Mango Book Tag!



Thank you to Zezee With Books for introducing me to this book tag created by Nandini at Novels and Nebulas.


Raw Mango: Your most anticipated release

My two favorite series update in the Fall

I’m listening to All The Devils Are Here right now when I can make time.

How to Raise an Elephant comes out in late November.


Banganapalli: Longest book on your TBR


The Last Million: Europe’s Displaced Persons From World War II to the Cold War by David Nasaw.


I’ll be honest–I didn’t go through the 1,000 plus books on my Goodreads TBR to find the longest! I just added this one and, by today’s standards, it incredibly long–over 650 pages.


Alphonso: A hyped book you love



Totapuri: A book with a green or yellow cover

Ok, I know! But I couldn’t decide! One with green, one with yellow, one with both!

Neelam: A rainy day book recommendation



Mango Pickle: A book that makes you feel nostalgic

Mango Pickle! Love it with rice, and beef stir-fried with only garlic! Delicious!




Mango Kulfi: A feel-good book recommendation



Consider yourself tagged if you love mangoes, want to eat a mango, Have never eaten a mango, don’t know what a mango is, hate mangoes, have a pet called “Mango,” are thinking about mangoes! (Nandini)




German Literature Month! November 2020

This year I’ve really enjoyed participating in various reading challenges! Irish Literature, Spanish Literature, literature of women writers in translation–you name it! So, having studied a tiny bit of German, why not do German Literature Month–I mean, it’s their 10th Anniversary! So, I’ll join in to help celebrate.

What I’ve Already Read Translated From German

Inkheart is wonderful–my daughter and I talked about it over a decade after listening to it together. The Swiss Family Robinson was so good–I’m glad I tossed back my brother’s Scholastic version from the 1960s and read the unabridged version. It was wonderful. I honestly cannot remember if I read ALL of All Quiet on the Western Front or just excepts. No matter, I’ve “read it” and won’t be picking it up for this challenge. Did anyone else watch the t.v. version with The Walton’s Richard Thomas (“John-Boy”) in the lead?


What I Might Read

These are the only books written in German and Translated into English that I am aware of owning right now. Given the reality of this year, both are a long shot at best.

A Couple I May Try


The Giraffe’s Neck by Judith Schalansky

Käsebier Takes Berlin by Gabriele Tergit

The Turncoat by Siegfired Lenz–there is a Read Along for this title, the week of November 22–28.


You can read all about the challenge and how it works at Lizzy’s Literary Life. Also go and visit Beauty is a Sleeping Cat--the other host of the challenge. Possibly the best blog title ever!














Spanish Lit Month Review: This Too Shall Pass by Milena Busquets


My Interest

I’ve enjoyed several reading challenges this year.I’m not very familiar with Spanish literature so when I saw the challenge I knew I’d do it. But, I also knew I was not up to diving into a classic right now. This Too Shall Pass sounded light enough and relatable enough for my present situation. It was a good pick.

The Story

Being forty was never on Bianca’s radar, but it finally hit. Then her beloved mom dies. Her life is in a bit of tailspin. With her two ex-husbands, her married lover, her kids, and a few friends to support her, Bianca heads off to her mother’s home to get away fro a while.

The story is told as a stream of consciousness. It is just the right amount of everything: relationships, conflicts, sex, exotic locale, you name it. I often point out “ick moments” in books–my term for explicit sex. There’s a lot of talk of sex in this one, but not a lot of action. Nonetheless, it belongs in this story. It was not forced in by some apparent p.c. mandate. It’s just who Bianca is–at least at this stage in her life.

“He may be a little younger than me, I realize for the first time with a blend of irrelevance and apprehension. I never consciously used my youth as a weapon of seduction, but neither did it occur to me before to before now that it would come to an end.”

Bianca’s self-absorption, her grand assumption that everyone is as free and lose about relationships is at the heart of it all. She collects, or “curates” in today’s term, a loose-knit family of friends, their boyfriends or lovers, her ex-husbands, her children, her current lover and assumes everyone feels life the same way she does. But her chosen circle is leaving her and she is only just starting to realize it. After a party night, one friend clues her in. One of her ex-husbands takes up with one of her friends but sweetly asks her permission. And, for the first time, she is possibly feeling too old for one of the men to whom she is attracted.

“I think there are certain things that we lose forever. In fact, I think we are more the sum of the things we’ve lost than of the things we’ve kept.”

That party night introduces a stoners’ philosophy discussion. Is love the only thing that makes people or things belong to us? Or do our observations of them also do that? And doesn’t that mean they are never lost to us? Bianca though stoned is certain that some things ARE lost to us. This is part of her trouble with losing her mother and facing the loss of her own youth. Both are just GONE.

“The opposite of death is life, is sex.”

Bianca isn’t just a party girl. She is lonely. She is now lost and lonely. She uses her sex life to try to drown out the loneliness, just as she used it to escape the coming blow of her mother’s death.  But now, with her mother gone, she must also face growing up. The principal grown up of her life is gone–no, has left her. While still reeling, she slams into an older, old friend who has never grown up–still parties with much younger people, and she can sense old age, but it is really just the onset of maturity.


My Thoughts

I was left feeling Bianca, sans audience would be fine when she returns to her beloved loft in Barcelona and her normal life with just her boys and maybe her mom’s old dog. The stage would be gone for her to play out more drama about herself.

This was a much better book than I thought it would be. I admit, I chose it for the challenge because it was short and sounded light enough for my current quarantine-induced attention span. I was pleasantly surprised. This is also a good choice for Women in Translation Month, going on now.

My Verdict


More great Spanish or Spanish-language literature in translation at Winstonsdad’s Blog.






Ten Books I Hope to Read in 2020 and Challenges in Which I Hope to Participate


2020 has me wanting, for once, to plan a little of my reading. There are two books to be revisited, a few classics I want to try, and some other interesting books I’ve stumbled across to be prioritized on my TBR this year. Because I constantly listen to audiobooks on my commute, I have become a consumer of the newest books. I would like to continue some of my backlist reading this year–whether or not I can get them on audio.


New Releases



The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson A new Erik Larson book–with Churchill?? Sign me up! Can’t wait till the end of February for this one to launch!



I’ve written about this one before, and the majority of it has been serialized in the Daily Mail, but I’m still very anxious to read it. Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner hits U.S. shelves in late March.



Anne De Courcy’s books are good–she’s one of the authors whose backlist I’m working on as well. Chanel’s Riviera will help with the interest in her I developed after reading the novel, Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel by C.W. Gortner, in 2018.


I just got this with Prime for my Kindle and am anxious to get started! In a Field of Blue: A Novel by Gemma Liviero, releases in February.


Reading Challenges and Similar

Japanese Literature Challenge


Thanks to my dear friend Silvia Cachia for altering me to this challenge, which is hosted by Dolce Bellezza.


January Thru March 2020


A very dear friend adores this book and I want so much to enjoy it, but the first time I tried it I failed. My life was filled with angsty, super-busy teenagers back then. My life is much calmer now, so I’m giving it a much more enthusiastic try! The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki.



This book was an impulse buy for Kindle and has languished unread for years. I’m pretty sure I’ll love it, yet I’ve not sat down and read it.  The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide



Historical fiction is a great love of mine. This challenge then was made for me! It is hosted by Passages to the Past. I could easily end up being a “Prehistoric Reader” with 50+ books done but will keep my options open and only try for “20th Century Reader” with 2 books. [You can view the list of participation levels by clicking on the link.]


I, Claudius checks off another reading list for the year–that of the excellent Ambleside Online homeschool curriculum. I’ve read from it annually since finding it way back in about 2004. I, Claudius by Robert Graves.

Persephone Books



If you have not “met” Persephone Books yet, then please click on the link and visit their site–you are in for a treat! They keep alive the works of women authors of the twentieth century. I’ve found some wonderful reads here. So, this year I am renewing my pledge to read at least one of their books. This year’s choice is Miss Pettigrew Lives For the Day by Winifred Watson. [Yes, there was a movie made of this, but I haven’t seen it.]


Other Books



I found Year of Wonder by Clemency Burton-Hill via the fabulous Simply Luxurious Life blog, which I’ve read avidly for years. One of my great joys in life, until I became a parent, was classical music. When someone who will not be named broke my last item for playing recorded music that had decent speakers (no names here, of course) I gave up. I miss it too much. So, while I’m learning about playing recorded music in the modern age via laptops and tiny speakers and whatnot, this book should be a good companion. Year of Wonder by Clemency Burton-Hill.


When I first started my current job, I used the long commute to catch up on many great books I missed as a child because they were out-of-style in the 1970s. My mother introduced me to many, but for whatever reason, I did not encounter the works of Lucy Maud Montgomery until 2008–2009 when I listened to all of the Anne books. A pair of friends keep insisting I will love the Blue Castle. Recently, a blog reader also said it was excellent. It has resided on my Kindle since the day I received my first Kindle, so hopefully, this will be its year. The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery.


Here is a link to my previous post on my Winter 2020 TBR List



Check out the rules at That Artsy Reader Girl and join in next week!


2019 Book Bingo Reading Challenge!


The Book Bingo Card challenge was created by bloggers:


I had to “Americanize” it because I’ve only read one Australian book this year. Sorry!

I was surprised to see that I had not read a classic this year.

2019 Results

NOTE: For those of you wondering, like one reader who commented, how I do this–how do I remember them all? I don’t. I track my reading in Goodreads.com.  That gives me a sortable list!

My Bingo Card Books

All of these books are reviewed on my blog–just search the title to find the review.



Book With a Red Cover



A Beloved Classic




Novel That Has 500 Pages or More






Novella With No More Than 150 Pages [shortest book I read]





A Prize-Winning Book




Book By An Author With the Same Initials as Mine



Nonfiction Book About An Event





Fictional Biography About a Woman From History






Memoir Biography About a Non-Famous Person





Book by an Australian  Any Woman Written Over 10 Years Ago



Themes of Science Fiction




Themes of Culture




Themes of Justice





Themes of Inequality





Themes of Fantasy





Book With a Place in the Title




Book Set in Australian Any Outback




Book Set on Any Coast





Book Set in Any Mountains





Book Set in an Exotic Location



Book Written by an Australian Man




Book Written by An Australian Woman






Book Written by an Author Under 35





Book Written by an Author Over 65





Book Written by an Author I’ve Never Read




























Do you like book challenges? Do you plan your reading? Or, do you do what I do and match up books to challenges at the end of the year? When I can’t decide what to read “next,” I often pull up an online challenge and see what the topics are. I’ve read some great books by doing this–it gets me out my comfort zone or out of a rut!


2019: A to Z Challenge



Image Source

Thanks to Orange County Readers blog for the A to Z  idea.

The Challenge

I did not set a goal of reading X number of books this year. I do not do challenges by planning my reading. I do them after I’ve read a bunch of books. This great challenge is to read books in a year that have titles starting with each letter of the alphabet. Good luck kwith “X.”





An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago by Alex Kotlowitz






Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson






Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata






Daisy Jones & the Six: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid






The Editor: A Novel by Steven Rowley






The Far Field by  Madhuri Vijay






Girlchild: A Novel by Tupelo Hassman






Hitler and the Habsburgs: The Führer’s Vendetta Against the Austrian Royals by James Longo








Journey Interrupted: A Family Without a Country in World War II by Hildegarde Mahoney






The Kennedy Debutante by Kerri Maher







The Lager Queen of Minnesota: A Novel by J. Ryan Stradal






Meet Me at the Museum by Ann Youngson






Next Year in Havana: A Novel by Chanel Cleeton






The Other Windsor Girl: A Novel of Princess Margaret, Royal Rebel by Georgie Blalock






The Poet X: A Novel by Elizabeth Acevedo  






Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood






Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston






A Single Thread: A Novel by Tracy Chevalier






The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa






The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren







Where the Crawdads Sing: A Novel by Delia Owens







How about you? Have you read a full alphabet of book titles this year? There’s still time to finish! I still need I, V, X, Y, and Z. I managed to do Q and U without even knowing of this challenge!

I checked–I have no X titles on my TBR and only one Z:


The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book by Peter Finn and Petra Couvée