Category Archives: 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!


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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.

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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.


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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.

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Back home!!

We had a lovely vacation, except for one little incident that involved our car getting towed because we mistakenly parked illegally. Luckily the impound lot wasn’t too far away from the apartment we rented. I finished three books on the trip (and another this morning), so I got some good reading in. We also spent an hour reading at the Enoch Pratt Free Library and some time wandering the Barnes and Noble in the Power Plant in the inner harbor. Here’s a couple of pictures from the trip:

The trash bug in the Baltimore inner harbor

Swimming in the Chesapeake Bay

At the National Aquarium. Our favorite was the touch tank with moon jellies

I’ll be back to more book reviews tomorrow!

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Summer vacation

While the kids technically have two days left of school, we’re done with scripted schooling. Instead, we’re starting our summer travel tomorrow with a family first – we’re taking the kids on their first multi-day bike trip. We’re planning on a three-day trip around the Niagara Peninsula, which is about 100 miles long. We’ve been training for a month so the kids can handle the 30+ mile days, and we’re hoping the forecast for lots of wind is wrong. But, since I’ll be out on my bike, I won’t be posting book reviews. I will be posting pictures on the family Instagram account – you can follow our travels @rutters_on_the_road.

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Reading Challenges for 2017

It’s a new year, so it’s time to decide what reading challenges I want to set for myself. It’s not that I wouldn’t read without the challenges, but they help to focus my reading for the year. I plan on a mix of old and new challenges this year, as every year. I won’t be doing a 100 book challenge this year. I finally made 100 in 2016 (after a few years of getting oh-so-close), so I don’t need to push myself to make that number again. I will keep track of all the books I read, just because, but it won’t be a specific reading challenge.

Instead, I’m going to focus on trying to finish some book series this year. I very often read a book in a series, enjoy it, and then don’t get around to the next one for a year or more. So, this year, I’m going to try to finish up some book series I have started. I’ll call this the Finish the Series Challenge.

I enjoyed my rereading of the Uplift series this past year. I thought I could continue in this vein with a different series. This year I’m going to try to reread the Outlander series. It’s been made into a TV show and I loved the first season that I recently watched. It’s been so long since I’ve read the books that I don’t even have book reviews written for them. I may not finish the whole series this year, since there are eight of them and I’ll probably get tired of them if I read too many. But, I’ll try to do at least four this year. This is my ongoing Reread Challenge.

And finally, as always, I’ll try to read my way through the alphabet, both authors and titles. It’s the only category challenge I manage to continue the whole year. I’ll keep X, Y, and Z and a single category as well. I’m going to be boring and call it the Reading the Alphabet Challenge again.

If you like your reading challenges with more categories, here’s a couple other choices for you:

The Modern Mrs. Darcy is doing a choose-your-own-adventure challenge, with two different groups of 12 categories. There’s the “put the oomph back in your reading life” list, and the “stretch yourself in 2017” list, or you can do both if you’re a big reader!

POPSUGAR has a 40-category list to help expand and diversity your reading list, with everything from a book with a cat on the cover, to a book by multiple authors, to a book that been on your TBR list too long. If that’s not enough for you, there’s a 12-book advanced list to cover one book a week.

BookRiot has a Read Harder challenge consisting of 24 categories designed to push you outside your reading comfort zone.

If you are a teacher, you might want to check out the WeAreTeachers reading challenge.

The Retellings Reading Challenge encourages you to read retellings of old stories (myths, fables, people’s lives, origin stories, and the like). If you live in the UK and sign up for the challenge, you could even win a book!

And, if that’s not enough for you, try the Anythink Wright Farms Reading Challenge that provides a category for each month.

So, what are you going to read this year?

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