seventeen thousand vehicles from the road.”

“Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer

This is hands down one of the best books I have ever read in my life! My book club partner and I took our time over it, savouring it over several weeks. 

There are just too many fantastic learnings to mention here, so I will leave you with this video about “the honourable harvest”.

Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.

None

Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

I haven’t been writing every day.

Read related literature to my writing.

Not done.

Analyze two creative nonfiction essays per month. These are the two that I analyzed:

“Why I resigned from my tenured position teaching climate science in college” by Heather Short

Why I like this:

-it’s a timely piece, and it mentions several things I have been thinking about lately

-it’s an expert’s point of view

-it’s a mixture of facts and opinion

Favourite quote:

‘Teaching this to an 18 year old is like telling them that they have cancer, then ushering them out the door, saying “sorry, good luck with that.”’

“On Sept. 30, I hope people will do more than just take the day off” by Andrea Johns

Why I like this:

-it’s written from the perspective of a Mohawk woman

-it’s another timely piece, written as a reflection on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

-it offers solutions

Favourite quotes:

“It’s great to, again, have a holiday that recognizes the legacy of the residential school system. But there’s a lot of things that are tied to the residential school system: socio-economic issues and missing and murdered Indigenous women and land and economic inequalities.”

and

“I hope that people won’t just take the day off, like they would treat it like any other holiday, going to your cottage on potentially unceded Indigenous territories or spending the time not engaging with … the history of residential schools.”

Analyze what I like about two picture books per month.

“Woodland Dreams” by Karen Jameson; illustrated by Marc Boutavant

What I like about this book:

-every creature gets a unique, descriptive name: Big Paws, Velvet Nose

-repetition: every refrain starts with “Come Home…”

-sparse and poetic text is a delight on the tongue

-unique rhymes, e.g., schemer/dreamer

“Butterflies are Pretty Gross” by Rosemary Mosco; illustrated by Jacob Souva

-breaks the fourth wall

-very humorous (I’ll never think of breakfast in the same way)

-plenty of tongue pleasing alliteration (deliciously disgusting, pretty peculiar)

-fascinating facts presented in an interesting way, e.g. read about the sneaky Alcon Blue caterpillar

Special shoutout about the “little senses” series, written for those who are very sensitive, e.g., those on the autism spectrum. I read “It Was Supposed to Be Sunny” by Samantha Cotterhill. A girl adapts to not having her birthday party work out exactly as she wants to with the gentle help of her mother.

Submit one story to a contest per season.

I placed eighth in the first round of the latest NYC Midnight contest, which gives me 8 points. Yay! I submitted my second story. This time I got mystery, which I have never written before, but it was fun writing outside of my comfort zone.

Attend one writing webinar per month. (flexible)

Suzanne Simard on her book “Finding the Mother Tree”. (Guelph Arboretum)

Work on one lesson of a writing course per month. (flexible)

Not done

Attend a writing group session per week. (flexible)

I did this.

Blog at least twice a month.

Not done

Weekly treasure:

One of my local blue jays

Challenges:

HaikuforTwo:

I wrote three.

100 day challenge:

Read two chapters of a book a day. 

I didn’t do this, but I intend to get back to it, as there are two library books I wish to complete.

How was your month?

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

August 2021 Bookish Resolutions Wrap-up

This was another challenging month for me with a lot of soul searching, but I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Here are my results:

Read 24 books this year for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

“The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben

In my third attempt to read this book, I finally succeeded! I don’t know why I didn’t finish the first two times, because it really is a wonderful book. Perhaps I just got distracted? Anyway, to read more about my impressions of the book, see the entry below.

Read 12 nature related books this year to enhance my horticultural therapy study.

“The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben 

This quote sums up the book and the feeling that you will leave with after reading it:

“When you know that trees experience pain and have memories and that tree parents live together with their children, then you no longer can just chop them down and disrupt their lives with large machines.”

I believe the book should be required reading material in school.

Apparently also there is a related movie.

Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.

“World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Written by a poet, Nezhukumatathil weaves her story into observations of nature. A delightful read!

Favourite quotes:

“And so, I ask: When is the last time you danced like a superb bird of paradise? I mean, when was the last time you really cut a rug, and did you mosh, bust a move, cavort, frisk, frolic, skip, prance, romp, gambol, jig, bound, leap, jump, spring, bob, hop, trip, or bounce?”

and

“It is this way with wonder: it takes a bit of patience, and it takes putting yourself in the right place at the right time. It requires that we be curious enough to forgo our small distractions in order to find the world.”

“Three Simple Lines: A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku” by Natalie Goldberg

I started this when I was on vacation in July and finished it upon returning home. Part history, part travelogue, I really enjoyed journeying along with Goldberg. The book motivated me to write several haikus about what happened on my vacation, and I wrote them in the book, so the book has become a keepsake.

“The Comfort Book” by Matt Haig

I loved this book so much that I bought it after I read my library copy. So much deliciousness here!

Example:

“…one of the most common feelings among people was the feeling of not fitting in among people. The comfort, then, is the weird truth that in one sense we have most in common with others when we feel awkward and alone. Isolation is as universal as it gets.”

and

“I used to worry about fitting in until I realized the reason I didn’t fit in was because I didn’t want to.”

Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

Very sporadic.

Read related literature to my novel writing.

No, I didn’t do this.

Analyze two creative nonfiction essays per month. These are the two that I analyzed:

“My greatest pandemic discovery has been finding the wild in the city” by Andrea Curtis

What I like about this essay:

-Evocative language:

“We’ve also slipped down the side of steep embankments, threaded our way over boulders, passed ancient washed-out bridges, dodged storm water outtake pipes, graffitied underpasses and fjorded frozen streams.”

-Unexpected discoveries:

‘In his beautiful book about walking called The Old Ways, the British naturalist Robert Macfarlane calls unofficial urban paths, the ones trodden but not formally marked “desire lines.”’

-A thoughtful takeaway

“Hearing the voices from my family’s past 50 years later felt like coming home again” by Gayle Belsher

A couple of discoveries:

-The essay starts with a few facts.

-The essay mentions how the author’s journey links to the pandemic, which I am seeing is a common topic now in creative nonfiction essays.

Overall I am starting to see patterns, and I am going to try such techniques as peppering facts in my creative nonfiction essays.

Analyze what I like about two picture books per month.

These are the two that I analyzed:

“This Pretty Planet” by Tom Chapin and John Forster; illustrated by Lee White

The book is based on a song, so it’s not a surprise that the text is musical. Short and sometimes rhyming text make it easy on the ear; the illustrations also make it easy on the eye.

Favourite part:

“You’re a garden

You’re a harbour

You’re a holy place.”

“Peace” by Baptiste Paul and Miranda Paul; illustrated by Esteli Meza

What I liked:

-beautiful and creative rhyming pairs, such as correctly/directly

-peace explained in a child friendly way: “Peace is pronouncing your friend’s name correctly

-animals are featured in the pictures, and the author’s note explains how peace also affects animals

Submit one story to a contest per season.

Not a good month: I got five rejections. However, I am planning on repurposing two of those stories.

Attend one writing webinar per month. (flexible)

I didn’t do this.

Work on one lesson of a writing course per month. (flexible)

I’ve been working my way through a course about marketing writing.

Attend a writing group session per week. (flexible)

I have dropped out of one of my critique groups due to scheduling conflicts. However, I still continue meeting with my first critique partner weekly.

Blog at least twice a month.

I’ve completed this task.

Weekly treasure:

The birds that have been coming to my bird feeder have provided a lot of comfort. How many sparrows can you see?

Challenges:

HaikuForTwo

I wrote four!

100 day challenge

Read two chapters of a book a day. This works well for me, and I will continue it.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

June 2021 Bookish Resolutions

It’s hard to believe it’s July already.

June was a tough month for me. I’ve always felt that I’ve been operating in life with a smudged map, but this month I’ve felt like my map has completely blown away. So I’m trying to embrace a sit spot for a little bit of a think instead of rushing off on my next adventure. This is particularly challenging for impatient me.

When one of my critique partners sent me this blog post about goal setting, one particular line stood out to me: “Goals are amazing but unless our goals map to growth, we’re simply writing a to-do list.” Yes, that’s definitely what I feel like. I am checking off my to do list instead of growing, so I decided that I am going to revise my bookish resolutions to reflect growth.

That’s why this month’s blog post will contain not only my goals from June but also new goals.

Old goal: Read 24 books this year for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

I’m certainly failing this challenge. None read this month.

New goal : I’m still going to pursue this challenge. At the end of the year, I may simply need to cull some of the books that I had hoped to read.

Old goal: Read 12 nature related books this year to enhance my horticultural therapy study.

I could put “the river” by Helen Humphreys in either this category or the next. Whichever one, I love this book! 

Humphreys writes about a small part of the Napanee River where she has a waterside property. She writes about its history, what she has found there, the animals and plants there.

I do disagree with Humphreys’ belief that the river is indifferent to her despite her love for it. I believe if you love nature, it will love you back, just maybe not in a “human” way.

So many things to ponder, but I’ll leave you with a couple: 

“The British naturalist and writer Roger Deakin once said that watching a river is the same as watching a fire in the hearth. Both are moving and alive, and the feeling from watching both them is a similar one.”

and

“The river has pushed its banks many times. Does it have memory of this, or a reach beyond itself that it can feel, that it remembers? What does it feel its true size is? Does the river have a kind of consciousness?”

New goal: I’m still going to pursue this challenge.

Old goal: Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.

“Bluets” by Maggie Nelson

I listened to this book in audio form, because that was the only way I could without buying it. I’ve never taken to audiobooks, and I still don’t appreciate them, despite the fact that one of my primary modes of learning is auditory. Perhaps I miss the tactile sensation of turning pages. Also, I don’t know how people can multitask when they are listening to an audiobook. If I do this then I am constantly stopping and rewinding, because I have missed something. Finally, I love to write down quotes of my favourite parts, and this is hard to do when you are listening to something.

Well anyway, I love the book. There are 240 prose poems all related to the colour blue. Apparently half of westerners’ favourite colour is blue, and that includes me, so I enjoyed all the snippets of blue information—such as learning about the “blue” people (Tuareg), and that indigo blue was originally the “devil’s dye” until it was made holy, and that the colour of the universe was accidentally declared as turquoise—interspersed with philosophy and poetry.

You can read more about it in this article:

New goal: I will continue with this goal.

Old goal: Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

My summer writing challenge, as set by my daughter, is to write a novel, but I confess we have slacked off lately. I need more motivation to do this.

New goal: Continue with this goal, but find a way to actually do this. Ideas?

Added goal: Read related literature. I need to figure out an actual number.

Old goal: Read 3 creative nonfiction essays a week.

Favourites:

“Collectively Speaking” by Chelsey Clammer

So much to love in this essay, especially the term “a resilience of women”

One of my favourite quotes:

“As an editor, I hold people’s stories. As a trauma survivor, I help those stories find their voices. Because it’s the experiences I’ve had that guide me in encouraging other survivors to find a voice. It’s the editor in me that helps to shape that story into something tangible—something we can see. Read. I give feedback about specifics. The mechanics. But as a female trauma survivor, I hold. Help. It might look like I’m by myself, but I’m never alone. I’m holding people’s stories. Guiding, even, the therapeutic activity of crafting a voice for your experience. I’ve read about so much trauma—have seen the ways so many people have survived to tell the story of those who haven’t.”

“The Glass Sliver” by Robyn Fisher

I can totally relate to her experience.

Favourite quote:

“Sometimes, this whole caregiving thing does seem like a wilderness experience. I mean, you got your sandwich, your canteen, your first aid kit. You even got your map and compass. But you’ve never been on this trail before, it’s all new to you. And last night’s storm washed part of it away, so the map does not resemble the path anymore. You’re bushwhacking now, hoping you’re not too far off the trail, and the way will show itself soon.”

“Le Pen de Amazon” by Helen K. Hedrick

Hedrick writes an essay using a choice of words from the book she is reading. I love this idea!

“The Birds: June is for Juncos” by Leanne Ogasawara

“Until the pandemic, I had always considered myself to be a city person. I never thought much about ecological issues until I came back to the US in mid-life. To be sure, Japan was not perfect in terms of the environment–not by any means. But I think it is safe to say that in Japan nature is not held as “standing reserve.” Rather than seen merely as a resource to be used, nature and the seasons are something to which people in Japan strive to be attuned. Deep listening is an especially humbling act, as the ephemeral and transient quality of sound demands attention and focus.”

New goal: Add in some analysis. I will analyze what I like about two creative nonfiction essays per month, which I hope will inform my writing.

Old goal: Read 5 picture books per month

My favourites:

“I Talk Like a River” by Jordan Scott; illustrated by Sydney Smith

The main character is comforted when his father tells him that his stuttering is like talking like a river. Based on a true story.

“A Year of Everyday Wonders” by Cheryl B. Klein; pictures by Qin Leng

A year of firsts and a few seconds and some lasts.

“In a Garden” by Tim McCanna; illustrated by Aimée Sicuro

A rhyming picture book.

My favourite rhyme:

“In a garden

full of green

many moments 

go unseen.”

“A Thousand No’s” by DJ Corchin; pictures by Dan Dougherty

The main character gets a lot of “Nos” for her idea, so she asks for help.

New goal: Analyze what I like about two picture books per month.

Old goal: Submit one story to a contest per season.

I submitted a poem and a creative nonfiction essay to The Fringe Literary Contest.

I submitted a creative nonfiction essay to the Amy MacRae award.

New goal: Continue with this goal.

Old goal: Attend one writing webinar per month.

“Outside” virtual book launch—Sean McCammon with Susanne Ruder (New Star Books)

New goal: I’m going to be flexible about this.

Old goal: Work on one lesson of a writing course per month.

I have been working on my American poetry course. 

New goal: I am going to be flexible about this.

Old goal: Attend a writing group session per week.

Now that it’s summer, one of my writing groups is only meeting every second week, so it may not be doable.

New goal: Meet when we can over the summer and revisit in September.

Old goal: Blog at least twice a month.

New goal: I will continue this.

Old goal: Weekly treasure:

New goal: I will continue this. It’s one of my favourites.

Challenges:

Old goal: HaikuForTwo

I wrote three this month.

New goal: Continue, as I love this.

New goal: I’m going to go back to doing something similar to the 100 day challenge where I break down some of the stuff I want to do on a daily basis. It helped me complete the German novel I wanted to read. Currently, I am reading a horticultural therapy related novel, two chapters a day.

It was good to reevaluate my goals and see what was working and what was not. How’s your goal setting going?

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

WOW Blog Tour: “Only My Horses Know” and “Read Aloud Stories with Fred” Collection

Bonus! Leave a comment on this blog post, and you can enter a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card. Just make sure that you click here to fill out this form (by July 15, 2021) to be eligible. And the more related blog posts (see calendar below) you leave a comment on, the more times you can enter. 

“Only My Horses Know” by Cinda Jo Bauman

I chose this book to review, because not only have I always loved horses, but also because there are a few important people in my life who have a mental illness. Many families are touched by mental illness, but it’s still a topic that there is much stigma around. Books can help.

I found the topic was discussed sensitively. I don’t know anyone who has bipolar disorder, but I could relate to all the stigma surrounding having someone in the family with a mental illness. Questions included “Would people make fun of me if they found out?” and “Will I get the same thing?”

The most poignant line for me was “My thoughts wondered how somebody could be here and gone at the same time.” I wonder how many other teens feel this way. I hope that they find their way to books like this and find comfort in the fact that they are not alone.

The focus of the story is how Kye and her parents cope with her mom’s mental illness, but there are also the subplots of Kye’s friendship with her best friend Joey and her training for the rodeo on her horse Kiwi, which together make the book an enjoyable read.

The book ends on a hopeful note. I don’t want to put any spoilers here, but the possibility of a horse therapy farm is discussed, and I, a student of horticultural therapy, found this similar concept thrilling. After all, there is not just one approach to a challenge in life.

If you want to hear Bauman talk about her book, click here to access a video. 

Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

“Read Aloud Stories with Fred” by Fred Olds

I admire the fact that this book was written by a 91 year old. I hope that I am doing the same when I am that age.

Like all anthologies, I found that there were some stories that stood out for me. When I pull out my Hans Christian Anderson collection of stories I immediately flip to my favourites. Similarly, the next time I pull out Olds’ book, I will flip to “The Hobbling Hermit”, which brought tears to my eyes. A close second is “The Cheerless Chairmaker”. But then I love fairy tales, especially ones that are retold with a new twist.

Other people might find that their favourites are about a cross-eyed crow (my third favourite) or one of the other stories. And don’t forget the first story, written by author and publisher Margo L. Dill, about Martin Luther King, Jr. and racism, which I also enjoyed.

Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Book Summary of Only My Horses Know

Life on a Montana horse ranch has always been the best for twelve-year-old Kylie Hannigan. She bonds with the horses, rides them with her friend Joey, and helps her mom train them. Plus she barrel races her favorite horse, Kiwi, and with plenty of practice and grit, they will definitely beat her rival Olivia this year.

But then, something starts happening with Kylie’s mom. She sleeps all the time, and Kylie has to do the chores, the training, and all the care for the horses–and it’s too much! At least it’s summer, so she doesn’t have to worry about school, and she can spend time talking to her favorite animals. One day, a strange-behaving horse with an even stranger name shows up for

training but is only ignored by Kylie’s mom. Training a difficult horse used to be a fun challenge Kylie could share with her mom, but that’s not even happening now.

Then her mom changes again, and she’s up doing everything—including cooking and cleaning in the middle of the night. Kylie still gets no rest because Mom thinks Kylie should be able to do it all, too. So when school starts and Mom’s behavior goes back and forth and back and forth, and then embarrasses Kylie in front of Joey more times than she can count, Kylie decides the only thing she can do is hide everything from everyone—accept her horses.

Kylie’s life spins out of control along with her mom’s. She can’t train for the barrel races with Kiwi or keep up with homework or talk to her best friend. What will it take to get her life back to the way it used to be? Or is that even possible?

Purchase Only My Horses Know on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to add this to your reading list on GoodReads.

About the Author, Cinda Jo Bauman

Cinda Jo Bauman lives in Central Illinois with her husband and dogs. During her high school years, she took every art class offered along with every child development class. After a class where she spent part of the day at a daycare, child development won out over art. Years of story time led to a love of children’s picture-books, which made her wish she had stuck with art. 

Flash forward to today, and she still loves children’s books! After researching and much study; learning about writing and illustrating children’s books, she joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and found her passion. Besides writing children’s picture books and middle-grade novels, Cinda also creates with cut paper sculptures and paints in oil and acrylic. She loves iris flowers and the color purple.

Only My Horses Know is her debut middle-grade novel.

Find out more about Cinda:

Cinda’s website is: https://kidsillio.com/

Cinda’s YouTube Channel is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spQ7Vyc-4ZA

Book Summary of Read Aloud Stories with Fred Collection

In this full collection of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred, we have included all six stories from volumes 1 and 2, a bonus story “Looking Inside” by Margo L. Dill (only available in this collection), and a foreword by Margo also. Each story has an illustration to start the story along with a question for children to consider while the story is being read aloud to them (or older children can read to themselves). These stories are perfect for parents and grandparents to read to the children in their lives.

The stories are:

“Looking Inside” Join a kindergarten class as they learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and how he believed all people were the same on the inside.

“Ben and the Terrible Red Card” Ben is always getting in trouble at school, but he feels his teacher just misunderstands him. He’s trying!

“The Hobbling Hermit” The hermit’s feet hurt, and he takes out his grumpiness on his new housemate, a small, smart mouse.

“Sammy and the Cross-eyed Crow” Sammy lives in the jungle and talks to animals! What happens when he meets a crow who can’t fly straight?

“Ben and the Bully, Billy Bob” Here’s another Ben story, and this time, Ben’s in front of the principal’s office for a run-in with Billy Bob the Bully!

“The Cheerless Chairmaker” Fred Olds has written a new fairy tale with a poor, sweet chairmaker and a smart, savvy princess!

“Sammy and the Royal Rabbit” Sammy is back in the jungle with Jonathan the crow, and this time, he is visited by a rabbit who thinks he’s a king!

This is a very special collection of short stories by two experienced children’s authors. Don’t miss out on getting this collection today! 

Purchase Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

About the Author, Fred Olds

Fred Olds has crafted dozens of stories over the years and has been involved with various writing and critique groups. At the age of 92, he is a devoted husband and proud father and grandfather living in Central Illinois. After retirement from the Postal Service as an electronic technician, he finally has time to concentrate on writing. A true storyteller at heart, his first love is writing children’s books with an occasional murder mystery thrown in for a change of pace. Check out his kids’ short story books, Read-Aloud Stories with Fred, Vol. 1 and then Vol. 2, and his first book for adults, The Hobo Who Wasn’t, an exciting detective story. He’s also the author of The Dog and the Flea: A Tale of Two Opposites and The Cat, the Mouse, and the Neighbors’ Dog, two books of the Perky Pet Problems picture book series.

About the Author & Publisher, Margo L. Dill

Margo L. Dill is the CEO and owner of Editor-911 Books in St. Louis, MO. She is also the author of the American Civil War Adventure Series with two books, Anna and the Baking Championship and Finding My Place: One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg, for middle-grade readers. Her other books are That’s the Way It Always Happened and Maggie Mae, Detective Extraordinaire: The Case of the Missing Cookies, which are illustrated picture books, and she has a short story about kids learning about Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings in Fred Olds’s collection of short stories, Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Vols. 1 and 2. Her next book is for teachers and parents and is out in June 2021, It’s Not Just Academics: A Guide To Teach Kids’ Health, Communication, and Social Emotional Skills. She lives in St. Louis with her tween daughter and lively rescue dog, Sudsi. 

Find out more at:

Her website: www.margoldill.com

Editor-911 Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoDill.author.editor

Editor-911 website: https://editor-911.com/editor-911-books-1

— Blog Tour Calendar

June 7th @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the launch of this incredible blog tour. Find out more about the authors, their touching books, and enter to win books for yourself. Become an active participant in the tour, and you can win a gift card.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

June 8th @ Lisa’s Reading

Visit Lisa’s blog where she shares a guest post about clean, sweet, books and how to find them (and why kids will love them too).

https://lisasreading.com/

June 8th @ Pages and Paws

Come by and read a review of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred

https://pagesandpaws.com/

June 9th @ Create Write Now

Mari shares a guest post today about tackling the stigma of mental illness.

https://www.createwritenow.com/

June 11th @ Pages and Paws

Come by to Pages and Paws again and read a review of Only My Horses Know

https://pagesandpaws.com/

June 13th @ AJ Kormon’s Blog

Join us at AJ Kormon’s blog where you can read a guest post about finding problems kids will relate to. A must-read post for children’s book authors!

https://www.ajkormon.com/blog

June 14th @ AJ Kormon’s Blog

Join us again at AJ Kormon’s blog today where you can read a review of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know.

https://www.ajkormon.com/blog

June 15th @ Lisa Haselton’s Book Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews author Fred Olds about his book Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection.

June 16th @ Words from the Heart

Linda reviews the book Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection by Fred Olds.

https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

June 17th @ Literary Quicksand

Join Jolissa as she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection by Fred Olds.

http://www.literaryquicksand.com/

June 18th @ Words from the Heart

Linda shares a guest post about tackling Christian themes in secular books.

https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

June 20th @ A Storybook World

Join Deirdra as she features Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

June 21st @ Lisa Haselton’s Book Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews author Cinda Bauman, author of the book Only My Horses Know.

June 23rd @ Bring on Lemons

Visit Crystal’s blog today where she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

June 26th @ Shoe’s Seeds and Stories

Join Linda as she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know.

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

June 28th @ Jill Sheets’ Blog

Visit Jill’s blog where she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know.

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

July 1st @ What is That Book About

Michelle shares a guest post about following your dreams at 92. What an inspiring story!

https://www.whatisthatbookabout.com/

July 2nd @ One Writer’s Journey

Visit Sue’s blog where she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know.

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

July 6th @ McFly’s Book Bliss

Join Marisa as she reviews Only My Horses Know.

http://mcflysbookbliss.com/

July 9th @ Strength 4 Spouses

Join Wendi at her blog Strength 4 Spouses where she shares her review of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know.

https://strength4spouses.blog/blog/

July 10th @ Shoe’s Seeds and Stories

Visit Linda’s blog again where she shares a guest post about finding a good critique group.

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com

July 11th @ Strength 4 Spouses

Join Wendi again at her blog where she shares a guest post about the importance of communicating in families.

https://strength4spouses.blog/blog/

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

WOW Blog Tour: “Zinger In The Woods”

The synopsis:

“Olive is searching for her missing dog Ginger, but the dog has fallen into a hole and is trapped. Along comes Zen, a homeless dog who helps free Ginger. Together, they make their way back to Olive.”

There are several things I like about this book. I like the weaving-in of suggestions to improve your health naturally, such as through nature therapy, consuming superfoods, and using natural remedies. I like that Olive is a science geek. I also like the themes including teamwork and trust. In fact, my favourite line in the whole book is “To Open Your Heart You Must Trust.”

So how does the book end? Well, you’ll have to buy the book to find out. And if you do, you’ll be helping the authors buy books for children living in low income neighbourhoods, as they use 10% of proceeds to do that.

For a sample of what’s in the book, click here to access the book trailer.

Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Be sure to check out some of the other blog stops.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

– Blog Tour Dates

May 10th @ The Muffin 

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Join us on the WOW blog today and celebrate the launch of M.T. Becker’s book Zinger in The Woods. You can read an interview with the authors and enter to win a copy of the book too. 

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

May 11th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog

Visit Jill’s blog today to read a guest post on Having Writers Block by the authors of Zinger in The Woods, M. T. Becker.

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

May 12th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa today as she interviews M. T. Becker, authors of Zinger in The Woods.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

May 13th @ Editor-911

Visit Margo’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods by authors M.T. Becker.

https://www.editor-911.com/blog

May 17th @ AJ Kormon

Visit AJ Kormon’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods and a guest post about Education by authors M. T. Becker.

https://www.ajkormon.com/blog

May 19th @ The Faerie Review

Visit Lily’s blog today to see her spotlight and review of Zinger in The Woods by M. T. Becker.

https://www.thefaeriereview.com/

May 20th @ Literary Quicksand

Visit Jolissa’s blog today to see her giveaway and review of Zinger in The Woods by M. T. Becker.

http://www.teatimeandbooks76.blogspot.com/

May 26th @ Beverley A Baird

Visit Beverley’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods by authors M. T. Becker.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

May 28th @ It’s Alanna Jean

Visit Alanna’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods and a guest post on Relationships by authors M. T. Becker.

http://itsalannajean.webnode.com/

June 1st @ World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog today for her giveaway and review of Zinger in The Woods and a guest post on Being Enough by authors M. T. Becker.

https://worldofmyimagination.com/

June 2nd @ Beverley A Baird

Visit Beverley’s blog today to see a guest post on Social Issues by authors M. T. Becker.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

June 4th @ Author Anthony Avina

Visit Anthony’s blog today to see his review of Zinger in The Woods and interview with authors M. T. Becker.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com/

June 5th The Good Book Nook

Visit Polly’s Instagram page today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods by M. T. Becker.

https://instagram.com/_thegoodbooknook

June 6th @ Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

Visit Linda’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods by M. T. Becker.

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

June 7th @ Leslie’s Voice

Visit Leslie’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods by M. T. Becker.

http://lesliesvoice.com/

June 8th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf

Visit Veronica’s blog today to read her review of M. T. Becker’s book Zinger in The Woods.

https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogspot.com/

June 9th @ Carole Writes

Visit Carole’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods by authors M. T. Becker.

http://www.carolemertz.com/

June 10th @ Reading Girl Reviews

Visit Gina’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods by authors M. T. Becker.

http://www.readinggirlreviews.com/

June 11th @ Chapters Through Life

Visit Danielle’s blog today to see her spotlight and review of the book Zinger in The Woods by M. T. Becker.

http://chaptersthroughlife.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1

June 12th @ Lisa’s Reading

Visit Lisa’s blog today to see her spotlight and giveaway of Zinger in The Woods and a guest post on Growing Food by authors M. T. Becker.

June 13th @ Teatime and Books

Visit Janet’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods and a guest post on Education by authors M. T. Becker.

http://www.teatimeandbooks76.blogspot.com/ 

About the Authors

Zinger In The Woods was retold by, husband and wife authors, Mark and Tiesha Becker. The former elementary school teachers decided to write a book after fostering three malnourished puppies. Zinger In the Woods reflects the lessons they learned from being parents, doggie parents, and teachers for over thirty years.

You can discover more about M.T. Becker on their website: www.live-grow-sustain.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56928518-zinger-in-the-woods

https://mtbecker.podbean.com/ and all the typical  podcasting sites

Twitter: https://twitter.com/zinger_el

Instagram:@zenandginger

Instagram:@m.t.becker

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zinger.woods

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0851KXJVP/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=zinger+in+the+woods&qid=1582734281&sr=8-1

iTunes https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/m-t-becker-podcast/id1449185558

Audible https://www.audible.com/pd/Zinger-In-The-Woods-Podcast/B08K6MBX41?ipRedirectOverride=true&overrideBaseCountry=true&pf_rd_p=2756bc30-e1e4-4174-bb22-bce00b971761&pf_rd_r=XSGWHAABZBSD9TZT0QG1

Six Degrees of Separation: From “Beezus and Ramona” to “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”

I missed last month’s Six Degrees, because I was so busy. This time I’m even busier, but somehow in the midst of all the craziness I sat down and cobbled together a list. I found it so soothing—like making a puzzle to take your mind off things. I persevered despite having to finish up my final assignment yesterday for my first horticultural therapy course—almost 50 pages—and having to do my pre course assignments for my next course this afternoon. 

This month we are starting with “Beezus and Ramona” by Beverly Clearly. 

From Goodreads:

“Nine-year-old Beezus Quimby has her hands full with her little sister, Ramona. Sure, other people have little sisters that bother them sometimes, but is there anyone in the world like Ramona? Whether she’s taking one bite out of every apple in a box or secretly inviting 15 other 4-year-olds to the house for a party, Ramona is always making trouble–and getting all the attention. Every big sister can relate to the trials and tribulations Beezus must endure. Old enough to be expected to take responsibility for her little sister, yet young enough to be mortified by every embarrassing plight the precocious preschooler gets them into, Beezus is constantly struggling with her mixed-up feelings about the exasperating Ramona.”

I almost reread the book, as it’s been so long since I read “Beezus and Ramona”, but instead I decided to go in a different direction.

“A Girl from Yamhill” by Beverly Clearly

Instead I started to read this book, the first of Clearly’s two memoirs. I can see where some of her Ramona stories come from. I didn’t know that you can even trip chickens, but that was one of Clearly’s adventures as a young girl. I was also surprised to read that she struggled in school. 

“My Own Two Feet” by Beverly Clearly

After I am finished reading the first memoir, I plan on reading this book, the second of Clearly’s two memoirs, which deals with her life from her college years to publication of her first book, which was “Henry Huggins”.

“Before They Were Authors: Famous Writers as Kids” by Elizabeth Haidle

This graphic novel tells the stories of authors such as Maya Angelou, Gene Luen Yang, and C.S. Lewis when they were kids. It’s an interesting read for both kids and adults.

“A Grief Observed” by C.S. Lewis

Speaking of C.S. Lewis, this is the book that he wrote after his wife died. It’s one that comforted me after my mother’s death.

“The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis

This though is my favourite of all of Lewis’ books, and it is the book that started my love affair with reading. I still remember sitting in my grade 3 classroom on the carpet in the back corner, enthralled as my favourite teacher read us the book in chunks. It rivals my other childhood favourite “Anne of Green Gables”, which I have put on more than one previous Six Degrees list, for number of times I’ve read a book.

“The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” by C.S. Lewis

If I were to be asked my top three in the Narnia series, I would have to say that the first and last books round out my list. So why then this choice? Well this is another case of a character annoying the other characters in the book—cousin Eustace Scrubb who plagues Lucy and Edmund. Also Reepicheep, one of my favourite minor characters, plays a bigger role in this book. I even like saying the name!

So there you have it, my journey through this month’s books ending on a voyage. I hope that you have enjoyed it, and I hope that you will read some of the other posts of this fun challenge.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

2021 Bookish Resolutions February Wrap-up

Is it the end of February? Already? Where does the time go?

I traditionally struggle with February, but this year the month felt somehow easier to bear, although it was not without its challenges including a couple of tumbles on the ice resulting in some swelling…Ouch! That’s not like me at all. I usually am steady on my feet on ice…Anyway, perhaps it was a signal to slow down and pay attention more, which I have been trying to do, but I guess I needed to be reminded. A painful reminder indeed. Why couldn’t a sticky note with this message have come fluttering down, landing gently on my forehead instead? Hmmm, this might be the plot of a new story. Messages from the sky!

Anyway, without further adieu, here’s my monthly wrap up.

-Read 24 books for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

I finished one book for this challenge—a book written by my uncle called “Africa Revisited”—so that puts me a bit behind, but I am reading a few other books from my TBR list. I am sure that I will catch up soon. Click here to read about the book.

-Read 12 nature related books to enhance my horticultural therapy study.

I have the book for this month’s CHTA book club, which I have skimmed but not finished. Some more catch up to do.

-Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.

Success! I read one memoir this month.

“this is not the end of me” by Dakshana Bascaramurty 

Bascaramurty documented friend Layton Reid’s dying and then eventual death of cancer. It’s refreshing to see more chapters of how his family is doing after his death.

Favourite quotes:

“would you like to learn the secret to taking on life’s most brutal obstacles?

here it is.

there is no secret. just keep moving, dummy. that’s it.”

and

“for better or worse there are days that just suck the good out of you. your spirit, your strength and your hope. and then there are days when the universe seems to rally around your cause when all prospects seem lost at that particular moment.”

-Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

Done!

-Read 3 creative nonfiction essays a week. 

Completed! Here are my favourites:

“After Amanda Gorman’s performance, I’m reminded that poetry has the power to ease a frantic mind” by Millie Morton

Favourite quote:

“Memorized lines of poetry can be retrieved anywhere and anytime, without a charged battery, even in the middle of a dark, sleepless night.”

“I Don’t Buy The Idea That Women Need To Enforce ‘Positive Rudeness’ To Succeed” by Janice Quirt

Favourite quote:

“The world needs compassionate people to lead, work, parent and contribute. I want to teach my kids that they don’t need to sell themselves short in life, but they have to be decent people. Being aggressive or yelling at people may sometimes provide short-term results, but such strategies do little to build long-term trust and loyalty. That’s as true in the corporate world as it was in kindergarten.

I desire to be heard, and I want my kids to be heard, but not at the expense of resorting to cruel tactics. I’m not suggesting that women bend to the whims of assertive men by placating with false niceties, because that won’t resolve anything. But I do think a cultural shift needs to occur, and I’m hoping a more kindness-forward approach, and not flexing to take up space, could benefit everyone involved.”

“Caught in my mental darkness, I don’t know if I can tough it out” by Scott Lear

Favourite quote:

“I also wonder if I have the courage to continue to expose myself in such a naked way. Is courage even the right word, or is it self-serving selfishness? I’m not thinking of the reader I’ve never met, but about my family, friends and colleagues. How will they feel when they read this? Will they feel guilty or mad I haven’t shared my feelings with them? Will they think I’m weak? I don’t want them to feel any of this.

There’s a lot of mental-health stories written after the fact. When someone’s standing at the top, looking down at the abyss they crawled out of. I find this helpful and inspiring. There’s far less written about being in that abyss. What it’s like to be in darkness. To be surrounded by people, yet feel alone. Perhaps it’s because it’s so painful bringing that emotion to the front. It’s easier to keep it inside and let it simmer. Or maybe I just haven’t bothered to look.”

“The Colors of My Life” by Jacqueline V. Carter

Carter writes about her experiences with colourism, which is not the same as racism but a form of prejudice based on skin colour.

“We Need To Calm The F&%$ Down About Parenting Teens” by Jeni Marinucci

Favourite quote:

“It’s about balance. If I freak out and make a huge deal out of a teen sleeping in until 1 p.m. on a Saturday, or spend all our driving time harping about that friend I don’t like or every meal becomes an inquisition over vegetable consumption, I’m raising the stakes AGAINST myself.”

-Read 5 picture books per month

Completed! 

My favourite:

“The Boy and the Gorilla” by Jackie Azua Kramer; illustrated by Cindy Derby

After his mother dies, a boy talks through his grief with an imaginary gorilla, which helps him connect to his father.

-Submit one story to a contest per season.

I’m on fire in this category! I submitted to two contests. Although I didn’t win or place in either one, I now have a couple of stories I can play with.

Valentiny 2021

Click here for the results.

Fanexpo Flash Fiction Competition

Click here to read the winning stories.

-Attend one writing webinar per month.

I attended three, making up for the lack of webinars I attended last month.

“A Conversation with Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer” hosted by UBC

So many fantastic takeaways from this webinar with the author of “Braiding Sweetgrass”, but my favourite is the response to what an educated person is:

“An educated person knows what their gifts are and how to put them into the world.”

“The Power of Hope: Using Psychological Theory to Help Our Hearts…and Our Writing” (WriteonCon)

diy MFA: My #1 Go-To Writing Technique

-Work on one lesson of a writing course per month.

I did not do that, although last month I did several.

-Attend a writing group session per week.

Done!

Blog at least twice a month.

Done!

-Weekly treasure:

The tree I sat on while I watched my husband and daughter tobogganing

Challenges:

NF Fest

I read all the posts, but I did not complete enough challenges to qualify for prizes. It’s not the point anyway. The posts are excellent, and I learned a lot.

100 days

100 days to work on a project of your choosing

I have been reading two pages a day of my German novel, and I am surprised and pleased at how much easier tackling a novel that you find intimidating is that way.

HaikuForTwo

I have done one haiku for this challenge.

New challenge:

30 Words

This is a challenge that has been revived. I’ve not posted my first one yet, but stay tuned…coming soon.

I also realize that if my guiding word for this year is Nurture, I need to set some goals to do that. You would think that would be an easy thing to do, but I don’t even notice I’m not doing it. Thus the message from the ice…

I hope that you have had a good February. Now we turn to March and thoughts of spring. Already I can hear the birds singing in the morning again. Bliss.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler

Six Degrees-From “Redhead” to “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse”

It’s time for this month’s Six Degrees Challenge post.

This time we start with “Redhead by the Side of the Road” by Anne Tyler

I actually took this book out and wanted to read it, but several things came up including a very painful back injury and a week’s concentration on writing a historical fiction story for the NYC Midnight Fiction Contest. So despite my best intentions, I did not read it.

Here’s the book’s summary from Goodreads:

“Micah Mortimer is a creature of habit. A self-employed tech expert, superintendent of his Baltimore apartment building seems content leading a steady, circumscribed life. But one day his routines are blown apart when his woman friend tells him she’s facing eviction, and a teenager shows up at Micah’s door claiming to be his son. 

These surprises, and the ways they throw Micah’s meticulously organized life off-kilter, risk changing him forever.”

I decided to take a different route—one I have seen other people do. See if you can figure it out.

“The Happiness of Pursuit” by Chris Guillebeau

Have you ever considered undertaking a quest? Well if so, this book will help you all the way from planning to inspiration to letdown.

I’m going to repost one of my favourite quotes, because I find it so meaningful:

“In quests of old, the hero had to travel across distant lands in search of reclaiming a grail or key. These days, we often have to recover something more intangible but no less important. Many of us undertake an adventure to rediscover our sense of self.”

“Wonderstruck” by Brian Selznick

I loved Selznick’s “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”. “Wonderstruck” is presented in a similar format, both in words and pictures. One story is set in pictures and the other in words, and at the end of the book the stories converge. It’s a bit heavy on explanation at the end but still very enjoyable. A bonus for me was revisiting the diorama in New York City, which I was fortunate to see when I was there in 2002.

“In-Between Days” by Teva Harrison

At age 37, after being diagnosed with incurable metastatic breast cancer, Harrison turned to drawing out her memories and nightmares. This memoir is the result: comic strips interwoven with narrative.

My mom died of breast cancer at age 50. I was far too young to understand what was really happening to her, so I often turn to memoirs to help me figure out what she was going through. 

The book isn’t a downer. Harrison often turns to humour to get through her experiences.

“Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder” by Julia Zarankin

Love, love, love this memoir! Recently I have also become enamoured with birds—although I do  not yet consider myself a birdwatcher—and this book spoke to me in so many ways. Click here to see a book trailer.

I also blogged about it in last week’s blog post.

“Don’t Overthink it” by Anne Bogel

Yes, I am an over thinker. Maybe you are one too? If so, consider reading this practical book with exercises that you can apply to your own life.

“The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse” by Charlie Mackesy

The book is sparse on words, but the words all carry such heavy weight. It’s one of the most uplifting books I have read in a long time, and I plan on giving it as gifts to people.

One of my favourite quotes:

“When the big things feel out of control

…focus on what you love right under your nose.”

This is something well worth remembering during these pandemic times.

So did you figure it out? I highlighted the letters to spell out:

A

T

Y

L

E

R

A(nne)Tyler is the author of the book I started this month’s chain with. I used her name to spotlight some of my favourite books that I have read recently.

Next month we are starting with a book I am really looking forward to reading (although it looks like I won’t be able to until July when it is released in North America), a part memoir part essay collection called Phosphoresence by Julia Bard. I hope you join me again.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

January 2021 Bookish Resolutions Wrap-up

It’s been a great start to my year.

 -Read 24 books for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

This month I read “The Happiness of Pursuit” by Chris Guillebeau and “The Kindness Diaries” by Leon Logothetis. Click here to read my summaries of the books.

-Read 12 nature related books to enhance my horticultural therapy study.

I only read 1/3 of my book club selection for my CHTA book club meeting, so I’ll have to do some catching up. I did, however, read one other related book this month.

“Vitamin N: 500 Ways to Enrich the Health & Happiness of Your Family & Community” by Richard Louv

-A huge selection of nature based activities for kids and/or adults and individuals and /or organizations to engage in

Favourite quote:

“The point isn’t that technology is bad for kids or the rest of us, but that daily, monthly, yearlong electronic immersion, without a force to balance it, can drain our ability to pay attention, to think clearly, to be productive and creative.”

-Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.

I read one memoir.

“Field Notes From An Unintentional Birder” by Julia Zarankin

From the jacket cover: The book “…tells the story of finding meaning in mid-life through birds. The book follows the peregrinations of a narrator who learns more from birds than she ever anticipated, as she begins to realize that she herself is a migratory species…”

Favourite quote:

“What I love about birding isn’t so much the birds I see but the circumstances within which I see them. That seeing the birds allows me to reflect on my own life, to forgive myself for things I’ve done, or to understand how they might not have happened otherwise.”

I particularly liked the chapter called “Going Solo”, in which she observes “Birding was helping me develop affection for Toronto, the place I’d always wanted to flee, and that might have been the biggest surprise of all…The most unexpected fringe benefit of birding has been falling in love with my own city.” I can relate. Since I’ve started to learn horticultural therapy and really pay attention to my surroundings during my walks, the urge to flee has been lessened.

-Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

Completed!

-Read 3 creative nonfiction essays a week. 

Completed! Here are my favourites:

“The Serviceberry: an Economy of Abundance” by Robin Wall Kimmerer

One of my favourite authors writes about different types of economies. It’s a longer read, but it’s worth it.

Favourite quote:

“I want to be part of a system in which wealth means having enough to share, and where the gratification of meeting your family needs is not poisoned by destroying that possibility for someone else. I want to live in a society where the currency of exchange is gratitude and the infinitely renewable resource of kindness, which multiplies every time it is shared rather than depreciating with use.”

“After my miscarriage, ‘hope’ isn’t what I needed to move forward” by Sarah Faye Bauer

The author writes about a different way of viewing hope, and it really made me think. 

Favourite quote:

“Chodron describes hope as the opposite of mindfulness. Hope “robs us of the present moment,” whereas mindfulness means, “being one with our experience, not dissociating, being right there when our hand touches the doorknob or the telephone rings or feelings of all kinds arise.”

Hope assumes a future time and place of stability. Chodron believes nothing is stable, ever. We are groundless. All we have is right now, just this very moment. This golden, terrible, elevating, horrifying, gigantic moment. And then, if we’re very lucky, another moment more.”

-Read 5 picture books a month.

Completed! Here are my favourites:

“Pirate Queen: A Story of Zheng Yi Sao” by Helaine Becker; illustrated by Liz Wong

Did you know that the most powerful pirate of all was actually a Chinese woman in the 18th century? Read about her in this book.

“Harlem Grown” by Tony Hillery; illustrated by Jessie Hartland

Written by the founder, this picture book is the story of how an urban farm transformed the neighbourhood kids and their families.

“The Great Realization” by Tomas Roberts; illustrated by Nomoco

The poem about 2020 that went viral is recreated in picture book form. Click here to view a reading.

Bonus book:

“Music for Tigers” by Michelle Kadarusman

Set in Tasmania, this chapter book explores the rumours that the Tasmanian Tiger—the last known captive one died in 1936—still exists. The main characters are neurodiverse.

-Submit one story to a contest per season.

This was a biggie for me. I entered the NYC Midnight Short Story Contest. I had 8 days to complete a maximum 2500 word story.

Luckily I came up with an idea right away with the genre of historical fiction, subject of a long journey, and character of surveyor.

This is the most challenging contest I have ever entered, but I am glad that I completed it.

-Attend one writing webinar per month.

I signed up for Jael Richardson’s launch of “Gutter Child”, but unfortunately missed it, so I will watch the recording when I can. That means watching two writing webinars in February.

-Work on one lesson of a writing course per month.

I did several lessons of “Write, Heal, Transform: a Magical Memoir Writing Course” from DailyOm. I have now completed the course. Yay me!

-Attend a writing group session per week.

I have done two a week.

-Blog at least twice a month.

This is my third blog post this month.

-Weekly treasure:

Looking up, up, up while laying down on our blanket during our winter picnic in Guelph.

Other Challenges:

Storystorm

Completed with 50 ideas!

New:

100 days

100 days to work on a project of your choosing starting today.

I chose to read 2 pages every day of the German novel I started 2 years ago, because, hey, it’ll motivate me to finish the novel ,and also I’ll spend some time on improving my German every day.

HaikuForTwo

I love this idea of taking two words from the current book that you are reading and creating a haiku poem from it. You can read more about it in this Storystorm post.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler