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A stack of 3 closed books (left); an open notebook with a pen on top (right). Title: 12 Novels Thata Changed How I Read Fiction

#2 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce & #3 The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Related Post: This week I offer two selections because there’s not much I can say about #3 without giving away the whole point. #2 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce © 1916 Date read: ca. 1966 or 1967 While I now credit Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl with opening […]

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A stack of 3 closed books (left); an open notebook with a pen on top (right). Title: 12 Novels Thata Changed How I Read Fiction

12 Novels That Changed How I Read Fiction

Introduction Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, which was the starting point for this month’s 6 Degrees of Separation post, was My Most Surprising Read of 2022. I can’t remember the last time a novel made me cry, but this one did. Thinking about why Zevin’s book hit me so powerfully made me consciously

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Discussion

What Notes in the Margin Will Be Up to This Year

Instead of laying out an elaborate reading and blogging plan for 2024, I’m going to tell you what I’ll be focusing on.  It seems that, at the end of every year, I look back on whatever reading and writing goals I had set at the beginning of the year and document, in excruciating detail, how

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Interior of a spaceship with a metallic robot looking at a hologram of a human. Text: National Science Fiction Day

It’s National Science Fiction Day!

(Image by Enrique from Pixabay) Just as residents of San Francisco warn “Don’t call it Frisco,” I have it on good authority that true science fiction fans insist “Don’t call it sci-fi.” The first science fiction I remember being enthralled by was the original Star Trek TV show (1966-1969). Later, with the advent of cable television, I discovered

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A stack of 3 closed books (left); an open notebook with a pen on top (right). Title: The Best Books I Read in 2023

The Best Books I Read in 2023

I was very picky about the books I chose to read this year. As a result, I read a lot of good books—so many that putting together this list was an agonizing process. In past years, I’ve kept my best books list to a total of 15, usually a top ten list plus five honorable

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The Basket Boats of Vietnam

During the French colonial period in Vietnam, authorities exacted a tax on boats. So the people of the fishing villages got creative: “These aren’t boats. They’re baskets.” We saw these boats all over the beaches around Da Nang. Sometimes they were upright, as here, but often they were inverted to provide a waterproof covering for

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A small ocean cruise ship on the water, with green hills and a snow-covered mountain peak in the background.

We’re Off to Sail the Seas Again!

We went traveling between June 8th and July 9th. And now we’re about to leave home again. Normally we wouldn’t be taking major trips this close together, but the current exploration is the last of our postponed then rescheduled trips from the COVID-19 times. This time we’ll be gone for three months on an itinerary

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Discussion

What Do You Remember About Your Childhood Reading?

Or, The Power of Enchantment How much do you remember about reading in early childhood? I ask because I’m always bemused when I see other peoples’ statements about learning to read at age 3 or 4 and remembering the very moment they realized they could make sense of the squiggles on the page. I ask

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A small ocean cruise ship on the water, with green hills and a snow-covered mountain peak in the background.

Setting Off to Sail the Seas!

After having two cruises canceled during the time of COVID-19, my husband and I are finally sailing off to enjoy retirement for a month. I don’t expect to be posting much during that time because internet access is severely limited while at sea. I do expect to read a lot around our bouts of sightseeing,

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