Books, Link Ups

What’s On Your Bookshelf This January?

Finishing Up My Christmas Reads

In our last bookshelf chat, I left you with a poll asking which Christmas book I should read next. Here are the results.

Survey said — get thee to thy nearest screen! So, rewatch The Holiday I did. As often as I’ve seen that film, I fall for it Every. Single. Time. Not to be too much of a slacker, I also read the book with the next highest votes (Skipping Christmas) and the one in last place (Starry Night). While both books were okay, neither was the cozy Christmas uplift I had sought.

Skipping Christmas Starry Night

Writer-Blogger Shout Out

Darlene Foster: This past month, I was delighted to discover a copy of Amanda in England, The Missing Novel at my local library. I’ve followed the author, Darlene Foster, on her blog for quite some time. Along with being a writer and blogger, Darlene is a traveller and self-professed dreamer. Darlene divides her time between the West Coast of Canada and Orihuela Costa, Spain.

Amanda in England is the third book in a series aimed at young adolescents. It is a wonderful mixture of travel and adventure. It can also be read as a standalone. This would be a fun read to share with any young reader in your life.

Jill Weatherholt: If you follow Jill Weatherholt, you know that she embodies kindness, compassion and generosity. These qualities shine through in her writing. Searching for Home is her recently released novel and is a delightful uplit read. I have previously reviewed other books by Jill here and here.

Searching for Home Amanda in England

In Progress: Shirley by Charlotte Brontë

‘You know that book where you reread the opening paragraphs over and over awkwardly trying to get in sync with the novel? That was my experience with the opening of Shirley. Our Classics Book Club has been working our way through the Brontë collection. We are now on our final read. As usual, we have divided the book into sections and will read/discuss (x4) and then bake. Our discussion on Chapters 1 – 9 is scheduled for early next week. Once I got into the swing of things, the book did get (significantly) better. Straight up, Charlotte cautioned the reader not to expect romance, sentiment, poetry, reverie, passion, stimulus or melodrama. In fact, she stated that the story in front of them was as “unromantic as a Monday morning.” By Chapter 5, I no longer believed her.

Hopefully, Charlotte deliberately misled us with her ‘Monday morning’ line. Otherwise, this will be a l-o-n-g 1,182 pages to get through on my phone (323 in my hardcover, microscopic print version shown above). Speaking about things being drawn out, the titular character has not yet been introduced by the end of Chapter 9. No, I did not fall asleep and miss it…at least I’m pretty sure that I didn’t!

Reflections on Peace

In keeping with my Word of the Year (WOTY), I have included a few books on my reading list that focus on ‘peace.’ You may be surprised to see Five Little Indians here. This novel’s core message is about seeking to come to terms with the past and working together to find a way forward. This, combined with the author’s closing tone of hope, makes it a perfect fit for this category. As with the above novels, you may click on the links to find my reviews on Goodreads. Other reflections from these readings will be mentioned in my WOTY post (see info below).

Peace in the Age of Chaos Taking the Leap Peace is Every Step Five Little Indians

On the last Thursday of each month (Northern Hemisphere) and the last Friday of each month (Southern Hemisphere), the cohosts of What’s On Your Bookshelf will hold a link up for readers to share their reflections and actions inspired by their Words of the Year (or goals/intentions for 2022). Feel free to grab a badge and join us on January 28/29. We look forward to seeing you there.

So that’s a wrap for my January 2022 reads. What’s been on your bookshelf lately?

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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80 thoughts on “What’s On Your Bookshelf This January?”

  1. What a nice surprise, Donna. I’m honored to be next to Darlene. She’s a talented author who lives a life I could only dream of living. I look forward to the Word of the Year Party. For over ten years, I’ve chosen one word to guide me through the year. I can honestly say, it’s been more empowering than any resolution I tried to make when I was younger. This year, I recycled a word that provided tremendous motivation several years ago. Thanks again for your lovely review! xo

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      1. I hope this sticks…I’ve tried 3x. I’m happy to hear you enjoy your visits to Whispering Slopes, Donna. I’ve mentioned my word on a few blogs. With so much going on, I’ve been struggling with distractions. When that happens, I feel like I’m not accomplishing anything except purchasing more journals! 🙂 Focus is my word. It’s served me well in the past. When I make the decision to guard my focus, I’m more productive.

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      2. Hi, Jill – I hate when WP comments do not stick. I am so sorry about that. I will take a look and see if there is something on my site that I can fix.
        ‘Focus’ is a brilliant word of the year. And if it’s worked for you in the past – that makes it a sure winner. And….buying more journals is not a bad thing at all! 😀

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  2. You girls are definitely embracing the link party with gay abandon! Nice to see what you’re reading and had to laugh at a movie getting more votes than any of the books. I also didn’t realize how many Bronte books there were – good on you for working your way through all of them – and perservering even when it’s less exciting than a Monday morning x

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    1. Hi, Leanne – I had actually only thrown ‘The Holiday’ into my Christmas Reading Poll to be cheeky. That will teach me! 😀
      The last couple of Brontës books have been a bit slow going. So far (knock on computer), Shirley is okay. Fingers crossed it stays this way.
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope that all is well for you.

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  3. I’m afraid that if I had opened Charlotte’s book to that dense type, I probably would have tossed it aside 🙂 I love your Peace reading list… it looks so inspiring! I just added my new short story to your link-up. Hopefully, since it’s about a TBR file, it – very loosely, maybe – qualifies for WOYB?

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    1. Yay, I kinda developed a slight neck and back injury from hunching over both that book, and another book on my phone, for overly long reading sessions. A good book, and a reading addiction, can be dangerous things! 😀
      And double yes please! I just saw your recent post and it more than qualifies for WOYBS. I’m off to comment on your post now. See you there!

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  4. I have so many half-finished books on the go at the moment, and so many more in the queue…to be read on my tablet, not my phone (unless absolutely necessary)…LOL! Hope your back feels better, Donna! Great post.

    Deb

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  5. You are such a disciplined and diverse reader, Donna – that’s fantastic! Darlene just recommended Five Little Indians to me a few hours ago. Now seeing it here too I must read it. (Just put a hold on the eBook at our library!) And so nice to see you promote Jill and Darlene – they are both so great!

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  6. I LOVE The Holiday (& was probs one of the ones voting for you to rewatch it). I’m also actually enjoying Shirley so far. It’s got more of a sense of time and place than the last couple and I’m finding the politics of it interesting.

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    1. Hi, Jo – Thanks for voting. I didn’t mind rewatching The Holiday at all (I probably would have anyway). And, I read two other books from the voting list so it was a win-win! I agree with you about Shirley (at least the first 9 chapters). Hopefully, the next 3/4 of the book continues to inspire as well!

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  7. Hi Donna, through you I have come to appreciate the writing of Charlotte Bronte (and her sisters). Shirley is growing on me and I think (or am hoping) we will be plesantly surprised. Some good suggestions to follow up on and in particular Amanda in England which you recommended for younger readers. This might be interesting for my granddaughter to read. Thanks for co-hosting WOYBS and look forward to another month of enjoyment found through reading. xx

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  8. I must admit I’ve never seen The Holiday. Must try to remember this year. I’m really surprised that John Grisham has a Christmas book. I followed your link to Goodreads as I thought surely not the same John Grisham. But yes, so I’ve put it in my calendar for December. Thanks for continuing #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge I was happy to hear it.

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    1. Hi, Jennifer – Thank you for joining us at #WOYBS. I really enjoyed your post. You may have seen (or heard of) the film version of ‘Skipping Christmas’. It was called ‘Christmas with the Kranks’. Both book and movie are very similar. Light and funny on the outside with a deeper meaning hidden underneath.

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  9. Hi Donna – again a delightful read … tempting us to read many genres … I really must see if I can read the Bronte books again … ‘Shirley’ sounds an interesting one.

    Words = last year I had ‘respair’ (fresh hope) … then came across ‘confelicity’ (delight in someone’s else’s happiness) … both still appropriate to life this year …

    I love the books you read and let us know about … thanks for letting us all share with you – and hope that larger print Kindle reader will materialise … when you walk on your own (can’t believe it’s often) do you listen to audio books? Chers and once again for a fascinating post – Hilary

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    1. Hi, Hilary – Thank you for another insightful comment.
      I’ve only read the first quarter of ‘Shirley.’ Based on that, I think that you would quite enjoy it. And if you haven’t read ‘Tenant of Wildfelt Hall’ I believe that you will appreciate that as well.
      I love the words ‘respair’ and ‘confelicity.’ I will bookmark them for the future.
      I never (or at least rarely) listen to audiobooks when hiking or walking outdoors. There would be too much for me to miss on both accounts.

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  10. Love this post Donna! I really must read some of Jill’s books as you’ve mentioned them before and what a lovely way to introduce us to Darlene too. Thanks for being a great co-host of our challenge, and why am I not surprised about your WOTY readings???

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    1. Hi, Debbie – Thank you for your kind words. I highly recommend both Jill’s and Darlene’s books. Darelene’s book would be fun to share with your granddaughters. I gained a great deal from pairing some of my readings with my WOTY. In your case, you could try ‘The Gift’ (Cecilia Ahern), ‘The Gift’ (Richard Paul Evans) ’29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life,’ and ‘This is a Gift for You’ (short audible listen). I may just try some of these myself! 😀

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  11. My heart leapt at the thought of you finding one of Darlene’s books at your library. That is so COOL! The library where I teach makes sure to have my books on their shelves, but I’m not sure I’ve ‘made it’ to other libraries. Way to go, Darlene. And I read and reviewed Jill’s latest book because, yes, she delivers what she promises: love, hope, and compassion – and yes I agree, she embodies all of this. I applaud your attempts to read “Shirley” – never heard of that Bronte book and I’m not enticed to do so now. 🙂 I must admit, I was not one who voted for you to watch a movie instead of read a book. The book is always, always better. But. I suppose it depends on the book, too! I’m reading Cloud Cuckoo Land now and challenged by it. Lots of Greek illusions in there, and flits from time to time and place to place. But, my mind is being stretched. Here’s to you, with a VERY stretchy mind as well. ❤

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    1. Hi, Pam – Thank you for your uplifting comment. I seldom watch TV or Netflix so rewatching The Holiday was a fun change of pace. Yes, to libraries containing books of my favourite authors-bloggers. I’m not sure how libraries select their books. That would be interesting to know. Cloud Cuckoo Land sounds like a thought-provoking read. Cheers to stretchy minds!

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  12. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing Amanda in England. Glad to see my books are in libraries. An author’s dream come true. Also delighted you enjoyed it. I am pleased to be alongside Jill too. I’m pleased you felt as strongly about Five Little Indians as I did. A powerful story, well written. Good luck with Shirley, it is on my bookshelf, waiting. I am trying War and Peace this year. So far so good but taking it slowly. I love your word for the year.

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    1. Hi, Darlene – I was so glad to find ‘Amanda’ in the Parksville library. It was a wonderful delight. I am soooooo impressed with you reading War and Peace this year. I would love to read that (especially since my WOTY focuses on peace). At 1,225 pages (or 61 hours on Audible) that is a HUGE commitment. Please keep us updated on your progress. I would love to follow your thoughts on this.

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  13. That is one eclectic list of books. Yay! So enjoyed reading all your comments. Hope to join you next month with “What’s on Your Bookshelf.” Still trying to get back into the work groove after the holiday break. I think I am almost there. 😉

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    1. Hi, Laurie – I’m glad you enjoyed my eclectic list of books — and the comments. The comment section is always the favourite part of my posts. 😀
      I’m so glad that you had a wonderful holiday break – you definitely deserve it. I greatly look forward to you joining us next month at WOYBS. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for that!

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      1. Hi, Laurie –
        What’s On Your Plate – Goes live on the first Wednesday of each month.
        What’s On Your Bookshelf – Goes live on the third Thursday of each month.
        Word of the Year Progress Link Up – Goes live on the last Thursday of each month.
        Please join us when you can. We would love to see you there.

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  14. I’m finding myself reading fewer books the longer this pandemic goes on. It seems paradoxical to me, but that’s the truth of it. Currently I’m reading Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. I’m about a decade behind with this one. 🤷‍♀️

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  15. What’s on my bookshelf? Becoming by Michelle Obama. I’m ~ 1/3 of the way in and I have to say that I expected more. More of what I’m not sure. I may have a different response by the end. Also reading These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card, a story of a man who assumed his coworker’s identity when he died and the effect on his family when he reveals his secret. The Jamaican patois poses a challenge but the concept of walking away from one’s life is intriguing. Before that, I read Wintering: the Power of Rest & Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May. Again, a book that wasn’t what I expected, more memoir than I expected. There are many references to how nature rests in winter awaiting transformation. I was drawn to the word “wintering” as that very much describes my life in NE Alberta. Snow means slow after busy spring, summer, fall seasons and yet it’s hard to revel in the winter when it’s -40C and colder. It can also be oppressive. Preparation is key and there’s also some surrender. So I shovel snow, pack wood for the wood burning stove and prepare comfort food and read.

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    1. Ah, Mona – Your comments always make me long to read more. You could write a beautiful book (or short story or poem or post) about life in NE Alberta. I’m a broken record (I know). Your comments always inspire me and make me think!

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  16. I’m sorry the Christmas books didn’t fit the bill, Donna, but it sounds like you have plenty of other good books to read. I just finished The Five Wishes of Mr. Murray McBride. I highly recommend it, but keep the tissues handy near the end! On the nonfiction side, I recently read Divine Sparks and linked up my review to the link party. Thanks for hosting!

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  17. Kudo’s on your determination in reading Shirley. If I had to read & re-read an opening paragraph AND it was in fine print … I’d be a Classics Club Drop-out!

    I do read a fair bit. My library & ebook history says I read about ten per month last year. To date, I’ve never blogged about books. This month, I decided to give it try with my first WOYB post. I’ve added it to your LINKZ but here’s a link too

    WOYB: High Fiction, Steam Punk & YAH

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  18. Thank you Donna for sharing your list of books. It’s a great idea to read some books related to your WOTY. One of the books I enjoyed reading this month is The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis, a Canadian author. I look forward to joining the Fabs Four (you, Sue, Jo and Debbie) at your new monthly link-up.

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  19. I’m delighted to see (read) that you are getting a lot of literature into your winter schedule, Donna. And with knowing so many lovely blogger/authors, you will never run out of books. So cool to find Darlene’s book in your local library! May peace remain with and within you. 🙂

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  20. I have been reading more Scandi murder mysteries which are a favourite. A latter day Camilla Lackberg novel and a memoir of an immigrant girl from Croatia, and finally, a serious non fiction from a fellow blogger on climate change!

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  21. Donna, one can’t see The Holiday too many times (well, my husband seems to think there is a limit but we disagree on this!!😀😀) How lovely you came across one of Darlene’s Amanda books and a lovely shout-out for Jill.

    I’ve read a great selection of books so far this year including The Secret Piano, partially set during the Cultural Revolution in China, Grief Songs by Elizabeth Gauffreau which is a collection of a wonderful and moving selection of poems of love and remembrance as well as the superlative The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shalak set around modern-day long-distance romance as well as the life of Rumi! The bar is set high for February’s reading!😀📖

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