Celebrating ~200 Books in 6 Months!

“We did it, Kimmi!” Mom crowed this morning. “Time to par-tay!!

Mom’s so pumped today.  She’s flitting around the house, practically dancing. So embarrassing.

Wait. Someone say “another dog biscuit?” Okay. Any time I get extra treats must be a good time. And you know I’m always up for a good time.

So, what’s the occasion? Mom says, “We just about reached our 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge today! Almost 200 books from January 1 to June 30. That’s nearly our entire goal for the year in just six months! Woo-hoo!”

Anything for a party.

The exact number of books we’ve read in six months is 198. (That’s what the ~ means in the title. It means “almost.”) Short. Medium. Long. And I’m not talking fur coats, if ya know what I mean.

You can read more here. Also:

Judging from the extra treats, that must mean something. Something really good.

You know I like to help. I’m a Helper Extraordinaire, according to Her Mom-ness. Not sure what means. All I did was curl up in her lap and keep her company through like, eight zillion pages. (That counts, even though I spent most of the time snoozing, right?) I walked to the library with her so many times, I thought we were changing addresses. And listened to like, seven zillion audio books. Helped her figure out Overdrive.

Hmmm. Now that I think about it, I did a lot to help Mom reach this part of her Reading Challenge. There’s no telling what she’s going to do the rest of the year. Got any ideas?

Me? I just hope she doesn’t ask me to Cha-Cha. Oh dear…

 

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Beaches, Birthdays, and Books

I kind of forgot. Screaming down the freeway with the wind in my fur. Incredible smells zipping past my open window. Mom doing that “sing thing” behind the wheel.

I thought we were headed to The Big Book Place, as usual. But Mom keeps going. Right past the double doors. Hangs a right near the Big Blue. Is that salt air? Sea gulls? A discarded Big Mac?

Oh happy day!

We hit the beach running. Mom hollers, “Happy birthday Kimmi! You’re two years old today!” She brought a blanket, books, the frisbee, and a lunch basket. And extra treats.

Did I say Oh happy day yet?

Mom reminds that today is my birthday. Not sure what that means. But she seems happy about it. So I am too. She also says I’m two years old today. Whatever that means.

Sea gull!

Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah. The beach. Birthdays. Books.

You know Mom can’t seem to go anywhere without a book bag crammed with book thingies. Here’s today’s haul:

Looks good to me!

Now. Who’s game for a little frisbee tag and a lot of shake-off-the-water-ing?

You’re it! Betcha can’t catch the birthday girl!

REAL DADS: Not Just One Sunday in June

Dad Naas Scan 2

It’s Father’s Day. Time for a card or two. A new tie. Maybe breakfast in bed or a nice dinner out. But have you noticed? There’s something off-kilter about a culture that spends 364 days a year belittling dear old dad, then turns around to “honor” him on one Sunday in June.

Sadly, we live in a time and place where dads are often viewed or portrayed as: 1) Bumbling oafs who can’t tie their shoes without written instructions; 2) Insensitive clods and boorish louts or; 3) Invisible and irrelevant. Like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without peanut butter. Or jelly. Or bread.

What Does It Mean?

There’s a fair amount of confusion about what constitutes a “real dad.” Some equate dadness with volume, brute force, or beer bellies. They think the dude who sires a string of children and then disappears without a trace makes the yahoo a “father.” Or “dad” is the lunkhead who throws his weight around because there’s plenty of it. There’s a word for these kinds of guys. And it’s not “dad.” (Since this is a G-rated blog, you’ll have to fill in the blanks yourself.)

Real Dads

Real Dads can be hard to find these days. There are plenty of fakes. Just turn on the TV. But the Real Deal is still around. And often unsung.

A Real Dad is decent, hard-working, and upstanding. A Real Dad takes his family, job, and responsibilities seriously. He gets outside himself to benefit others. A Real Dad puts his family first. Even when it’s “inconvenient.” Sometimes especially when it’s inconvenient.

Faucets, Flicks and Foregoing

Real Dads fix leaky faucets. Hang pictures or wall paper (without killing anyone). Walk on the outside of the sidewalk, nearest the street. Endure chick flicks without complaint. A Real Dad may toil long hours in a thankless job to keep a roof over his family’s heads and put food on the table. Forego Monday Night Football to cheer a child’s Little League game. Put up a tent in the rain. Do dishes. Clean up dog barf. Teach junior how to slide into second without breaking anything. Stay home with the kids so Mom can have lunch out with the ladies.

Go Get Them

Real Dads take 1:00 a.m. phone calls in the middle of a sleep-over – come get me Daddy, I’m scared – and break every land-speed record on the books in the process. They attend daughter’s tea parties, scrunch their knees into their chins in those made-for-kindergartener chairs. Down gallons of pretend tea and wear those funny little party hats like they’re dining with royalty. Because they know they are.

Real Dads may not always know how to express themselves. They may have a hard time finding the words to tell the wife and kids how much they mean to him. So they do instead of say, speaking the language of self-sacrifice, service and grace.

Real Dads

  • Don coat and tie and conduct somber graveside services for dead gold fish and neon tetras.
  • Remove their hats, hold ’em over their heart and sing about rockets’ red glare, bombs bursting in air as their eyes mist.
  • Burn Christmas Eve and the wee hours of December 25 assembling brand new purple Schwinns.
  • Open those stupid pickle jar lids.
  • Spend an entire afternoon traipsing from store to store in the mall with the wife or kids, pretending they’re having a great time.
  • Say Yes when they can and No when they should.
  • Have arms that embrace, shield and protect. Their shoulders are big enough to ride, cry on, and hide behind.
  • Pray. And teach their kids to pray.
  • Are never quite thanked enough.

Real Dads cement a protective wall around the fam as no one else can. Real Dads stand on that wall, often alone, and patrol. Real Dads put any lurking menace or stalking evil on notice with, “Not on my watch. You’ll have to come through me first, and I’m here for keeps.”

With Dad at Neff

How do I know? Because my dad was a Real Dad. And not just on one Sunday in June.

***

This post was previously published on June 16, 2013.

Celebrate “Great Outdoors Month” With These Awesome Outdoor Reads!

Frozen Lake Trail out of Sunrise, Mount Rainier National Park.

June is Great Outdoors Month. I love this month because… well… um… I love June because Mom loves June. And I love everything Mom loves. (Except broccoli. Gag me with roughage!)

Back to June. Check it out: Hiking! Frisbee tossing! Swimming! Canoeing! Frisbee chasing! Kayaking! Fishing! Frisbee-ing! Picnicking! Biking! Frisbees! The beach, the mountains, the desert, the plains!

Did I mention Frisbees?

Anyway, when it comes to books about The Great Outdoors, Gary Paulsen titles top our list. Every time.

Mom says Paulsen’s a three-time Newberry Award-wining author. I have no idea what that means. Can you eat it?

More importantly, Paulsen is a super duper dog lover. Told he’s brilliant.

Paulsen’s writing style is spare and lean to the point of terse. No excess fat. Brisk as an autumn breeze. Quick as a greyhound. Or me.

Reading any of the Paulsen books below would be a great way to celebrate Great Outdoors Month. You still have time to knock out a couple or more this month.

Some of our favorites:

  1. Hatchet –Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson’s small plane goes down in the Canadian wilderness. He’s alone, except for a tattered windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present. It will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive. Newberry winner.
  2. Dogsong (pretty obvious, huh?).  Oogruk the shaman owns the last team of dogs in the village. He alone understands Russel’s longing for the old ways and the songs that celebrated them. Driven by a strange and powerful dream and by a burning desire to find his own song, Russel takes Oogruk’s dogs on an epic journey of self-discovery that will change his life forever.
  3. The River – Book two of the Brian saga. The government sends Brian back to the Canadian wilderness.
  4. Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod –  Paulsen writes about his experience running his team of dogs in this famous race. Snowstorms, frostbite, dogfights, moose attacks, sleeplessness, and hallucinations in the relentless push to go on.
  5. Wood Song – Paulsen has survived a dogsled crash and a fall down a frozen waterfall, a bear attack, and running the grueling Iditarod. In this vivid, vibrant book, the author recounts the experiences that shaped his life and inspired his award-winning writing.
  6. My Life in Dog Years – Don’t make me explain this.

Oh yeah. Nothing about broccoli. I like this Gary guy more and more.

Honorable mentions:

 

What are your favorite outdoor books and authors?

Kimber the Amazing Frisbee Chasing, Book-Loving Dog!

 

Rockin’ It This Summer With Reading

Kimber The Reading Dog.

Mom’s at it again. She’s skipping merrily around the house, opening every window in sight.  Humming that Temptations song. You know the one. About sunshine on a cloudy day.

Here in the ever-soggy Pacific Northwest, we take whatever we can get in the “sunshine” department. Maybe that explains Mom lately. Why she keeps crowing, “Summer’s comin’! Woo-hoo!”

Has anyone found my frisbee? Cuz frankly, what’s summer without a nice, chewy, frisbee?

Well. According to Her Mom-ness, “summer” also means the library’s summer adult reading program. Last year she read 136 books in 92 days. This year there’s a “limit”: Twenty books.

What’s up with that?

Anyway, this year’s theme is Libraries Rock. Some brain surgeon (The Powder Puff?) decided to combine the adult program with the children’s and teen reading programs. A one-size-fits-none kind of deal.

The sign-up form for tracking your reading progress includes stuff like coloring, singing a song or learning five new words. You write this down every time you finish a book.

Is there a shortage of grown-up Taste of the Wild in the building?

Not to worry. You know Mom and me and books. We’re not going to let something this silly slow us down. No siree, Lassie!

We’ve read eight books and one audio book since we signed up on June 1. Coloring notwithstanding, we’re gonna “rock” this summer. Reading highlights so far:

And a re-read of an old favorite: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

Another stand out: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin.

It’s post-WWII Europe with a catch. A big one: Hitler won. Now a survivor of Nazi experimentation in a death camp, Yael is on a mission to win a race and kill Hitler.

“I couldn’t put it down!” says Her Mom-ness. “It’s a barn burner.” Maybe I should grab a fire extinguisher?

I’d say more, but I feel another skipping session coming on.

 

Meanwhile, have you signed up for your library’s summer reading program? What are your reading goals for this summer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock skipping photo credit: Flickr – Creative Commons License

‘Knows-ing’ Into Books, Kimber Style

I nosed my way into Mom’s ‘bookish’ blog awhile back. Kind of like the way I nose into a New York steak. Top sirloin. Meatloaf.

Nobody’s perfect.

Anyway, Mom says a whole raft of new readers have recently joined us. I’m not sure what that means. But if Mom’s happy, I’m happy. See my tail wagging?

I just want to say Thanks for joining us and Welcome!

Now then. Mom thinks some “introductions” may be in order. So here goes:

My name is Kimber. I’m a “rescue dog.” Part Golden Retriever. Part black Lab. A lot Border Collie. That accounts for my smarts and my speed. Mom says both are Off The Charts. Whatever that means.

By way of background, I joined my forever family in August 2016. I was about ten weeks old. I turn two years old later this month. (Not that I’m keeping track. But Mom is. You know how moms are.)

Mom calls me “Kimber the Magnifcent.” I don’t know why. She just does. But you can call me Kimmi. All my friends do.

I love pretty much everybody. Mom and Dad. My four brothers. The neighbors. Even the postal carrier. And The Powder Puff. She lives down the street. Well. I guess I just tolerate her. I mean, how can you take a dog seriously when she wears those stupid ruffly dress-up thingies? Can you blame me for barking at her? (Some humans have no sense.)

Where was I?

Oh yeah. Speaking of loving stuff, Mom loves reading, writing, and books. She also enjoys “blogging.” But doesn’t always have time. That’s where I come in. I’m nothing if not helpful. Always ready to curl up on her lap when she sits down to “knows” into a new book.

Sometimes Mom reads aloud. Or laughs out loud. Tells me what’s going on in the story. So I get to tell you. From a diffetent perspective. About some of our adventures. Favorite authors and titles. Book reviews and recommends. Stuff like that.

Knows-ing into books and writing isn’t quite like nosing into a New York steak. But it’s close.

You gonna eat that?

UPDATE: Last week Mom told you about how all her Reading Challenge data on Goodreads had been wiped out. (See Reading Challenge 2.0: Why I’m Going Back to Square One.) She got this message from Goodreads about it late last week. Most of her book titles have been restored. Whew!

Hi there,
I’m so sorry about the trouble, and I can understand how it might be alarming! Rest assured that this is only a display issue, and that all of your data is safely stored. Our developers are aware of this issue, and we hope to have it fixed shortly – we’ll make sure to reach out once the matter is resolved. In the meantime, I apologize for the inconvenience.
If you have any other questions about this, or anything else, feel free to reach out!
Best,
The Goodreads Experts

Reading Challenge 2.0: Why I’m Going Back to Square One

If you’re on Goodreads, you probably know the average Reading Challenge for 2018 is about 51 books in 12 months. I read 136 books in 92 days for last summer’s adult reading program with the library. So what was a realistic but stretch-worthy goal for 12 months?

I set my goal at 200 books for the year. I was cruising along pretty well, picking up steam. The “brass ring” was in sight – six months early.

Until today.

Let me explain. First the not so good news. Followed by the good news and some reading highlights thus far.

The Not-so-Good News:

I was closing in on my target goal of 200 books. I went to my Goodreads account today to add a few more completed titles to bring my total to 181. Suddenly, my reading progress vanished. Gone. Poof!

Has this happened to you?

Because not a single title entered over the past five-plus months remains in my Reading Challenge. Zip. Zero. Nada. I know the site was having trouble cataloging dates and updates. But zeroing out 181 books just like that?!

Well I’ll be et fer a tater.

I can’t possibly recreate the entire list from memory. (Yes, I reported the matter to Goodreads. No solution yet.)

The Good News:

Of course I’m discouraged. Not to mention a wee bit miffed. But I’m still reading. And while it’s not exactly cheery to have five+ months of titles wiped out due to “technical difficulties,” I’m going to keep reading. In fact, I’m aiming for another target. Think of it as Reading Challenge 2.0:

200 additional titles by the end of the year.

How does that sound? (Good thing I took a few screen shots awhile back, eh?)

Meanwhile, from some prior notes I jotted down, here are some highlights from my Reading Challenge 2018 (before The Great Poofery struck):

Most Whimsical or Disarmingly Charming:

What-the-Dickens, by Gregory Maguire.

A natural disaster, three kids, a 21 y.o. Language Arts cousin/babysitter. Skibbereens and a flying thing nsmed “Pepper” with lots of sass. Teeth. What’s not to love?

The Faerieground series, by Beth Bracken and Kay Fraser.

Twelve quick, enchanting reads about BFFs Soli and Lucy. One is far more than she seems at first glance, esp, when soneone’s made a wish inside the Willow Forest!

Most Interesting Biogs or Autobiogs:

New York to Paris – Charles A. Lindbergh.

Flying by instruments-only through fog at 1,500nft. over the Mid-Atlantic? Ay! Yi! Yi! Also white caps, porpoises, and “Which way is Ireland?”, the London-Paris runway and the Eiffel Tower.

Man O’ War – Walter Farley

Gripping Historical fiction about one of the greatest Thoroughbred champions to ever set hooves on a race track.

Creepiest

Look For Me By Moonlight.

Forget the silver stakes and garlic. Find an artist friend with a cliffside workshop and a hot stove! And whatever you do, don’t fall for some sweet-talking “30 something” dude in black who comes to stay at your Dad’d rustic, isolated inn in thd dead of winter!

172 Hours on the Moon – Johan Harstad

After yeats of budget cuts and stalled space exploration, NASA is going back to the moon, this time with three teens aboard. Once they hit the lunar surface, everything goes sideways. And astronauts start dying. Will Mia, Midori or Antoine ever see earth again?

Most Intriguing or Surprising

The Adoration of Jenna Fox – Mary E. Pearson

Hauntingly poignant and powerful, this intriguing story explores family relationships, bio/medical ethics, how far a parent might go to save a loved one, and what it means to be “human.” Earned a rare five-star rating from me.

Fairest – Marissa Meyer

A taut, compelling tale dripping with palace intrigue, rivalry and jealousy, misplaced love, blind ambition and utter corruption. Masterfully crafted. Couldn’t put it down!

Anchor in the Storm – Sarah Sundlin.

Finally. A “romance”” novel that isn’t a romp through the local garbage dump.

This uplifting, engaging story offers solid characters who are both winsome and flawed. They’re wholesome without being sappy. The clever “whodunit” plot has perfect pacing while the love story deftly combines faith, hope, tenacity, and integrity. Superb historical fiction plus plenty of surprising plot twists to keep you guessing!

Old Faves:

Just about anything by Marguerite Henry, C.W. Anderson, and Scott O’Dell.

Note About My Reviews: I hold to the axiom: “The repeated use of profanity is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Hence, no book that uses same gets high marks from me. Ever. Far as I’m concerned, if an author can’t express him/herself without “turning the air blue,” then s/he is a lousy, lazy author. Period.

Now. Back to square one. And a new Reading Challenge.

How’s yours coming?