Monday, November 16, 2015

Where Is Your Bookmark? (11/17/2015)

So far this week:

Listening To: Christmas music. I know, I know. It's too early still. One of the local stations switched to all holiday music this past week and will keep it up through Christmas Day. One thirty minute drive and my husband is already tired of it. It will take me longer, but I imagine I will be turning the station now and then to avoid burn out. I do love holiday music though--I just wish the station played more variety. They seem to play the same songs and same versions of those songs over and over again.

Watching: The Walking Dead. I am actually caught up, which makes one of my coworkers happy because she did not have to wait to talk about it like she always does.

I never watch the news on television anymore, but I did tune in on Friday to catch some of what was going on in Paris and elsewhere in the world. Every time I hear about a mass shooting, a suicide bombing, of some other act of terror, it breaks my heart. Others have said so much better than I can how I am feeling and what I wish for everyone in the world. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and friends.

Making: This weekend Anjin, Mouse and I made our traditional Nuts and Bolts snack for the holidays. It turned out pretty good, I think. Also, my husband and I enjoyed homemade root beer floats the other evening--something I haven't had in a long while.  Yum!


Planning: I am still thinking of what to get everyone for Christmas this year, and then I need to actually start buying gifts. Every year I try to start early so we're not spending so much money all at once, but I can never think that far ahead in terms of what to get people. People's ideas of what they want change over the course of the year. At least I know it's that way for my immediate family.

Enjoying: Coloring with my daughter. She is always asking me if we can color pages in my adult coloring book. I try to ration the pages out by suggesting we color a couple of mine and then color pages in her own book.  That works some of the time. Evidently my books are the preferred coloring books--probably because they are mine. 


Reading: I was having trouble sleeping Sunday night, and so started reading my second Christmas-themed book of the year, Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini, which is set in both the present and the past. One is of a music teacher who has just learned that she will no longer have a job at the end of the school year due to budget cuts. She tries to find comfort in her role as director of her church's children's choir, keeping busy with the coming Christmas program in which the choice will be performing a song based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "Christmas Bells." The novel also takes us back to 1860's and Henry Longfellow and his family. Civil War is in the air, and a horrific tragedy strikes his family shaking Longfellow's entire life. It was at that time that he penned "Christmas Bells," one of his most famous poems.

I like Chiaverini's writing so far. It is still too early to tell what I will think of the book overall, but right now I am enjoying it.

First Paragraph from Jennifer Chiaverini's Christmas Bells:

Only the most jaded of critics would deny that the Winter Holiday Concert had been an artistic triumph, and as far as Sophia could tell as the audience filed from the auditorium to meet the young performers in the cafeteria for juice and cookies, no one fitting that description had attended. Granted, the fourth-grade recorders might have been a little shrill on "Frosty the Snowman," and perhaps half of the second grade had mumbled all but the chorus of "I Have a Little Dreidel," and Sophia should have known better than to assign a treble solo to a boy who had started the semester as a sweet-voiced cherub but now looked as if Santa might need to bring him a shaving kit for Christmas. But despite those few glitches, the children had performed beautifully. Certainly the rapturous smiles and the crash of applause that met their curtain calls proved that the audience was well pleased.


Teasers from Christmas Bells at 32%

"I don't see any burn marks," her friend Emily had whispered, frowning skeptically at the library floor as the tour guide described the artifacts on display.


"Mr. Longfellow probably cleaned them up," Charlotte  had whispered back. 



What do you think? Would you keep reading?  



What are you reading at the moment?  Is it anything you would recommend?


© 2015, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

60 comments:

  1. I try to do the same thing when it comes to Christmas gifts. It hurts too much to buy everything at once. Christmas will be here before you know it!

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    1. Kathy - It really does hurt. It's not like the regular bills go on hold just for this time of year. There's still a mortgage to pay along with the utilities and all that. :-(

      As much as I love Christmas, I think it's more the anticipation and the time leading up to it I love the most. Once Christmas is here it's suddenly over and it's back to the old routines.

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  2. I read a couple of Christmas themed novels every year and like the sound of this one. I would keep reading.

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    1. 'Nise - I have tried to fit in Christmas-themed reading each year. I seem to have amassed quite a collection this season. We'll see how many I can get through in the next month. At least they are different enough I shouldn't burn out. I hope not anyway. :-S

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  3. I just started listening to Christmas music today, so I can relate to wanting variety. I have a channel on tv dedicated to that sort of music, and I'm hoping it doesn't repeat. I don't blame your daughter for wanting to color in your coloring book over hers- the adult coloring books have a lot more detail.
    ~Litha Nelle

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    1. Litha Nelle - There are plenty of songs out there, so variety shouldn't be a problem, you'd think. I hope you have better luck with your channel that plays Christmas music.

      My daughter certainly has interesting color choices when she colors. :-)

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  4. It's never too early for Christmas music! and I just finished Christmas Bells. I really liked it. Sometimes Holiday themed books are romance themed---not that I don't like a bit of romance now and then--but this one was just different. I haven't started my shopping yet either.

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    1. Debbie - I do love Christmas music. :-) I enjoy a good Christmas romance, but it's nice to mix it up with other types of Christmas or Holiday themed books too. I am glad to hear you enjoyed Christmas Bells! I hope I will too. So far, so good. :-)

      I am glad I am not the only one who hasn't started shopping yet. Although, maybe I shouldn't be glad about that.

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  5. I've seen some malls who have their Christmas decorations up already and I was like... hey it's still November, lol. I like listening to Christmas theme songs; they always make me happy.

    Speaking of holiday theme books I think I've a few in romance genre. I'll probably read them depending on my mood, as usual. ;-)

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    1. Melody - I like Christmas music too. :-) It does seem a bit early for Christmas decorations, but I'm so used to them coming out as soon as Halloween is over in the stores now.

      Enjoy your Christmas romances if you decide to read them!

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  6. The first paragraph didn't quite give me that sense of the story I was hoping for. I do like this author, however, so I would like to read more. With all your talk of Christmas plans I feel like it's almost time to say Merry Christmas.

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    1. Margot - Christmas will be here before you know it!

      I am enjoying Christmas Bells, but haven't been able to read as much this week as I had hoped. It's interesting and I'm curious how the two story lines will come together. They seem to different right now.

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  7. This sounds perfect for the season! I'm still in denial about the upcoming holidays.

    My teaser plus giveaway is at Beth Fish Reads

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    1. Beth - I think so! It's interesting too how some of the feelings of the times (the Civil War) kind of fit today. I wish they holidays weren't coming up so fast. It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is next week.

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  8. I put some Christmas music on my phone and was listening the other day as well...LOL Gift giving and buying can be stressful, this year will be many gift cards.

    I like that intro Wendy, I'd definitely read more.

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    1. Diane - I think I may have to do that in order to play some of the Christmas songs I love but never hear on the radio. Then I can listen to them anywhere. :-) Gift cards are my go to gifts most of the time, I admit. I love receiving them, but not everyone does.

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  9. I'm in the mood for a really good Christmas novel. I have a few on my list already, but I might have to add this one too. Girl Who Reads

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    1. Donna - I love this time of year and surprisingly am in the mood for it earlier than usual. Hopefully I won't burn out on Christmas reads any time soon.

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  10. I'm not in the Christmas mood yet, but have received a couple of Christmas themed mysteries in the mail. :)

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    1. Jenclair - I have one Christmas-themed mystery and am looking forward to it. I look forward to seeing what you're reading. :-)

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  11. I have read most of Jennifer Chiaverini's novels, so I would definitely want to read this one. I have one Christmas book on my list and am going to participate in reading Emma for a challenge. I will add this one too. Thanks for the intro.

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    1. Judy - I am glad she's an author you like. That bodes well for me. :-) Emma is one of my favorites. I hope you like it!

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  12. I like this author. I had forgotten about this Christmas title.

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    1. Tea - This is my first by Chiaverini, and so far I am enjoying it.

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  13. No, no, no. I haven't even gotten through Thanksgiving yet. Don't make me think about Christmas! *sigh* I suppose it's inevitable. Hope you enjoy it.

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    1. Suzie - Yes, Christmas is right around the corner no matter that we aren't ready for it. I still can't believe next week is Thanksgiving. This time of year always seems to race by.

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  14. I have avoided the radio, so haven't heard any Christmas music, but my new Hallmark Channel is back to back Christmas movies, and I'm sick of them already! LOL.

    That excerpt sounded good....I've never read this author, but I liked her voice in the little bit we read. Sophia sounds like a character I'd enjoy. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain - I like to listen to the radio in the car, and sometimes that's the only way I catch the news. I noticed Hallmark was showing Christmas movies already! I have watched a couple much to my husband's chagrin. My television time is limited and so most of what I watch I DVR--and that doesn't include Hallmark movies. So, I'm not burnt out on them yet. ;-)

      I like the opening of this one too and continue to really like her writing. It's really interesting so far and I'm curious how everything will come together.

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  15. I'm not sure this one is for me, but hope you enjoy it!

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    1. Sarah - I am enjoying it so far. I haven't had as much reading time this week as I had hoped. It's been so crazy at work and home. I am desperate for some quality reading time. Maybe tomorrow since it's my day off.

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  16. How are you enjoying your adult colouring books? Do you find you have time for them? I figure it would be like my Sudoku books; either they're sitting out taking up space or I put them away and tend to forget I've got them. I don't do Christmas music until after Remembrance Day and around the house I'm generally listening to my own music rather than the radio so I have more control over it and don't get sick of it before Christmas. I hate how it completely disappears from the radio by late Boxing Day, though. Good tease!

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    1. Ms. M. - I really like the coloring books. I haven't spent too much time on my own coloring with them--maybe if I am catching up on my television shows if I'm not doing something else. Mostly I color in them when my daughter requests to color in them with me.

      I don't generally listen to music in the house--just in my car, which means the radio or children's music (for my daughter). I wish they'd start the Christmas music a little later and keep it at least a day later than they usually do. It does seem sudden when they just stop playing it when they do.

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  17. Loving the opening especially the part about the cherub who has begun to grow up - I do hope you enjoy your read.

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    1. Cleo - I love that line too. :-) It's good so far, although I'm still not sure where the story is going. Well, at least the contemporary story. The historical one is kind of obvious.

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  18. I'm looking for a good Christmas book and this one sounds perfect for me, being interested in both Civil War and Victorian poetry! Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. Jane - I hope you like Christmas Bells if you give it a try! I am most interested in the historical aspect of the story too. :-)

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  19. I don't mind the christmas music a bit early, as December always seems to fly by and if I don't start listening to it now it'll be Christmas before I know it. On the other hand, I totally agree about variety- our stations do the exact same thing! The same dozen songs over and over, seems like... there must be hundreds more!

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    1. Greg - December does seem to fly by. November too. Variety would be so nice. The same old songs and same versions of all those songs may appeal to my 4 1/2 year old daughter, but not to me.

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  20. I promised myself this year that I'd read at least 1 Christmas novel . . .

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    1. Catherine - You can do it! I read my one nonfiction book I told myself I would read (since I read none last year--I'm still ashamed of that fact). And I will be treading another one (one with a Christmas theme, no less) soon. :-)

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  21. The Walking Dead is one of my favorite television shows! I'm eager to find out if in fact it was Glenn's voice we heard at the end of this last episode :)

    I do hope the burn marks heal quickly for this said character! Thanks for sharing this book with us :)

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    1. Claudia - It's such a good show! I hear we'll learn about Glenn this next episode. I sure hope so. It's not fair to keep us waiting!!

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  22. I like the intro, so I'd keep reading! Homemade root beer floats? What a great idea! I haven't had one of those in a long time.

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    1. Monica - I hadn't had a root beer float in a long while too. It was very good. :-)

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  23. I would definitely go on reading! I've been looking around for Christmas-themed books to read next month, and this is one that's on my list of "possibles." Have to say, though -- I'm just not ready for Christmas music yet. Still trying to get things all arranged for Thanksgiving.

    Thanks for sharing this and for the blog visit, and happy reading!

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    1. Joy - I have been going back and forth between regular music and Christmas music--Christmas music more so when my daughter is in the car with me. We don't have any big plans for Thanksgiving, and so there isn't much to do.

      If you do read Christmas Bells next month, I hope you enjoy it!

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  24. I've heard her do interviews on Wisconsin Public radio and she seems really nice. I would continue.
    I found this neat link to free adult coloring pages that you might enjoy. I liked the horse ones and even peacocks!
    http://www.easypeasyandfun.com/free-coloring-pages-for-adults/

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    1. Carla - I will have to see if I can find one of her interviews online. I have been wanting to read her books for awhile now.

      Thanks for the link to the coloring pages! I hadn't seen those before--I love the horses too. :-)

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  25. I'm still recovering from Halloween, and in the middle of National Novel Writing Month and have family coming in over Thanksgiving, so I'll hold off on the Holiday music and reads for a bit longer. I stopped listening to radio years ago, so it isn't hard to avoid.

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    1. Alice - We finally put our Halloween decorations away this past weekend. We'll be decorating for Christmas right after Thanksgiving and I am not sure I'm ready to go that far.

      That's right it's National Novel Writing Month! I hope everything is going well for you. I can only imagine what a challenge it must be since you are hosting Thanksgiving.

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  26. I don't usually read Christmas themed books, but maybe it would get me in the spirit this year. I listen to Christmas music on Pandora (when I listen) and I actually get some variety by searching for a station with "Text Me Merry Christmas." The teaser definitely makes me curious. Thanks for visiting my blog. Here's Mine

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    1. Paulita - Surprisingly, I am in the Christmas spirit early this year. Normally it takes a while for it to creep up on me. I keep forgetting about Pandora. I don't think it's on my phone anymore. I'll have to try your trick--thanks for the tip!

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  27. Nuts & Bolts and root beer floats? Well, there are two delicacies I've never heard of before.

    Looking forward to the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge which I think begins next week, I'm really looking forward to beginning my festive reading.

    Not a fan of the so-called classics as you know, can you believe I'm reading one and not an English one at that. I'm busy reading (and actually enjoying) a Russian classic, The Same Old Story by Ivan Goncharov.

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    1. Tracy - Nuts and Bolts probably has several different names, depending on the ingredients or where you are. Have you heard of Chex Mix? It's similar, but different. Root beer floats are basically just the drink root beer and vanilla ice cream.

      I hadn't heard about the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge. Given how many Christmas books I am hoping to read between now and Christmas maybe I should look into it. :-)

      I am glad you are enjoying The Same Old Story. It isn't one I have read. Classics are hit and miss with me. Some I love and others I have no interest in.

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  28. Hi Wendy,

    Not having any children, our ideal Christmas always used to be our annual trip to Disney World, Florida, where we always enjoyed all the festive decorations, music and trimmings. During our day trips to other parts of the State, we always tuned the rental car to the Christmas music station you mention and couldn't resist singing along. After some 20 years of doing this, 3 years ago circumstances changed and Christmases are now a very grudging home-grown affair, better when it is over!

    Finding the ideal gift for everyone becomes more and more of a challenge, although this year we do have a new great nephew to buy for, so we can rekindle our once long-standing relationship with 'Toys R Us'.

    I don't tend to read seasonally, so your book probably wouldn't make it past the scrutiny of the synopsis, although I have to admit that if I was only able to decide whether to read or not based on the opening lines, the excerpt you shared would probably have me turning the pages to know more!

    Thanks for sharing and 'Happy Reading' :)

    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne - A visit to Disney World for Christmas sounds wonderful. We have similar plans, but for Thanksgiving this year at Disney's California Adventure. I love the Disney parks during the holidays. There is something almost magical about them. I'm sure that's the intent too, but you know what I mean.

      Be careful at Toys R Us. It's easy to get more confused about what to get with all the choices they offer. :-) We're on a strict budget this year and so I am trying to keep that in mind as I plan.

      So far Christmas Bells is interesting, and I am enjoying it.

      Happy reading to you too!

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  29. I only just watched this week's Walking Dead episode and it's killing me that they are not talking about Glenn yet!!!

    I haven't tried an adult coloring book though everyone seems to enjoy it. It's funny that Mouse prefers the adult coloring book. Maybe because there are usually more details in an adult coloring book?

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    1. Athira - It's killing me too! I hate not knowing. Hopefully we'll find out this next episode. I heard a rumor we might.

      It could be she likes that the pictures in the adult books are more detailed. or it could be too she just likes being able to color in her mom's books. ;-) I'm not sure which it is exactly. Maybe some of both.

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  30. I never seem to read anything Christmas themed during the season, lol. I'm always reading it in July. Gage does not like to color, but on Sunday mornings we color one picture together. Coloring isn't really my thing either. Haven't watched Walking Dead. Don't know if I will. Jason and I watch so little tv. We pick one old show and get the videos from the library. We just started the last season of The Killing. A root beer float sound wonderful considering this diet I'm on ;)

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    1. Stacy - I have the last few years, but not quite as much as I am reading this year. I am enjoying it. :-) How are you finding The Killing? I really liked it when I saw it.

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