afdg-xwqz881317My life has taken some interesting twists and turns. I’ve always considered myself a homebody but have ended up living in 6 countries on three continents and have travelled a lot more than I ever thought I would. Now I’m a little confused about where home really is! I once remarked that I didn’t think I would ever live in a small African village, well, let’s just say, ‘never say never.’ As a child I hardly read at all, but over the years reading has become something that I just can’t do without.

Even though I am a primary school teacher and have always been interested in education, my professional life has veered in the direction of libraries and reading. And as a result of the last overseas move from Canada to the UK, I found myself grieving the loss of my teacher-librarian job and was left with some time on my hands. Since writing is also something I like to do, my husband suggested that I turn my reading log into a blog. Brilliant! “Blog where you’re planted!”

Blog Collage

The original book log was just a little notebook with jottings about the books I had read. Nothing extensive, just some of the main storyline to jog my memory, and a few thoughts about how I liked (or didn’t like) the book, and perhaps some quotable quotes. It was so useful when people asked if I would recommend a book to them. I still maintain the log and often refer back to it. What the blog did was expand my reading world so that I was sharing the joy of reading with many others and this has brought me great satisfaction.

Book ReviewWriting long reviews is not what I do. What I give people is an impression of the book and is much more of a ‘react’. Keeping things simple is a high priority for me in almost every area of my life, and my blog is no different. A picture of the book, a brief description and some comments are usually sufficient as well as any additional information that I found interesting in my research. I love reading others’ reviews and researching the author. For me it enriches the reading experience and I love to share that with my followers so that they can just click on a website link or a youtube interview.

IMG-20180409-WA0000Reading tastes vary and I learned long ago that it is tricky to recommend books so I don’t do that. It’s dangerous to say, “You’ll love this.” Better to say, “I loved this because…” and let readers decide for themselves. Being a blogger informs my own reading, always searching for that gem that will be perfect for book clubs or that new author that I’ve never tried before. The dialogue that ensues in the comments section is the greatest outcome for me, not how many followers I manage to have. Besides, I really dislike that term. I’d rather have ‘fellowers’ than followers. Fellow readers who love to talk about books. It’s all for the love of reading!


28 responses to “Intro

  1. Hi Jo. What a great idea. After finding out about your reading diary I started one too.
    I am always looking for suggestions and this is a great way to start.
    I’m bookmarking this blog right now.

  2. I appreciate the intro to your blog, which I think is a fabulous idea (spouse power at work). I also like that your comments will be personal and usually short (how appropriate for our “world” and for many of our lifestyles, mine included). Finally, I love it that you include comments/thoughts on all the books that you read, not just ones you recommend. Now, I am going to the blog itself…

  3. Hi Joanne:
    Wonderful idea and now that you have time great to put it into action. Reading is still my favorite pastime too and I’ve bookmarked your blog. Ina

  4. Dear Joanne, what a great idea!!!! We loooove it! We are here in Holland still together and found this to be such a great idea. You have inspired both of us to read great books! We love you and are soooo happy to be your sisters! God has given you an amazing ability to love literature and share it with others! We love you ! Tineke 🙂 and Wilma 🙂

  5. PS The blog is in both our favourites! :):):)

  6. Dear Joanne:
    Thanks for the blog. I appreciate your dedication to reading and to sharing your selections with others. It seems like yesterday when we lived in Arusha, Tanzania and you introduced me to Alexander McCall Smith’s books. May I recommend a book? It’s about a boy in Malawi, “The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind”. The ending will only make you wish it could come true for all the bright boys and girls we knew in Africa. Love, Cheryl

  7. Already I have benefited a great deal from your excellent reading suggestions… looking forward to more! I have been keeping a reading log myself since 2003. So far, I’ve not detected any trends in my own reading selections.

    For anybody else who keeps a reading log, has it taught you anything about your self and/or your reading preferences?

  8. Hi Joanne! Great blog, I’m sending it to all my book club friends right now.

  9. Hello Joanne ~ in way of introductions, I am a friend of Liz deVries, who is cousin to Helen Jenkins. I am also a retired Teacher-Librarian – at least the last 25 years of my career. I was / am passionate about KidLit, especially YA literature. I have a very good friend in Prince George (BC), who is truly an “expert” in KidLit, (especially YA) and she publishes an online newsletter monthly. If you’d like, I could have her send you a copy monthly. She’s currently doing her Master’s Degree (at age 63!), and her thesis is on the abstract pursuit of How Children & Teens find spirituality through reading (this is to be separated from any religious connotations.) I’d need your email address to connect you to Barb.
    I’m most impressed with your blog, and even more impressed with how many books you read in 2010.
    I recently read Sarah’s Key, and interestingly, although I found the story had merit, I really did not like the story-telling format. And this coming from a Jewish girl -oy!

  10. Hi, Joanne. I met you with Helen on our walk into Eton last week. Just got through jet lag enough to take a little foray into your blog. It’s wonderful, simple, fascinating. Thanks for the video links. And for the vast list which I will take to my book club next week. Interestingly, I’ve got The Guernsey Literary Society, etc. on my nightstand waiting for me and loved coming across your entry and the video. Wanted to recommend the book I was reading when I saw you–How Green was Valley, by Richard Llewellyn. I think I told you it was set in Scandinavia, but it’s actually Wales. It’s a lovely, lovely book about a Welsh family, with beautiful descriptions, written in 1940 about an earlier time when coal mining created scars on the land and in lives. First line: “I am going to pack my two shirts with my other socks and my best suit in the little blue cloth my mother used to tie round her hair when she did the house, and I am going from the Valley.” Something about that sentence drew me right in and I was in for a treat. Hope you enjoy it, too.

  11. Nice to hear from you Mary. I am off to Africa for 4 weeks on Monday and I have downloaded several books onto my Kindle for the trip, one of them being Over Salad and Hot Bread!

  12. fantastic idea, thank you

  13. Hi Joanne, It’s been some time since I’ve had opportunity to check out your blog again – December I think. How beautifully your idea has blossomed!! Thanks for sharing your gifts and your time. I’ll definately keep coming back and passing on your blog to friends. For me, the anticipation of reading some of the books you’ve covered excites me as much as getting into my garden again! My favorite time of year is almost here – opportunities of a garden tool in the hands by daylight and a good book in the evening.
    Here’s to you and your blog and another good book to read!!

  14. Sounds like a perfect day to me too Janet…minus the gardening! 🙂

  15. Hennie Tiesma

    Looking forward to future blogs!

  16. Hi Joanne,
    Your blog was recommended to me by a friend and I check it out every couple of weeks or so. I’ve enjoyed many of the books already that you have read and reviewed, and you’ve alerted me to some very good reads which I’ve enjoyed this summer – Vaclav & Elena, Annabel, Room, and The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted, to name a few. I think you’d enjoy Little Bee by Chris Cleave, The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry, The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich, and The Sidewalk Artist by Gina Buonaguro & Janice Kirk. Happy reading! As my friend Joyce said to me, “Our corner in Heaven will be quiet!” 🙂
    P.S. We met at TDCH a couple of times. We have one more year to go!

    • Hi Jenny,
      Thanks for the feedback. And for the book titles, I’ll add them to my list. I think that in that same corner we will have enough time to read all of the books on our lists! 🙂

  17. I discovered the ‘notify me’ box!

  18. Teresa Comtois

    Hi Joanne,
    Just wondering if you had read ‘Wednesday Wars’? What are your thoughts? Any suggestions for our book club for next year?

    • Hi Teresa, Yes, I read the Wednesday Wars and it is great. Gary Schmidt is a Young Adult author. His latest book is “Okay for Now” which is also very good.
      Suggestions for book club would include The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman, The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay, and Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker.

  19. A cold evening, expecting snow and a new stack of books (Snobs by Julian Fellowes, Iron House by John Hart and The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern) from the library, Heaven. Reading the intro reminded me of a character in Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. Books ‘turn up’ in her life and stalk her. If she ignores them they follow her around, appearing on the front seat of her car, on her night stand, falling (diving?) off shelves. (She’s only safe in the bathroom, they don’t like moisture.) I love the idea of books being pushy to be read. Thank you for the time and effort you put into the blog. Nancy (from Knitting and Natting)

    • Love that image Nancy! I’ll see which book on my “To Be Read” pile is pushy enough to be picked up next! Snuggling up with a book soon myself but no snow yet…perhaps merely another ‘media storm’. The reason for my blog is to encourage reading and discussion about books. Great to chat with you today and looking forward to more Natter. Cheers, Joanne

  20. i love how you take a book, how you value a book. i agree with it. i love that rest among books picture. cool!!! 🙂

  21. Hi Joanne,
    Your sister, Doris, introduced me to your blog yesterday as we sat and had coffee after church. I had just finished reading “The Rosie Project”, so found it intersting that you had just read it, too. I have forwarded your link to members of my book group, a wonderful gathering of friends from church who love to read and explore all kinds of literature 😉
    Thnks for sharing your books, reviews, and your wonderful sister.
    PS I, too, have a sister, Joanne, who reads like no tomorrow and volunteers at her local library.

    • How lovely to hear from you Nancy, and welcome aboard! It’s fun to share good books. Please let me know if you, or your sister, or your book club, have read something wonderful! Hope to meet you next time I’m in GH.

  22. Hey Joanne: still following your blog. 🙂 New book I came across which I’m sure you’ve heard about. The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton. Oprah can’t stop telling people to buy this book. Watched a few interviews with Anthony Hinton – and they were right – he does remind us of Nelson Mandela – who was one of the only other men imprisoned for crime they didn’t commit for over 30 years (in his case) – and yet – have come out not full of hate. A very likeable man as they read his book – and comes through in the interviews. I’m hoping to read – hope you do too.

    • Hi Joanne. Great to hear from you! I enjoy following your adventures in South Korea!! Well, this is divine timing. I’m just reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Wow, what a book, and this inspirational one that dovetails nicely with it will certainly get a mention in my post. Thanks for the heads up!

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