Tag Archives: Reading

Top 10 Tuesday — Books And Reading Quotes

29 Sep

This week bloggers were charged to come up with their favorite book quotes. I decided to highlight quotes about the reading life. There’s little to say about the quotes — they speak for themselves. Let me know which you find fits your time spent with books.

For more Top 10 Tuesday fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.


Top Quotes About Books And Reading



“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” – Lemony Snicket

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” – Groucho Marx

“Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.” – Lena Dunham

“Reading one book is like eating one potato chip.” – Diane Duane

“The world was hers for the reading.” – Betty Smith

“Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.” – Fernando Pessoa

“There is nothing more luxurious than eating while you read—unless it be reading while you eat.” – E. Nesbit

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” – Paul Sweeney

“I guess there are never enough books.” – John Steinbeck

“What kind of life can you have in a house without books?” – Sherman Alexie



Guest Post — Carole Jarvis, Blogger at The Power of Reading

26 Nov

I connected with Carole at The Power of Words early in my blogging. We participated in many of the same blog tours, and our opinions consistently lined up. We started a back and forth comment communication, and our friendship grew. In her reviews, Carole always says what I wish I had said! Her reviews are insightful and cover everything you need to know about the book without anything extraneous. I get lots of my reading recommendations from Carole. If you don’t follow her already, I urge you to visit her blog. You will love it!

Today, Carole is sharing about her love of books, the creative arts, and her blogging journey. Thanks, Carole, for being a great book friend and for helping me celebrate today!

Guest Post — Carole from The Power of Words

When I first stumbled upon the world of blogging, I was immediately drawn to Beckie’s By the Book and discovered many wonderful books thanks to her recommendations. In addition to sharing a common faith and love for books, the fact that we are southern gals who live in the same state (Georgia) makes our connection even more special.  

I am honored and humbled that Beckie invited me to participate in her ten-year celebration. In reflecting on what to write about, I decided to simply share a little about my love for books and hopefully, in the process, encourage some who read this to become bloggers. 

While I love the creative arts, I’m not a writer; in fact, writing is painfully hard and slow for me most of the time. I’m a musician and have been a church pianist for 56 years. This picture was taken at my daughter’s wedding, which I played for, just before she moved to Germany for eight years to lead a campus ministry – and I can’t think of a better profile picture.

My Mom helped me cultivate a love for reading at an early age by bringing me a Bobbsey Twins book twice a month on her paydays ($1.25 in hardback at the time) – and then on to Cherry Ames, Judy Bolton, Nancy Drew, and Agatha Christie. Then something incredible happened in my late teens when I discovered that books not only entertained, but that many had the power to touch and change lives. Here are a few novels of the past that deepened my faith and literally redirected the ministry path my life took as a young adult, stories that earn the highest of recommendations (titles linked to their Amazon page).

The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas

Dear and Glorious Physician (the story of Luke) by Taylor Caldwell

In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon

The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson


Many years later, I discovered the seasonal catalogues of Christian Book Distributors. While I poured over every page, it was their “New and Recommended” section in the middle on which I mainly focused, and I discovered some absolute gems there. Below are five such books that again earn my highest of recommendations, read when the writing of reviews wasn’t even on my radar

Coldwater Revival by Nancy Jo Jenkins

Saving Sailor by Renee Riva

Daughter of Liberty by J. M. Hochstetler

William Henry Is a Fine Name by Cathy Gohlke

Sutter’s Cross by Dale Cramer

So how does someone who hates to write become a book reviewer? I’m still asking myself that, actually. Bottom line, it was books like the five mentioned above that made me want to somehow let everyone know how incredibly wonderful they were. A friend encouraged me to start a blog where I shared my love for the creative arts – books, music, and artwork. Knowing that detailed reviews like high school and college demanded weren’t the answer, I started searching online for how to write a book review, compiled the best ideas, and came up with what worked for me. Beckie has been not only a friend, but a great encourager – and there are many more like her in the blogging community. So, if you’ve ever wanted to really support authors and share writing that inspires you, let me encourage you to try blogging. It’s easy, fun, and there’s a strong network out there. It may sound trite to say that if I can do it, anyone can, but that’s just about the case.

It was in 2012 that I began this journey and I wanted to share some of my favorite books from those first 2-3 years of blogging. These are all outstanding and have a clear spiritual message (titles are linked to my reviews).

Lost and Found by Ginny L. Yttrup

Mother of Pearl by Kellie Coates Gilbert

In Broken Places by Michele Phoenix

The Air We Breathe by Christa Parrish

When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley

The Courier of Caswell Hall by Melanie Dobson

A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher

To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

I’ll end with a tribute to a personal friend who just happens to be a very talented author, Dale Cramer. Although not currently writing, two of his novels won the Christy Award and all are excellent. Dale and I went to the same church during his years of publication and it was great to share in his book signing at the release of his last book in 2013, Though Mountains Fall.

Beckie, thank you so much for the honor of being on your blog. You are a skilled reviewer of great integrity, as well as a cherished friend, and I wish you many more years of blogging.


Thanks so much, Carole, for sharing from your heart. And I know that my readers have a great list of book recommendations now too!

Wife, mother, pianist, avid reader, Christ follower, Carol Jarvis blogs at The Power of Words.


Top 10 Tuesday — Thankfulness

26 Nov

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday is a Thankfulness Freebie. All month I have been celebrating my 10 Year Blogiversary which has spurred a lot of reminiscing — last week I blogged about reading changes over the past 10 years. Despite some tragedy and disappointments that my family has seen, there has been plenty to be thankful for. Our 3 kids are finished with school and gainfully employed. 😉 One child is married with a baby on the way. My husband and I have embraced the empty nest and now have great memories of places visited and fun experiences. And of course I am thankful for all the bookish goodness in my life.

Books have always played a huge role in my life. I remember as a child sitting in front of the bookcase pulling book after book off the shelves to read. I especially liked the encyclopedia that featured far away lands and peoples. (I am definitely showing my age now!)

So today, I am recounting what I am thankful for in my reading life.



Top Bookish Thankfulness


Parents who nurtured my love of reading. I always got a book for every holiday and birthday. Trips to the library were the norm, and bookstores were a shopping destination.

A husband that indulges my hobby 😉 . My husband teases me about all the books that have piled up over the years despite my diligence in giving them away. Nose in a book is a common phrase as well, but like my parents, he sees my bookish habits as a positive. I have even succeeded in bringing him over to my side of things — he regularly listens to audiobooks now.

Children who like to read. While I don’t always share the reading choices of my kids — technical articles for the engineer, non-fiction for the therapist, and theology for the attorney — I am so glad that they regularly read. My work here is done 😉 .

Modern book technology. I love listening to audiobooks on my morning walks and during road trips. And my Kindle (I am on my third) was one of my favorite gifts ever.

The Christian fiction book community. When I started my blog 10 years ago, I would never have dreamed where it taken me. I love the interactions with publishers, authors, bloggers, and readers, both online and in person. It has been truly wonderful and a blessing.

My book clubs. What started out as a way to talk about books, has developed into caring relationships. Yes we still talk about books, but our friendships have deepened along the way.

My blog readers. I am especially thankful to those who visit my blog everyday. Your comments have encouraged me and let me know that someone really does care about my opinions. To that end, my 10 Year Blogiversary Giveaway is for you! Check out the link to the giveaway HERE.

Guest Post: Iola Goulton, Blogger

20 Nov

“I have this friend from New Zealand.” I love saying that! Now, I have never met Iola Goulton in person, but our online interactions and reading her blog make me feel like I really know her. That’s just how the online book community works. Iola is a freelance editor and writes insightful reviews of Christian fiction, making her a go-to resource for the best in the inspirational market. I depend on her reviews and search out those books she recommends. Finding out about authors from Australia and New Zealand is a great added perk!

I would love to travel to New Zealand one day and if I ever do, a side trip to meet Iola is on the bucket list! Here’s hoping that our paths cross one day soon, either in the US or in New Zealand.

Thanks, Iola, for sharing about your reading and blogging life.

Guest Post from Iola Goulton

When Beckie approached me to contribute a guest post as part of her celebration of ten years as a book blogger, I was thrilled to accept. Beckie, and people like her, are what make the Christian book blogging community a great place to be. It’s my online home.

I don’t know about you, but I was always the odd child out. I was the child who loved silent reading time at school, who loved visiting the library, and who could always be found with a book. I was the child who read anything, even the cereal packets. I read and reread my favourite books. And I knew lots of strange facts, because after I’d read all the children’s novels, I moved onto children’s encyclopedias (in my defence, I lived in a tiny town with a tiny library).

But I always felt like I was the odd one out. No one else loved reading the way I did — or if they did, they kept quiet about it. LIke I did.

I discovered the world of online reading in around 2010, and realised I wasn’t the only book nerd around. There were hundreds — thousands — of readers like me. People who loved words, loved stories, loved books. We connected over our shared love of books despite living on opposite sides of the planet.

I discovered the (now defunct) Amazon Discussion Forums, Goodreads, and book blogs. Discussing favourite books and authors through text-based communication suited me. Being in different time zones meant conversations took place over hours and days rather than seconds and minutes, and that gave everyone the opportunity to contribute. It felt fairer and more democratic than real-life conversations where the person with the loudest voice is the one who gets the most attention.

Not long after I discovered book blogs, I won an ebook in book blogger giveaway. This led to me discovering NetGalley and joining the book blogger community myself. Now I follow bloggers from around the world, reading reviews and discussion posts, and adding to my neverending to-read pile. It’s hard to believe there was once a time when I’d read every book I owned and would go back to reread old favourites while I waited for my next visit to the local Christian bookstore to see if there was anything new in stock.

I’ve even been able to meet few other book bloggers in real life. Australian author Dorothy Adamek invited me to stay with her in Melbourne a few years ago. Melbourne is also the home of Rel Mollet of Relz Reviews … so we arranged to meet Rel for coffee and a chat at the local Koorong store. Rel is a kindred spirit. It felt like we were two halves of a whole as we compared notes on books, authors, and blogging.

I’ve also met Elle of Soul Inspirationz here in New Zealand. I was driving to Wellington, and Elle’s hometown of Taihape was the perfect place to stop for lunch. Her boss said to take as long as she wanted … so we did (I don’t think he realised how long two people can talk books). As with Rel, the conversation flowed thick and fast as we shared our stories and talked about our favourite novels and authors. We eventually stopped talking when we realized we’d each missed phone calls from people who were wondering where we were. Oops.

I haven’t had the priviledge of meeting Beckie or any other US book bloggers in person (although I did meet author Candace Calvert when she visited my home town of Tauranga as part of a New Zealand cruise)67. But I can assure you that friendships formed online are real friendships, despite what the technophobes might say. And we’re all Christians, which means we will get to meet one day in that great library in heaven. Because heaven has to have a library, right?

Beckie, congratulations on ten years of book blogging. It’s been a priviledge to get to know you online, and I look forward meeting you for real one day.

About Iola Goulton

Iola Goulton is a New Zealand book reviewer, freelance editor, and author, writing contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Unpronounceable Names (Iola is pronounced yo-la, not eye-ola and definitely not Lola).

Iola holds a degree in marketing, has a background in human resource consulting,  and now works as a freelance editor specialising in Christian fiction. She has also developed the Kick-Start Your Author Platform Marketing Challenge, an email course for authors wanting to establish their online platform.

When she’s not working, Iola is usually reading or writing her next book review. Iola lives in the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand (not far from Hobbiton) with her husband, teenage son and cat. She is currently working on her first novel.

Top 10 Tuesday — 10 Years of Reading Changes

19 Nov

I am celebrating 10 years of book blogging this month. Woo hoo! (You can find my 10 Year Blogiversary Giveaway HERE.) Over the last 10 years a lot has changed — 3 children out of the house and well into successful adulthood (through with college/grad school/law school), a new daughter-in-law, and a first grand baby on the way — some very great changes! With the increased time on my hands, my reading life took off at a greater pace and back to the pre-kid levels I once enjoyed. And book blogging has influenced my reading choices even more so.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme — Changes in My Reading Life — fits in well with my month long blogiversary celebration as I reflect on all the benefits blogging has brought to my life. So here are some of the changes that have occurred in the past 10 years.


10 Years of Reading Changes

Reading on a schedule. Book blogging requires a good bit of organization, and reading according to a schedule keeps me from being too behind in my reading commitments.  Where once I picked up any old book that caught my fancy, I now have a list I follow pretty faithfully.

Reading new-to-me authors. I have been introduced to some great new favorite authors because I was introduced to them through blogging opportunities. Of course, this just makes the TBR pile bigger and bigger.

Reading small press and indie-published authors. One big benefit to blogging is coming into contact with authors who are independently published or from smaller houses. Again, I have new favorites I may have missed because of limited exposure. I hope my blog has introduced you to some great authors you may have missed otherwise.

No more binge-reading. In the past when I found an author I liked, I read ALL the books! I can remember reading Mindy Starns Clark’s Million Dollar Mysteries straight through. Now due to that pesky schedule, I have to wait to fit in books to read.

Less and less just because books. Again the reading schedule keeps me from reading on a whim. I am trying to allow for more gaps in the schedule to accomodate books that catch my eye and my fancy.

Reading the book first. This is one great perk to book blogging. I often receive books before release dates, making me very smug around my reading friends.  😉

Being in the know 😉 . Being in contact with authors, publicists, and publishers has increased my awareness of new books coming up in the future. It has also increased my book-bullying tendencies and my street cred with my book club. (Insert eye-rolls and raucous laughter here.)

Expanding genres. While I have always been very eclectic in my reading, I have added more books from less favored genres. Contemporary romance and Amish fiction were low on my preferred list, but because of blogging I have must-read authors from those genres now.

All the books — all the time. My reading time has increased with every book that makes its way into my house. It is not unusual for me to be reading 3 books at a time — one hard copy, one on Kindle, and one audiobook.

So there you have it — 10 years of book blogging has filled my shelves and my life with wonderful stories, authors, and experiences. I highly recommend it!


Tools for The Avid Reader — Book Journals

28 Jan

Back in 2007 I started keeping track of the books I read. It is a basic list with title, author and genre. Nothing fancy — no stars, no comments. It is a helpful list to remind me of my reading journey, although a bit unwieldy to peruse. I tried printing it out, but even with two columns per page, I felt I was endangering an entire forest. Wanting to have a bit more info on hand, I became a member of Goodreads. There I log the books I read and the reviews or ratings I gave them. It’s a great tool, but being an old-school reader, I do like a book in hand. After seeing a thread on a FB page I belong to, I bought my first reading log/journal this year. I love it! With a page dedicated to each book, I can document start and finish dates, format, and genre, page count, etc., with space for my review and favorite quotes. The particular log I chose has room for 100 books with a handy “loan” page at the back to document where my books are in the world (and who has them 😉 ). There is also a list of the 100 top books from the PBS Great American Read. Is it a bit overkill? Maybe, but I love having a “hard copy” to leaf through and reminisce about the wonderful book worlds I have visited.

So are there benefits of a book journal, or is it just a book nerd affectation? There are numerous online articles decrying the use of book logs in education, claiming that it kills a child’s developing love for reading. You know how it is — tell a kid to do something and they will do everything else instead.

My friend and super-teacher, Carrie, has these thoughts on reading logs for kids:

They are usseful when done right, but it is hard to maintain the practice if the logs are too long or detailed. While not very successful in my class, it is useful for kids who like to see a visual of their hard work. I use very simple logs. Noah (Carrie’s avid reader son) is religious about filling his out though, and he loves to show how much he has read.

However, I am talking adult book logs/journals. The ones we book lovers voluntarily choose to keep. Journaling is widely praised, so a book journal, should have the same benefits, yes? Studies show journaling produces mental health benefits, fosters creativity, and reinforces writing skills. I maintain these benefits can flow into book journaling too. Writing about what we learned, what sparked our interest to explore a subject more deeply, the emotions that the book evoked, how the themes relate to our own lives, how the characters responded to situations, how it opened doors to new worlds — all of these things can expand our understanding of the world at large and ourselves in particular (kind of like what reading does 😉 ! ). A book journal is really a vehicle to expand on and articulate what the book has started in our minds.

There are a number of pretty journals dedicated to books and reading, like the one I chose, or you can use a bound blank journal or even a spiral notebook or three-ring binder. Whatever works for you and fits your time and budget constraints. Modern Mrs. Darcy (Anne Bogle) even offers a book journaling class!  Yes, I am advocating keeping a reading journal, even though I have failed at every other journaling attempt in my life. We’ll see if it sticks!

Do you book journal?



Books, (e)Books and more (audio)Books!

8 Apr

I have 3 books going right now. That is so unlike me. I usually read only one book at a time, all the way through, to the end. But I have recently taken to listening to a book on my Kindle during the times I cannot read — while ironing, getting ready in the morning, driving around, etc. It is a bit like my GPS reading to me, but you get used to it.  And now I have an iPhone (thanks to my youngest son getting an upgrade), so audiobooks will become a regular feature of my walking time. And I cannot give up the feel of a real book in my hands. So 3 books all at once.

So I have a 2 part question for you:

1) Do you read more than one book at a time?

2) Do you read books in more than one format?

I recently read a very interesting article in The Rotarian (excerpted from One for The Books) by Joe Queenan. Queenan states that he reads a lot of books at one time. Currently he is reading 32 books! Not sure I could ever keep that many books straight. And if I read the article correctly, many of those books do not get finished or are an ongoing project taking years. He also challenges himself to read outside the box — spending a year reading only short books, spending a year reading books by authors from Iceland, etc. His thoughts on reading and books are intriguing and I suspect his book will make it into my collection, just not sure in what format. (It is currently available in hardback, paperback, and a Kindle version.)

Why my ramblings today? Because the same article states that the average American reads only 4 books annually — and is satisfied with that! How about you? Do you read when forced. Or, as I suspect if you are visiting my blog, do you devour books? Let me know your thoughts on reading, book formats, etc.


From Goodreads:

13589121One of America’s leading humorists and author of the bestseller Closing Time examines his own obsession with books

Joe Queenan became a voracious  reader as a means of escape from a joyless childhood in a Philadelphia housing project. In the years since then he has dedicated himself to an assortment of  idiosyncratic reading challenges: spending a year reading only short books, spending a year reading books he always suspected he would hate, spending a year reading books he picked with his eyes closed.

In One for the Books, Queenan tries to come to terms with his own eccentric reading style—how many more books will he have time to read in his lifetime? Why does he refuse to read books hailed  by reviewers as “astonishing”? Why does he refuse to lend out books? Will he ever buy an e-book? Why does he habitually read thirty to forty books simultaneously? Why are there so many people to whom the above questions do not even matter—and what do they read? Acerbically funny yet passionate and oddly affectionate, One for the Books is a reading experience that true book lovers will find unforgettable.


27MISHAN-articleInlineJoe Queenan is a humorist, critic and author from Philadelphia who graduated from Saint Joseph’s University. He has written for numerous publications, such as Spy Magazine, TV Guide, Movieline, The Guardian and theNew York Times Book Review. He has written eight books, including Balsamic Dreams, a scathing critique of the Baby Boomers, Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon, a tour of low-brow American pop culture and Imperial Caddy, a fairly scathing view of Dan Quayle and the American Vice-Presidency.

Queenan’s work is noted for his caustic wit.