Books 2021: A Finale

As I write this, I suppose some of you will be toasting the New Year, some may even be seeing the first morning of 2022. I’m wishing for all of us that this coming year will be more encouraging and upbeat than the one we’re leaving behind.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was FINALE – and last night I finished the last book in my 2021 GoodReads reading challenge. At the beginning of last year I set a goal of reading 80 books in 2021, and I accomplished that. In fact I surpassed it, as the book I just finished was #125. Mind you, some of these were simple children’s books – but every book counts.

The shortest book was 32 pages, a children’s book called MAC & CHEESE, by Sarah Weeks, a tale about two cat friends. “Macaroni and Cheese are best friends, yet they couldn’t be more different! Mac likes to pounce and bounce and jump, but Cheese just sits there like a lump.” But one day Cheese has just the answer Mac needs for his problem.

The longest book is actually a three-volume set, Apple Orchard Mysteries, 639 pages in all. A quick easy read with characters who are ditzy and wise-crackers rather than clever. If you’re looking for a good mystery and MC’s with some sense, forget about these and go for Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple + Hercule Poirot, or Dan Walsh’s When Night Comes (#1 in the Jack Turner Series.) In 2021 I reread almost all Diana Xarissa’s Markham Sisters, very mild cozy mystery series. Funny that I liked these so much and her Isle of Man series featuring “Aunt Bessie” not that much.

Book #125 may have been my last read, but I gave it five stars. DON’T EAT THE PUFFIN: Tales From a Travel Writer’s Life by Jules Brown, is delightfully descriptive, written with humour and respect for the environment, the locals and their customs. He’s even embedded You tube links in a few of his stories so readers can get a glimpse of the sights he saw. In his last chapter he pays a warm tribute to his brave, open-minded father who lived in 47 countries and visited thirty more. I read it one chapter at a time over several weeks, savoring all his adventures – though not all the food he consumes. It was well worth the journey!

Brown, a travel writer by profession has written several travel books and blogs at https://julestoldme.com where he recounts his many adventures abroad. He writes for a travel company, but has his own book publishing company, Trust-Me Travel, his own You Tube channel, and posts on Facebook @ JulesBrownWriter. His next book, likewise sharing some common sense travel advice is NEVER PACK AN ICE PICK.

Now I shall close, wishing you good health, blessings and comforts in the new year.

Spiralling Thoughts

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is COIL.

Which of course calls to mind small coil-bound notebooks; I’ve half a dozen of these kicking around with misc verses and inspirations, abandoned or to be polished and posted someday.

I was given this small notebook as a Thank You for helping with a writers’ workshop. I immediately started filling it with haiku — a style I learned about at that workshop. It’s a cheapie but its hard cover made it easy to take along while travelling, so many impression were captured fresh from the stream. Here are some scribbles waiting to be spiffed up and posted someday.

Do you have a similar collection of scribblers holding your assorted thoughts? Maybe January’s a good month to deal with some of this under-developed inspiration? One at a time eventually gets the job done. Or, as Solomon once said, “Who hath despised the day of small things?”

Season’s Greetings

It’s still Christmas Eve here where we live, so a good time to send warmest wishes to my friends, readers, and fellow bloggers all around the world.

I hope that those of you who are gathering with family have a great day, and those of you who –like us– intend to spend the day by yourselves, I wish you pleasant hours doing something you really enjoy. Plus some time for reflecting on the meaning of Christmas, good times you’ve had in the past, and your dreams for the future.

I expect my time will be divided between a bit of housework, reading, and working on a long-put-off sewing project. I’m in the process of piecing a blanket top from left-over fabrics. Since it’s supposed to be about -22 C I will leave outdoor activities for a milder day, but will trudge out a time or two to feed the sparrows that gather on our hedge and peer in hopefully.

We had a fresh snowfall yesterday, which will give us a lovely white Christmas Day, but it makes foraging difficult for the birds. People who read my blogs have said “You’ve got -30 C! (Our predicted low tomorrow night.) How is it everything isn’t frozen solid there?” But the sparrows — tiny, flimsy things, with bare feet even! — survive temps of -50. I suppose a scientist can explain it, but I just marvel.

Comfy Cat

Good morning everyone. It’s going to be a nice day here, with an unseasonably mild high of -9 C –16 F– if the forecast is right. And this is our FIRST DAY of the solar year, you might say: we had our shortest day yesterday so we can look forward to a few more minutes of daylight every day.

I seem to have a set amount of sleep time in my old age: more-or-less five hours. I went to bed early last night — about 11:30, that is — and woke up at 4:10 this morning. With a bit of a headache, so I decided to get up and feed the cats, have a cup of coffee, check the Ragtag Daily Prompt. Now I’m going through my Word Perfect Docs file and decided to post a few previously unpublished verses.

Here’s something that happens regularly at this office:

cat sprawls out
in the warm desk chair
writer’s coffee break

And if we want our chair back, we’ve found it’s most effective if we rustle the bag of cat treats.