Musings From A Bookmammal


Getting Ready For July 14 . . .

to kill a mockingbirdI don’t re-read books nearly as much as I used to, but I decided to revisit Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird in preparation for the release of Go Set A Watchman this summer. I remember reading (and enjoying) Mockingbird in my 9th grade English class but didn’t recall much about it except for the broad plot points. I actually remember more about the movie that all of the freshman English classes saw once we finished the book. This was in the pre-DVD and even the pre-VCR days. We watched the movie on an actual reel-to-reel projector and the film broke right before we were FINALLY going to see Boo Radley. I can still remember my teacher racing up the aisle of the auditorium to fix it as about 100 9th graders groaned in frustration!

Anyway . . . about a week ago I figured it was time to review so I’d be ready for Harper Lee’s new (old?) novel to be released on July 14–and I was amazed on so many levels. My memory of the book was that it was mostly about the trial of Tom Robinson, with the mysterious Boo Radley showing up every so often. I remembered Scout, Jem, Atticus, and Dill—but no real specifics beyond that.

I’m not sure if it’s just because so many years have gone by since my initial reading, or whether much of the greatness of the writing and the depth of the storyline went over my head as a 14-year-old, but I was blown away by how much was packed into this novel. The many plots and subplots (obviously SO MUCH more than a story about a trial!), the nuances of social class, the aspects of racism that are all too true—and relevant–today, the ebb and flow of small town life, the MANY instances of  understated humor . . . plus, I had completely forgotten about the “ham incident”. And I’ve got to admit that I teared up at the end.

In retrospect, I’m not really sure that my 9th-grade self was ready to appreciate this book. I’m so glad that the soon to be released Go Set A Watchman gave me the “excuse” to rediscover this American classic. And it makes me wonder . . . how many other books from my past reading lives deserve a second look?

How about you? Have you rediscovered any books lately? Are you planning to read Go Set A Watchman? Please share!



On Hiatus . . . But Still Reading!

Hello there!

I’ve been pretty quiet here lately—I haven’t written a post since December 1, and I sure haven’t been visiting and commenting on as many blogs as usual. I’ve been traveling a lot more for my job recently, and that has definitely cut into my regular routine. (The up side is that when you’re sitting in airports, it’s a perfect excuse to read!) So—this post is to say that my blog is going on hiatus for the foreseeable future. I’ll still be visiting your blogs—and hopefully commenting more than I have been recently—and, of course, I’ll still be reading and updating what I’ve read and what I want to read on my Goodreads account.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, and hope that each of you finds a very special book under the tree!


Raising Sharp Readers by Colby and Alaina Sharp

I don’t  re-post writings from other bloggers very often–but this post from the Nerdy Book Club Blog about raising readers is so wonderful that I just had to share it. PLEASE click through to read the entire post–you won’t be sorry! Enjoy!
And to my American blog buddies, I wish you all  a happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Nerdy Book Club

7 years ago, we were elated and terrified to welcome the first of our three little readers into the world.  As parents, we don’t do a lot of things right – Breslin’s gone to school with his pants on backwards enough times to verify that.  But, we have managed to turn out three little people who love reading fiercely.  Here are some of our thoughts on how we have helped to foster and nourish that love in our home.

1. Have books everywhere.

Our oldest isn’t one to go the bookshelf and pick up a book. He’s not the type of kid that you tell to go and read a book. What we’ve found is that if we have books laying around all over the place (tables, floor, car, bed, etc) he reads a ton. Sometimes he’ll find a book laying on the coffee table and read it cover to cover…

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Happy Blog-Birthday!

cupcakeToday is Musings From A Bookmammal’s 1st Birthday! Exactly one year ago today I took the plunge and decided to join the blogging world.

I decided to start this blog on a complete whim. I’d been reading a number of blogs for several years and had always thought blogging would be a great way to practice my writing skills. I’m not sure what tipped me over the edge that day, but I went online, did some googling, decided to give WordPress a try, and set up my blog in an hour or two. Within a few weeks I’d decided to focus most of my posts on books,  reading, and literacy. I’m not exactly sure what I expected—but I had absolutely no idea that I’d “meet” so many wonderful blogging buddies who share my love for books, and I also didn’t have a clue about how fast and furious my TBR list would grow!

Some basic first year stats for those of you (like me!) who are into this sort of thing: Musings From A Bookmammal currently contains 244 posts, has 334 followers, has had visitors from 82 countries (amazing!)—the top five being USA, UK, Canada, India, and Jersey (Hi, Cleo!)—and has had a total of 12,077 views. The post with the most views is The Best Things About Working In A Bookstore  (October 1, 2013)—it’s gotten 1,410 views and gets at least a few hits every day.

So—MANY THANKS to all of the booklovers who visit me here and join the conversation. Please help yourselves to some virtual birthday cupcakes! I’m looking forward to exchanging many more thoughts about books and reading with you—and especially to adding more and more of your book recommendations to my shelves in Year #2!


Taking A Bit Of A Break . . .

Hi there,

Due to some recent changes in my professional and personal lives, I probably won’t be posting as often as usual for awhile. I’ll continue to read and comment on the blogs I follow–but just won’t have the time to spend on writing new posts in the immediate future. I hope to be back in full force soon to share bookish–and not so bookish–thoughts with you!


Book Blogger Hop–Do You Think You’ll Ever Reach The End?

book blogger hop

This weekly meme is hosted over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer, and you can join the fun by clicking on the icon above! Each week a new bookish question is posted. This week’s question is:

Do you think you’ll ever read every book on your TBR list?

stack of booksMy short answer is—NO, and I hope I never will!

Having a long TBR list means having a long list of choices. My reading tastes are continually changing—what I decide to read might depend on my mood, what I’ve just read, the books my friends and blogging buddies are talking/posting about, and what may be going on in my life at any given time. I read a lot of different genres—both fiction and nonfiction. My bookcases at home look as though they contain books belonging to at least five different people. Having a lengthy TBR list assures me that I have a title ready to go to meet any mood or need I may have when I finish a book.

I used to keep my TBR list in a handwritten notebook, as well as on scraps of paper in my purse, on my desk, in my car, etc. After all, you never know when you’ll hear about a book that you just have to read! Now that I’ve finally set up my Goodreads account, I’m amazed at how easy it is to just keep on adding TBR titles (that scanning feature is awesome!).

And although I do sometimes get frustrated that my TBR list keeps getting longer and longer, I ultimately think that it’s a great problem to have! I usually have at least at least two books going at a time—and I start to feel a bit nervous when I’m coming to the end of a book and I don’t have another one immediately in mind. That’s when my ever-growing TBR list comes in—and reaching the end of my TBR list would mean that I’d have nothing to move on to once my current book was finished—and that just won’t do!

How about you? How do you keep track of your TBR list? Do you think you’ll ever reach the end? Please share!