Category Archives: Activities

Books by Publication Year

I was listening to a What Should I Read Next episode where the person being interviewed had a goal to read a book published in every year of the past 100 years. I thought it was an interesting concept. I’ve been writing book reviews for the past ten years. One of the things I record is the publication year. I started to wonder if I’ve managed to read a book published every year in the past 100 years or not. So, I went through my book reviews and recorded the year every book was published.

Below, you can see the results. I have not read a book from every year in the past 100 years. I’m going to have to make an effort to read books from the years I’m missing. I just need to remember that the Pulitzer Prizes are given for a book published the previous year.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities


This past weekend was the Pink Invitational gymnastics meet in Philadelphia, so we were off on a road trip. Miss Adventure did quite well for herself, and her Platinum team got third place. The coaches were quite pleased considering the difficult competition at such a large meet.

While we were there, Mr. Curiosity and I thought we’d take advantage of Philadelphia being an old city (at least for America) and look at some architecture. We took a little walking tour of some of the old churches. He’d recently finished reading Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology so we were excited to see one of the churches was made out of brownstone. Here’s some highlights of our walking tour:

The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul – made from brownstone!

Tomorrow I’m leaving for a study abroad class and I probably won’t have much time to update the blog. I’ll be too busy snorkeling on coral reefs and assisting students in identifying everything they’re seeing. See you after – I’ll be sure to post pictures again.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities

Reading Challenges for 2019

It’s a new year so a new chance to direct my reading challenges. I feel stifled if I have too many categories to fill, so I’m not going to do anything fancy. If you like direction in your reading, I’ll link to a couple of specific reading challenges out there you can join at the end of the post.

I’ve stopped trying to read a specific number of books, although I set my Goodreads goal for 125 again. I’m going to count novellas and novels this year, but not graphic novels. Goodreads counts everything, so my total tends to be higher there. I will keep track of all my new books with a 2019 books tag.

The only categorical reading challenge that has stuck with me is my Reading the Alphabet Challenge. Once again, Mr. Curiosity will participate with me. We can’t get Miss Adventure to join us. Maybe next year. We are adding one new category this year – a title beginning with a number, so I’ll have 49 books to read to complete this challenge (X, Y, and Z are combined in a single category).

I feel like I’ve caught up on my series, so I’m not going to do that challenge again. Instead, I want to read some Pulitzer Prize winners. I want to read at least 10 books that have won a major literary award (I’ll be focusing on the Pulitzer Prize winners, but the Man Booker or something similar would also count) for an Award Winning Challenge. It’s something I did back in 2013 and 2015 and I’m ready to do it again.

Finally, instead of a reread or series to focus on, I want to focus on reading books set in multiple locations. I’m not going to set a specific goal, but I will be keeping track of what countries and U.S. states the books I read are set in. I’ve got some maps to color in and hope to make it quite colorful by the end of the year. I’ll keep track of it in a Countries visited list.

For some categories to guide your reading check these out:

Gathering Books is reading women this year and has quarterly reading themes

Modern Mrs. Darcy has ten categories for a book a month (one category is three books by the same author)

Book Riot provides 24 categories that are designed to expand your worldview by reading and push you out of your comfort zone

Hopefully, you can find something to read between all of these choices!

1 Comment

Filed under Activities

2018: Year in Review

Once again, the year has ended before I’ve gotten all my book reviews posted. But, I can still use this time to reflect on how I did with my reading challenges.

Let’s start with my Goodread stats. I logged 129 books this year for 41,245 pages. That’s about 1,000 more pages than the past few years. It must have been those three 1,000+ page novels I read this year. My shortest book I logged was Four Quartets, a book of poetry I read to the kids, and my longest was A Suitable Boy, a book I read because it was on The Big Read list. If you drop the graphic novels, I counted 100 novels and novellas read this year which isn’t too shabby.

Reading the Alphabet Challenge: I was able to complete this challenge, which made me happy.

The Big Read Challenge: I fell down on this challenge, only reading seven out of my goal of 12. I forgot about it when I was choosing books to read, trying to read down my personal TBR list instead.

Finish the Series Challenge: I’m happy with how I progressed on finishing up some series. I finished the Outlander series (major accomplishment there), the Dresden Files series, and the Belgariad series. I also stayed on top of several other ongoing series. There’s two other series I’d like to finish next year (one book in the Lady Trent series and the Remembrance of Earth’s Past series) but otherwise I think I can drop this challenge for the coming year.

Once again, I was pleased with my reading challenges. They gave me just enough direction in my reading to try a couple of new books, but not so much that I felt stifled in my choices. I’m ready to try a few different challenges in the coming year, but that’s a different post.

1 Comment

Filed under Activities

Halloween 2018

It’s Halloween, which means no one wants to read about books. Everyone wants to look at Halloween costumes and consume too much candy. Both of my kids dressed up as characters you can trace back to a book, so I’m counting it as a blog post tonight.

Mr. Curiosity went as Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files series. No one recognized him, of course.

He’s got a staff, a blasting rod, and a pentacle necklace. I made him put a glow stick around his staff so he wasn’t completely black for trick-or-treating.

Miss Adventure was more easily recognizable as an oompa-loompa from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Even with the walking boot accessory and having to wear a raincoat for the weather (a bit drizzly), she was recognized several times. They got a ton of candy, of course, half of which is going to the Candy Fairy. Miss Adventure will get some new colored pencils without broken lead inside (at least until Miss Adventure drops them on the floor multiple times) and Mr. Curiosity is getting the next book in the Dresden Files series (how appropriate).

Hope your Halloween was enjoyable!

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities

Traveling again!

We sent the kids off to camp for the week, which means it’s time for the adults to go on a bike trip. I’ll have more book reviews for you when we get back. Until then, wish us nice weather! (This is us from our recent family bike trip, but things will look very similar this week.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities

Blog hiatus

Just to let everyone know, I’m taking the week off. Everything has come together to make for a crazy week. It’s the last week of classes, so I have to finish all the grading. Plus, rehearsals for Mr. Curiosity have moved into the week. Plus, I have two rehearsals for Choral Club, and since I’m one of the accompanist, I can’t skip. Plus, I had a hockey game on Monday. Plus, I had book club (we read The Paris Wife, which I didn’t love, so I really wanted to go and talk about it with the group). Plus, it’s Miss Adventure’s birthday tomorrow, which we won’t even celebrate completely until Saturday because life is so busy. Plus, hubby is just as crazy busy so he can’t take up the slack. So, trying to get blog posts up is just too much this week.

If you some book recommendations, check out PBS’s The Great American Read list of 100 books or series that got the highest popular votes in a recent survey. It includes everything from recent bestsellers (like Gone Girl – not one of my favorites) to classics like Gulliver’s Travels or Charlotte’s Web. I think I’ve read about 80 of the books, although a good 10 of them were read back in high school. I might try to finish up the list at some point. There’s definitely a couple of good suggestions to check out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities

Reading Challenges for 2018

It’s a new year, so a chance to direct my reading over the next year. Things are going to look a lot like last year with just one change.

As always, I’ll be Reading the Alphabet. Mr. Curiosity put up the new chart in our hallway and was proud to get the first book on the list. I didn’t do a great job of finishing the alphabet last year. I did at least get a book for each letter, which took some effort at the end of the year. Perhaps I’ll have better luck this year.

I’m not going to set a specific book total goal for the year. I did set a goal of 125 books on Goodreads, but they count all the books and not just novels. I’m sure I’ll be up close to 100 as per usual by the end of the year, but I won’t be sad if it’s a little short. I like to read long books and don’t usually count books under 200 pages toward my novel total. I’ll still keep track of all the books I read this year as 2018 books.

I think I’ll spend another year on my Finish the Series Challenge. I made some good progress this year, but I still have several I want to finish, namely the Outlander series (I have one more to reread and then the series to finish) and the Dresden Files series.

I couldn’t think of any series to reread that wasn’t really long (and I’m trying to finish up the series, not start new ones), so I’m skipping the reread challenge this year. Instead, I’d like to work on reading some books of the BBC’s The Big Read list. I’m going to set myself a goal of one book off that list a month, so hopefully I’ll read 12 books for my The Big Read Challenge.

If you’re looking for something more in your reading challenge (like topics maybe?), check out the following options:

Modern Mrs. Darcy is focused on reading amazing books in 2018

BookRiot has a reading harder challenge with a variety of tasks/topics to choose from

The Island Reader has a diverse list of categories to choose from

PopSugar goes big, with 40 categories (and an extra 10 if you want to try for a book a week)

Hopefully at least one of these challenges will excite you and give you some motivation to read more this coming year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities

2017: Year in Review

I haven’t quite finished reviewing all the books from 2017, but I’d still like to look back and see how I did with my reading life this past year. Let’s start with my Goodreads totals. I read 98 novels, and 128 books total, when you factor in all the graphic novels and novellas. That stacked up to 39,744 pages, slightly less than last year but still respectable.

Rereading Challenge: I got four books reread in the Outlander series. I’ve previously read six of the eight currently published books in the series so I’ve still got some work to do. I think I’ll try to finish the series this year.

Finish the Series Challenge: I finished five series, and put a dent in several others that have been lingering for a while. I’ll count that as a success.

Reading the Alphabet Challenge: I missed four categories this year, which is probably the worst I’ve done in this challenge in a while. I did manage to get at least one book in each letter, but I’m disappointed I didn’t finish the alphabet this year.

Overall, I am happy with the reading challenges I set for myself and plan to repeat them in 2018. I’ve still got a lot of series that I’d like to finish, and I didn’t finish rereading the Outlander series yet, so I’m just keeping last year’s challenges for 2018.


Leave a comment

Filed under Activities

Christmas Break

I’m taking some time off to finish up my preparations for Christmas. See you after the 25th with reviews of the rest of the books I read in 2017. In the meantime, look around the site and see if you can find something good to read. I would start with my highly recommended books.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities