Books I Abandoned in 2014

Books I Abandoned in 2014

I made a commitment last year to quit books if I wasn’t enjoying them. I still wanted to talk about those books a little because even though I didn’t like them, you might.  And if you loved a book I abandoned feel free to tell me what I missed out on!

The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini

The Other Normals

by Ned Vizzini

Release Date: September 25, 2012

Given the chance, fifteen-year-old Peregrine “Perry” Eckert would dedicate every waking moment to Creatures & Caverns, an epic role-playing game rich with magical creatures, spell casting, and deadly weapons. The world of C&C is where he feels most comfortable in his own skin. But that isn’t happening–not if his parents have anything to do with it. Concerned their son lacks social skills, they ship him off to summer camp to become a man. They want him to be outdoors playing with kids his own age and meeting girls–rather than indoors alone, with only his gaming alter ego for company. Perry knows he’s in for the worst summer of his life.

Everything changes, however, when Perry gets to camp and stumbles into the World of the Other Normals. There he meets Mortin Enaw, one of the creators of C&C, and other mythical creatures from the game, including the alluring Ada Ember, whom Perry finds more beautiful than any human girl he’s ever met. Perry’s new otherworldly friends need his help to save their princess and prevent mass violence. As they embark on their quest, Perry realizes that his nerdy childhood has uniquely prepared him to be a great warrior in this world, and maybe even a hero. But to save the princess, Perry will have to learn how to make real connections in the human world as well.

Bestselling author Ned Vizzini delivers a compulsively readable and wildly original story about the winding and often hilarious path to manhood.

Why I abandoned it: I made it to page 77 which is when the conflict started to show up and it just didn’t interest me. Kiss the girl to save the world wasn’t enough to pull me in. Having a role playing game come to life was an interesting idea. I like how it ties in the role playing game to change his real life but…I was bored since I’m not into role playing games.  I just felt disconnected from the story.  As far as content there were a few f-words and some crude sexual references.

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World's Strongest Librarian

The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family

by Josh Hanagarne

Release Date: May 2, 2013

The World’s Strongest Librarian illuminates the mysteries of this little-understood disorder, as well as the very different worlds of strongman training and modern libraries. With humor and candor, this unlikely hero traces his journey to overcome his disability — and navigate his wavering Mormon faith — to find love and create a life worth living.

Why I abandoned it: I stopped reading at 62%. I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. His childhood was so interesting to read about. He talks about growing up Mormon, his family whom he loved a lot, and the struggles he had with bullying. When there were about 3 hours left in the 8 hour audiobook, I just didn’t feel like reading anymore. There had been a lot of f-words which I don’t enjoy but the main reason I put this one down was because when he gets to his adult life, he goes in this vicious circle of going to school, quitting school, getting a job, quitting a job because it was hard for him to do these things with Tourrettes. I liked his honesty about his life but at the same time I didn’t see why I should continue listening to the audiobook. At the beginning of each chapter he talks about experiences he has at the library he works at in Salt Lake City so I know he becomes a librarian. I just didn’t see why it would take three more hours to get to that point.  This is a nice way of me saying that I got bored. I feel like I learned a lot from what I did read. I have more empathy and understanding of what Tourettes is. I think if you aren’t Mormon and want to learn more about Mormon culture in a funny and bluntly honest way, then this book might be for you (if you don’t mind the strong language). I didn’t think this was a terrible book in any way but I feel like it’s time for me to move on.

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

by Neil Gaiman

Release Date: June 18, 2013

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

Why I abandoned it: I stopped reading at 39%. Wow. Horror is just not for me. I can’t handle graphic and disturbing.  I was invested in the story and the writing was good so I went to wiki and read the plot summary to see how things work out.  In short, things do not work out.  It’s horror. That’s how it goes.  I’m glad I tried it.  Horror is one of the only genres I list as one I won’t read and it feels nice to have that confirmed.  The fact that I hated it says that this was excellent horror for any horror fans out there.

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The Unhappening of Genesis Lee

The Unhappening of Genesis Lee

by Shallee McArthur

Release Date: November 18, 2014

Seventeen-year-old Genesis Lee has never forgotten anything. As one of the Mementi—a small group of genetically-enhanced humans—Gena remembers everything with the help of her Link bracelets, which preserve memories perfectly. But Links can be stolen, and six people have already lost their lives to a memory thief, including Gena’s best friend.

Anyone could be next. Which is why Gena is less than pleased to meet a strange but charming boy named Kalan who claims that they’ve not only met, but that Gena knows who the thief is.

The problem is, Gena doesn’t remember Kalan, she doesn’t remember seeing the thief, and she doesn’t know why she’s forgetting things— or how much else she might forget. As growing tensions between Mementi and ordinary humans drive the city of Havendale into chaos, Gena and Kalan team up to search for the thief. And as Gena loses more memories, they realize they have to solve the mystery fast.

Because Gena’s life is unhappening around her.

Why I abandoned it: I stopped reading at 26%. The writing was good but I just couldn’t get into the story. I didn’t care that much about the memories being stolen.  Since memories being stolen was the whole point of the book, I didn’t see it working out between us.  It’s not you book – it’s me.  Well, not really.  I felt like the conflict needed to developed a little more.  But the world building is unique and if you’re looking for something new, give it a try. If you care by a quarter of the way through this might be a good match for you.

Banner Image Credit

New Years Resolutions 2015

New Years Resolutions 2015

I want to focus on my kids more this year. They are getting older and I’m starting to feel like they are growing up too fast and I’m missing it! I’ve been obsessed with cleaning my house because clutter stresses me out, but switching to a new schedule where I only clean at night when they are in bed has helped me focus on them more.  I also like cleaning at night because it gives me some alone time with audiobooks.  I’ll be honest though.  A long day with kids drains me and I’m struggling with finding the energy to clean from 9-10 pm.  Hopefully the audiobooks will help motivate me :) I do look forward to them.  Here are the things I want to do with my kids this year:

  • Read books to them – I want to focus on chapter books that I didn’t get to read as a child or ones that I loved as a kid.  I didn’t read a lot of Roald Dahl as a kid but I think my kids are at the perfect age to read his books.  The first book I want to pass on to my kids that I loved was Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks.  I really hope to pass on my love of reading to them with fun books and also so I don’t have to read anymore of those Beast Quest books (they are quite terrible).
  • Create more traditions – even for the small holidays. I don’t want to go too crazy here because I’m lazy.  That’s also why I want to make an effort to at least acknowledge holidays and do something simple and fun so I can make memories with my kids and help make it special and have some fun too.
  • Play more! I want to do fun things with them during the day.  I want to be remembered as a good mom and I have turned into an old stick in the mud who doesn’t do anything.  I would love to teach them card games, board games, and do art projects.  I would also like to go places with them like the museum, the park, the planetarium etc.
  • Just say yes.  I saw this on My Life and Kids and she says that it’s the best parenting tip she’s ever gotten.  My kids ask me all day to do things like: play basketball, help them find tape, build something with legos, play monopoly.  I don’t have to make much of an effort to have fun with them if I just say yes to the things they already want to do.
  • Do chores with them. Having a cleaner house will help reduce my stress and it would be a great way to teach my kids and spend time with them.  I also like trying to come up with fun games to get them to do chores.  Laundry basketball where we throw the clothes into the washer machine and hampers is a big hit.
  • Reading Parties.  Ally Condie said at one of her book signings that as a kid her family would go to the book store and buy books then get treats and they would all read together.  It sounds like a blast and I want to try it.
  • Write in my journal.  I love writing in my journal.  I’m only a few months behind so this is just a habit I want to keep up.
  • Read my scriptures.   Still in the Old Testament but I’m really enjoying it.
  • Catch up on recording family memories.  I need to put home movies on DVD, make photo albums, finish the kids baby books and the last scrapbook I’m ever doing ever. I hate scrapbooking.  Only for my kids as babies.
  • Reduce stress. I don’t think I’ve ever had a goal in my life to relax more.  My goals usually involve doing more stuff and making more lists.  I want to have less clutter in my house, have more reading time, less debt, less commitments, and less grocery shopping.  I bought shelves so I can stock up on things and not go every stupid week!
  • Do yoga with my son.  This is part of relaxing.  I really like yoga.  I don’t have exercise in my routine yet, but I think strength training with yoga will help.
  • Get a new, comfy mattress and bed frame.  When I’m not having nightmares about dinosaurs, I dream of having a mattress that isn’t broken and a bed frame that doesn’t sag.
  • Read a 1000+ page book.  I have done this for years.  I did it last year and I’m excited to do it again! I even made of list of 100 page books that I have read in the past and ones I still want to read.
  • Read all my book club books.  I might do a post about my book club in more detail (the books we are reading, organization etc) but I really want to make sure I read every single book club book this year.
  • Stay within my budget.  I have an app that tells me how much money I have left.  I should really just check it.
  • Go clothes shopping every month. I have money set aside for clothes but oh how I hate clothes shopping.  I was going to do this last year but then I had a baby and that threw a wrench in my plans.  I need everything.  Most of my clothes are years and years old, don’t fit and are faded/torn/stained etc.  I have made a little progress so far. I have new boots so I don’t have to wear open flats in the snow! I also got two new pairs of jeans.
  • Fix my search page. I want it to have a header that says “Search results for x…” but I haven’t quite been able to figure it out.  I might have to write some php or something but I think I can do it.
  • Manage social media. I want to be better and a little more organized at cross posting my new blog posts on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Maybe have a paper planner for my blog. I just got a Passion Planner to organize my daily life.  Even though they are back ordered through February, you can print it and use it now.  After a week I’m already loving it.  I feel less stress and I remember my goals and to do lists much better.  Having a digital planner with a red number that always said “34” was so stressful to me.  I stopped looking at it all together and I often forgot important things.  I’m wondering if I should get a paper planner for  my blog.  Possibly the one that Parajunkee makes for book bloggers. 
  • Make new, trendy social media buttons.  I made the social media buttons for my friends blog and I like that they are just the logo and they change color! So cool!
  • Find a new way to read and keep track of blogs.  The biggest thing on my wish list is finding something that allows to read AND comment on blogs from my phone.  I haven’t found anything I like yet but I want to keep looking.  Do you have any great tips or apps that you use to read blogs? I’d love to hear them!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions this year?

Image Credit 

A Year of Reading 2014

A Year of Reading 2014

The questions for this survey came from The Perpetual Page Turner’s blog.

I love doing end of year recaps.  I did this same survey for the first time last year.  I also did a post of the best books I read in 2014 and the best books I read in 2013.  You can also check out my recap posts for 2012 and 2011 too. :)

Books read: 50  (same from 2013)

Pages read: 15242 (-2952 from 2013)

Average pages per book: 305 (-50 from 2013)

Books Re-Read in 2014: None! This might be the first year that I didn’t reread any books.

DNF Books for 2014: 4 (This is also the first year that I decided to quit a book if I wasn’t liking it)

Reviews written: 47

Books read written by women: 34

Books read written by men: 16

Most Read Genre: Besides Young Adult, it was fantasy according to this lovely chart :)

GenreAmount
Adult Fiction5
Audiobook9
Childrens4
Classic8
Contemporary4
Dystopian6
Epic Poetry0
Fairy Tale3
Fantasy10
Fiction0
Historical Fiction3
Horror0
Humor3
Memoir5
Middle Grade2
Mystery1
Mythology1
Non-fiction8
Novella1
Paranormal Romance4
Post Apocalyptic0
Retelling5
Romance9
Science Fiction5
Self Help2
Star Wars0
Steampunk0
Supernatural1
Young Adult21

Total Money Spent on Books: $165.79

Shortest Book Read: The Too-Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo (32 pages)

Longest Book Read: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1276 pages)

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Best Book Award

 

It was hard to pick, but as I went over all the books that I gave 5 stars this year, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is the one that was the most unique, the one that I still think about, and the one that moved me the most.

 

Favorite Quotes

“Parents of young children are always acting. You act excited to read a story for the five-hundredth time. You act impressed someone went to the bathroom on the toilet. The excitement I show to some of the children’s scribbles should get me a Golden Globe nomination.”

― Jim GaffiganDad Is Fat

“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.”

― Susan CainQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

 

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?

My friend Karena joined the blogosphere mostly because I designed her blog for her ;) She has more of a writer blog than book blog but she does talk about books so you should go check out her blog, Discovery Writer.

I also love Apocalypse Booked who loves science fiction, especially Star Wars, like I do.  I love her reading lists. What a cool idea!

I’m always excited to find other Utah bloggers and I was lucky to find Bookmark Dragon this year!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?

Let’s be honest. Hate reviews are SO much fun to write.  They are even more fun to write about classics and my review for Journey to the Center of the Earth was the most fun I had writing a review in a long time :) It was quite cathartic to get all those annoyances off my chest.

” Journey to the Center of the Earth was incredibly slow.  It took 100 pages for them to get to the volcano, walk around, and run out of water.”See the rest of my review here.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I loved hearing people’s thoughts on how they deal with racism in classic novels.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

The best even I went to this year was by far the Laini Taylor book signing! Her speech was so inspiring and she was delightful to meet.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

Trying NaNoWriMo was the best! Maybe I failed, but I was still proud of what I learned about myself and that I gave writing a shot.  I think writing doesn’t work in my life right now, but I’m going to try it again in a few years.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

If I’m going by by page views my most popular post was The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells. It got a top ten google ranking for some reason and it got twice the hits that even my home page did.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I learned so much about Vikings from the book Divide and Conquer and it was a blast to write the Google Diary post for it but it didn’t get any comments.  It’s awesome! Really! Go look! :)

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Audiobooks! I had never listened to audiobooks before and I honestly didn’t think I would like them.  I set a challenge to listen to at least 2 in a year to try them out and I ended up listening to 11 of them. They are the best thing to listen to while doing other things I hate like cleaning my house or exercising.

A lot of these challenges are a fail but part of that is because I’m 7 reviews behind.  Oh well.  I’m still very proud of finishing the audiobook challenge and how close I got on a lot of the other challenges.  I think I won’t sign up for so many this year :)  The Classics Club is an ongoing challenge and I’m glad to say I read 5 books towards that challenge this year.

Series Challenge 2014

Series Challenge 2014

Host: Read. Sleep. Repeat.
My Summary Post
Progress: 5/6 (83%)
1 January, 2014 — 31 December, 2014
Failed

83%

TBR Pile 2014

TBR Pile 2014

Host: Bookish
My Summary Post
Progress: 8/10 (80%)
1 January, 2014 — 31 December, 2014
Failed

80%

eBook Challenge 2014

eBook Challenge 2014

Host: Workaday Reads
My Summary Post
Progress: 24/25 (96%)
1 January, 2014 — 31 December, 2014
Failed

96%

Book to Movie Challenge 2014

Book to Movie Challenge 2014

Host: Doing Dewey
My Summary Post
Progress: 4/6 (67%)
1 January, 2014 — 31 December, 2014
Failed

67%

Dystopia Challenge 2014

Dystopia Challenge 2014

Host: Blog of Erised
My Summary Post
Progress: 4/12 (33%)
1 January, 2014 — 31 December, 2014
Failed

33%

Witches and Witchcraft Challenge 2014

Witches and Witchcraft Challenge 2014

Host: Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf
My Summary Post
Progress: 1/3 (33%)
1 January, 2014 — 31 December, 2014
Failed

33%

Chunkster Challenge 2014

Chunkster Challenge 2014

Host: Chunkster Reading Challenge
My Summary Post
Progress: 4/5 (80%)
1 January, 2014 — 31 December, 2014
Failed

80%

Audiobook Challenge 2014

Audiobook Challenge 2014

Host: The Book Nympho and Hot Listens
My Summary Post
Progress: 11/2 (550%)
1 January, 2014 — 31 December, 2014
Completed!

550%

Fairy Tales Retold Challenge 2014

Fairy Tales Retold Challenge 2014

Host: Debz Bookshelf
My Summary Post
Progress: 3/3 (100%)
1 January, 2014 — 31 December, 2014
Completed!

100%

Diversity on the Shelf 2014

Diversity on the Shelf 2014

Host: My Little Pocket Books
My Summary Post
Progress: 0/3 (0%)
1 January, 2014 — 31 December, 2014
Failed

0%

Standalone Challenge 2014

Standalone Challenge 2014

Host: Icey Books
My Summary Post
Progress: 6/15 (40%)
1 January, 2014 — 31 December, 2014
Failed

40%

Classic Double Challenge 2014

Classic Double Challenge 2014

Host: One Librarian's Book Reviews
My Summary Post
Progress: 2/2 (100%)
1 January, 2014 — 31 December, 2014
Completed!

100%

Classics Club

Classics Club

Host: Classics Club
My Summary Post
Progress: 5/50 (10%)
1 January, 2014 — 1 January, 2019
In Progress

10%

How Much Did I Spend on Books in 2014?

How Much Did I Spend on Books in 2014?

Since I keep such detailed records of how many books I get and from where in my Mailbox posts, I wanted to go through all of them and see how much money I spent on books in a year.  I thought it would be a lot more than it actually was!  At the very least I have data to show my husband that I don’t spend that much on books. Relatively speaking to like cable or something :)

Hardcover

  • Infinity Ring #3 – $5 at a Scholastic Book Fair
  • Infinity Ring #4 – $5 at a Scholastic Book Fair
  • Ender’s Game Collector’s Hardcover – $22.50 at Barnes and Noble
  • We Were Liars – $11 at Walmart on a whim
  • Rump – $14 for book club from Amazon
  • Goodnight Darth Vader – $15 at Barnes and Noble for Star Wars Reads Day
  • Darth Vader and Son –  $15 at Barnes and Noble for Star Wars Reads Day
  • Vader’s Little Princess – $15 at Barnes and Noble for Star Wars Reads Day

Total Hardcover: $102.50

Total Hardcovers Purchased: 8

Average per hardcover: $12.81

Paperback

  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone – $10 at a signing from The King’s English
  • Speaker for the Dead – $7.99 at a signing at Barnes and Noble
  • Children of the Mind – $8.99 at a signing at Barnes and Noble

Total Paperback: $26.98

Total Paperbacks Purchased: 3

Average per paperback: $8.99

Ebooks

All ebooks were purchased from Amazon for my Kindle Paperwhite

  • Count of Monte Cristo – $6.60
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – $1.99
  • Coraline – $1.99
  • The Shadow Throne – $9.17
  • A Touch of Scarlet -$0
  • Quiet – $0.20
  • Assassins’ Curse – $0
  • The Pirates Wish – $0
  • A Little Princess – $0.07
  • Of Poseidon – $0.30
  • Dreams of Gods and Monsters – $0.67
  • Year of Living Biblically – $1.05
  • Scarlet – $2.12
  • Unbroken – $2.99
  • If I Stay – $2.99
  • The Martian – $3.20
  • Witch of Duva – $0.99
  • The Too-Clever Fox – $0.99
  • Little Knife – $0.99

Total Ebooks: $36.31

Total Ebooks Purchased: 19

Average per Ebook: $1.91

What’s interesting about these numbers is I bought more than double the amount of ebooks than I did hardcovers but the hardcovers cost me three times as much. Basically I get way more books for my money with ebooks than I do hardcovers.  I feel more inclined to hoard books that I might want to read someday if it’s a cheap ebook than I am a cheap hardcover.  I reserve hardcovers for books I’m getting signed or special occasions but I also buy less of them.

One stat that is skewing the ebook numbers is the fact that I got a credit from the antitrust lawsuit for $24.34.  If I add that into my numbers that means I spent a total of $60.65 on ebooks with an average of $3.19 per book.

Total Spent on Books in 2014 Overall

 $165.79*

*However, I did get a $24.34 credit from the antitrust lawsuit from Amazon so I would have spent more like $190.13 (making the average per book $6.34).  Yeah I buy a lot of ebooks….

Number of books purchased: 30

Average per book overall: $5.53

I was sure I spent like $400 on books a year so this is great news!  Keep in mind that I read about 50 books a year and I have a lot of books sitting on my shelf waiting to be read so I do make an effort to not buy new books unless I’m getting it signed or it’s on sale.  I also have a great library system that I take advantage of and I did not include audiobooks in these calculations that I got from my Audible subscription.

I got the idea for this post from a poll that Book Riot did that asked it’s readers to estimate how much they spend on books every year.  I guess I’m very below average! The average from that poll was $718 a year.

How much do you spend on books every year?

Cover Photo credit: 401kcalculator.org

Book Club Christmas Party

Book Club Christmas Party

You may not know this but I host a book club in my neighborhood.  We had an awesome Christmas book exchange on December 2. I wanted to blog about it in case anyone wants some fun ideas for their book club.

There was tons of food. Thank you Brit for modeling the food for us :)

IMG_1332

 

There was:

  • Pistachio Pudding
  • Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Bread
  • Heath Bar Fruit Dip
  • Christmas Crack
  • Baked Taquitos
  • Cheese Ball and Crackers
  • Lettuce Wraps
  • Bruschetta
  • Meatballs
  • Chicken Club Squares
  • Soy Soaked Cream Cheese with Crackers

And it was so yummy. I’m really glad I didn’t eat dinner because I had seconds of everything.

Everyone brought their favorite book and we had a book exchange.

IMG_1350

 

Here’s everyone before the gift exchange begins! (Sorry some of them are blurry!!)

We passed around presents using this rhyme.

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, Give your gift to someone to whom you’ve talked today.

Sleigh bells ring, ring, ring and ring into the night,Give your gift to the person who’s directly on your right.

Hark the herald angels singing from above, Give your gift to someone whose shirt or shoes you love.

The little drummer boy is drumming a song for two, Your gift will now go to the person furthest from you.

Rudolph the reindeer’s nose was very very red, To your left the present now goes, Santa’s elves said.

Santa Claus is coming faster than you know, Give it to anyone you want because now you’re a pro!

Joy to the world and all that good cheer, Give the gift to someone who’s wearing earrings in their ear.

Deck the halls with boughs, of holly red and green, Share your gift with someone whom you sit between.

Silent nights aren’t so silent when you have a kid, Pass your gift to someone to whom you already did.

Go tell it on a mountain that the game is so nearly done!, Toss your present to someone who looks like they’re having fun.

We wish you a merry christmas and want you to know this is the last, Give your final gift to someone you haven’t in the past.

Sometimes someone would end up with more than one gift from a line in the poem and then they would just give out more on the next line.  Dayna ended up with a bunch once!

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Each person opened the present they ended up with one at a time so we could hear why it was the favorite of the person who brought it.  Here’s the stack of books opened.

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I got a reading journal for everyone.  I tried to make it look like a tree when they were all stacked.

IMG_1326

Merry Christmas everyone!!

What are some things you love doing for you book club at Christmas time?