Category Archives: Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays: Favorite Bookstore

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Time to start the week off with Musing Mondays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

This week’s random question asks: Is there a bookshop you absolutely adore? Or, perhaps one you’ve always wanted to visit? What is the name of it, and where is it located?

I’m not sure if I adore it or not, but I always enjoy a trip to McKay’s Used Bookstore.  It started during my time in Knoxville and now that I live near Music City, I’m happy to see a branch has opened here.  One thing I like is that unlike some other used book stores I’ve visited, there isn’t a restriction on the trade credit. (I’ve seen some stores where you have to trade within genre.  I like to wander the aisles and shelves and not feel like I can only trade a mystery for a mystery!)  Like any used book store, I will visit trying not to have a specific title or titles in mind, but instead a list of things I hope I find.  If I look for a specific book, odds are it won’t be there!

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Musing Mondays: Childhood Favorites

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Time to start the week again with Musing Mondays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

This week’s random question asks: Do you have a favorite book from childhood? What is it?

This week’s random question ties in with the theme of Way Back Wednesdays.   Some of my favorite books from childhood include: Mr. Pine’s Purple House, Hamilton Duck, the Ramona novels by Beverly Cleary and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume.   I also recall checking out and reading (many, many times) collections of comic strips: everything from Garfield to Peanuts to Beetle Bailey to Dennis the Menace.

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Musing Mondays: Vacation Reading

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Starting the week off with Musing Mondays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

This week’s random question makes me think about summer reading: Where is the strangest place you’ve ever read a book? OR… Where is the strangest place you’ve ever found a crazy-good book, unexpectedly?

It’s time for summer reading!   For me, this usually means enjoying a book with a bottle of cool water after I’ve finished swimming laps.   I also will admit I’m strangely fascinated by the summer reading lists for various school systems that are usually available at my local library.  I’m always curious to see what books are still on the list from when I was in school and what books have been added to the list that I may want to try.

As for unusual places to read or find a read, I will have to say that I once found a great book at a paperback swap library at the beach.  I was staying out on the beach with my family for a few days and found the shelf there.  I traded out one paperback I’d finished for another novel.

Of course, part of it could be that I got to enjoy both books sitting in a chair on the sandy beach, enjoying the warm winter days in Hawaii as opposed to being back in the continental United States where it was significantly cooler.

And if we count audio books as reading, I suppose you could say that I read a lot of books while running, bicycling and swimming (at least until my waterproof iPods battery life crashed out!)

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Musing Mondays: Special Editions

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Time again to start the week with Musing Mondays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

This week’s random questions asks: What types of “special” books do you own? For example, do you have any really old books? Any collections based on your interests (eg. architecture, etc)?

I’ve got a small collection of special books that sit on my shelves.    I’ve got a couple of the leather bound, B&N editions of some favorite books — including To Kill A Mockingbird.   But I feel like these are more for show than for reading.  They look great sitting on the shelf!

I’ve also got a few signed favorite books from favorite authors.  I’ve met Garrison Keillor twice and he’s signed books for me each time.   The nice thing that Keillor does is he personalizes the autograph for you.  The times I’ve met him, he took a few moments to have a conversation with me and give me his attention.  It wasn’t just a quick signature and a thank you.

I’ve also got a few books that I really enjoyed or some special significance to me.  This includes a full run of the Target novels for the seventh (and my favorite) Doctor, some of the Star Trek novels I’ve enjoyed a great deal (including one or two with autographs by authors or the actors whose characters have a prominent role in the story) and some other books that were gifts from family and friends over the years that hold a special place in my memories.

I do have a few books that might be collectibles.  But for the most part, the special books I have all have an emotional connection for me.

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Musing Mondays: Kindred Spirit

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Time to start the week with Musing Mondays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

This week’s random question asks “Do you have a “kindred” reading buddy — someone who very closely shares your taste in books? If not, do you wish you did?”

Thanks to social media sites devoted to books and the world of book blogging, I’ve found a lot of friends whose recommendations I trust and even look forward to seeing.  However, I’m not sure there is one person who I’d consider my “kindred” reading buddy.   And that’s OK.   I love getting recommendations from friends — both of things to pick up and things to avoid.  But sometimes I find that when people recommend I not read something or have a particularly negative reaction to a book that I want to read it for myself to find out if I agree with where they’re coming from or if maybe I might enjoy the book myself.   Of course, this can sometimes lead to frustration with the book and myself for picking it up.

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Musing Mondays: Book Buying For A Friend

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Time to start the week off with Musing Mondays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

This week’s random questions ask: What would you do if you wanted to buy a book for someone, but didn’t know what they like to read? Would you ask them? Would you choose something you, yourself, like? How would you go about buying them something?

I’d either choose something that’s a standard favorite or a classic that I particularly enjoyed or I’d buy them a gift card.

And being a good friend, I wouldn’t purchase them any vampire romance novels!  (I’m looking at you Twilight!)

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Musing Mondays: Library

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Time to start off the week with Musing Mondays, hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

This week’s random question is: Do you use your local library? What do you like (or dislike) most about it?

I use my local library — a lot.  I’ve got a healthy list of items that I will put on reserve (influenced many times by recommendations from fellow book bloggers and other social media outlets as well as new entries from favorite authors) and then I also enjoy browsing the shelves to find something to read.  Until recently, I had to have a librarian pull my holds off the hold shelf for me, but my library has started a new self-serve holds system.  So far I have to say that while I like being able to come in and pick up my reserves myself, I kind of miss the few moments of interaction with the library staff.  Most of them were very polite and it was nice to have a bit of conversation with them as I checked out my holds.

The one negative is that when it comes to series, sometimes the library doesn’t always get the first installment or installments of the series.  They do their best but sometimes it doesn’t happen for a variety of reasons, most of which I understand.  But as a reader who likes to go through a series in order (for the most part), this can be discouraging and frustrating at times.

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Musing Mondays: I Want To Tell You About The Happy Hour Choir

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Time to kick-off this week with Monday Musings hosted by A Daily Rhythm.   Instead of answering the random question this week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to recommend an upcoming book.

The Happy Hour Choir by Sally Kilpatrick

happyhourNow, let me start this off by saying that I’m probably a bit biased when it comes to this book because it’s written by a friend of mine from college, who shared a couple of interesting classes with me — from short story writing to anthropology.   (I don’t think any of us will ever forget that anthropology class, if only because it was in the auditorium of our university’s museum during the spring and the heat was kept on despite the fact that it was wonderfully spring-like outside!  It didn’t always make things conducive to staying awake, much less learning about anthropology).

I’d lost track of Sally and her husband Ryan after they and I moved away from our college town but thanks to the wonders of Facebook and Twitter, we’ve been able to re-connect after all these years.  It was when we reconnected that I found out that Sally had a)written a book and b)was having it published.   And so, like many of her friends, I was eagerly waiting the novel to hit stores later this month (I almost felt like haunting book stores on the off chance they might put it out on shelves early).    But thanks to the good folks over at NetGalley, I was able to get a copy of the book and read it early.  That way I can let all of you know the books is coming and encourage you to pick up a copy.

I ask this for several reasons.   On a purely selfish level, Sally has written such an enjoyable book that I can only hope it’s a first installment in a series and I want to spend more time with her characters.   So, if getting some of you to buy a copy (dead tree, digital, carving it on a cave wall) means that we get more books with these characters, then I’m all for that. (I see that we’re getting a second installment later this year, but dang nabbit, I want more!)   On a less selfish level, I will admit I was moved Sally’s forward and talking about all the steps of encouragement she got from the important people in her life along the way.   I want this book to do well because I think it proves their faith in her was completely and totally on the money.   And finally, I ask this because I think if you pick it up, you’re going to enjoy it.

One of the highest praises I can give a book (or any form of artistic output for that matter) is that in our world of a myriad of choices and demands for my free time, it caught my attention and held it.   I read this book despite having a stack of other books that were piling up to read, a DVR loaded with movies I should watch before I pass away and new installments of some of my favorite TV shows and while in the midst of binging on season two of Orange is the New Black.  And yet, The Happy Hour Choir was a novel that held my attention and kept it focused there instead of all these other distractions for my free time.   It’s a story that is rich and highly authentic with characters that I loved and a story of redemption and forgiveness that had me getting a lump in my throat similar to the one I get every damn time I watch the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

If you’re still on the fence, let me give you the blurb for the book.

From author Sally Kilpatrick comes a hopeful tale of love and redemption in a quiet Southern town where a lost soul finds her way with the help of an unlikely circle of friends…

Life has dealt Beulah Land a tough hand to play, least of all being named after a hymn. A teenage pregnancy estranged her from her family, and a tragedy caused her to lose what little faith remained. The wayward daughter of a Baptist deacon, she spends her nights playing the piano at The Fountain, a honky-tonk located just across the road from County Line Methodist. But when she learns that a dear friend’s dying wish is for her to take over as the church’s piano player, she realizes it may be time to face the music…

Beulah butts heads with Luke Daniels, the new pastor at County Line, who is determined to cling to tradition even though he needs to attract more congregants to the aging church. But the choir also isn’t enthusiastic about Beulah’s contemporary take on the old songs and refuses to perform. Undaunted, Beulah assembles a ragtag group of patrons from The Fountain to form the Happy Hour Choir. And as the unexpected gig helps her let go of her painful past—and accept the love she didn’t think she deserved—she just may be able to prove to Luke that she can toe the line between sinner and saint…

So go and pre-order your copy now.  And then you can join me in the long wait until the next book hits the market later this year!

Congratulations Sally! I just wish I could be there to get a copy at your launch party later this month.   I will be there in spirit.

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Musing Mondays: Quotable

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Time to start the week off with Musing Monday hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s random questions ask: What is your favorite lesson learned, or quote, from a recent book you’ve read?

It’s not exactly a recent book, but it’s one that’s stuck with me.  It comes from Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and it goes like this:

“Hell is the absence of the people you long for.”

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Musing Mondays: Library

musingmondays51The start of a new week means it’s time for Musing Mondays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

This week’s random question asks: How often do you use your local library? Are you happy with their availability?

I’m a frequent user of my local library.   Not only to check out physical books but also to get e-books from their web site.

Overall, I’m pleased with my local library system.  The ability to reserve books and other items on-line is great.   My local library is opened six days a week and I generally get by at least once a week to browse the shelves or (most likely) pick up an item I have on reserve.

I’m a big fan of the library.

What about you?

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