Swimming Upstream Through the Pages

reading, books, porch, summertimeI don’t know about you, but during much of 2018 I felt like I was swimming Upstream. Each day seemed to bring Just One Damned Thing after Another; other days seemed like A Walk in the Park.

On the personal side, my concussion in May led to the The Longest Nine Months of feeling like I lived in an Alternate Side, a side where writing and teaching and thinking were an Unlikely Pilgrimage.

I’ve always known that we all were Born in a Treacherous Time, but just one minor traffic accident (in which my guy and I were rear-ended) kept me from my Business of Being, my Soul Purpose in and Out of the Workplace.Laurie Buchanan, Business of Being, self-help

Even though most of my family and friends understood my ObsessionBefore and Again – with the Wonder of writing, they insisted that I wasn’t Eligible to create on the computer for my normal 6-8 hours a day. My loved ones (and doctors) told me to sit out on the rocking chair – Watching the Daisies – to heal.

At times I felt In Pieces, observing my Shadow Sister, who seemed to have lost her Spark of Light while Pretending to Dance. But then as I sat still in the sun and viewed the birds and squirrels and chipmunks include me in their antics (one of them whispered to the other “She’s One of our Own!”) I realized that I had become part of the Sublime Shadows of Life.

second chance, book review, readingYes, my writing input had Fallen, but The Storyteller Speaks in many different ways. Breathing, observing, listening became a Godsend. I knew that in the Probable Future I’d retain my ability to sit in front of the computer screen, but for now, My Love Story would be relegated to tiny creatures who shared their acorns with me and showed me A Second Chance at imagination.

With pad and pen I wrote another children’s tale – a sequel to my Birds of Paradise –  as I children's illustrated book, picture book, birdsrocked. At first the cat is lonely and friendless in my next story, but Molly Finds Her Purr after discovering What’s in a Name.  My incredible illustrator, Shelley, began working on sketches, since All We Ever Wanted was to entertain children and adults as they read the Origin of love and friendship.

The Pull of the Moon made me a Time’s Convert as I stood on my porch every night watching the stars twinkle, encouraging me to become one of The Hopefuls.Kauai, Pacific Ocean, island dreaming

And I am, I am, as I heal and share with you the magnificent works of writers around the globe who promise us that with A Trail Through Time, the sun still glistens and the night sky still surrounds us with the soft comfort of the next day to come.

Books I Read in 2018, in order of appearance(I enjoyed all of these books – those asterisked knocked my socks off):
Upstream, Mary Oliver
Just One Damned Thing after Another, Jodi Taylor
A Walk in the Park, Jill Mansell
The Longest Nine Months, Carol Balawyder
Alternate Side, Anna Quindlen
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce
*Born in a Treacherous Time, Jacqui Murray
*The Business of Being: Soul Purpose in and Out of the Workplace, Laurie Buchanan
The Obsession, Nora Roberts
*Before and Again, Barbara Delinsky
Wonder, R. J. Palacio
*Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld
Watching the Daisies, Brigid P. Gallagher
In Pieces, Sally Field
The Shadow Sister, Lucinda Riley
A Spark of Light, Jodi Picoult
Pretending to Dance, Diane Chamberlain
*One of Our Own, Willa Cather
Sublime Shadows of Life, Balroop Singh
Fallen, David Balducci
The Storyteller Speaks, Annika Perry
The Godsend, AC Flory
The Probable Future, Alice Hoffman
My Love Story, Tina Turner
A Second Chance, Jodi Taylor
*Birds of Paradise, Pamela S. Wight
What’s in a Name? Sally Cronin
All We Ever Wanted, Emily Griffin
*Origin, Dan Brown
*The Pull of the Moon, Elizabeth Berg
Times Convert, Deborah Harkness
A Trail Through Time, Jodi Taylor
*The Hopefuls, Jennifer Close

More Books I Read in 2018 (in my own order of reading)

Lies Jane Austen Told Me, Julie Wright; Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of the Runaway Slave Ona Judge, Erica Armstrong Dunbar; The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, Phaedra Patrick; *Poison, John Lescroart; The Seven Sisters, Lucinda Riley; The Storm Sister, Lucinda Riley; From a Paris Balcony, Ella Carey; *Miira, AC Flory; Nabatea, AC Flory; *Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman; Marlie, Anneli Purchase; Twenty Years After I Do, D.G. Kaye; Circumstances of Childhood, John Howell; The Cuban Affair, Nelson DeMille; A Symphony of Echoes, Jodi Taylor; Murder in Thistlecross (A Malice Novel Book 3), Amy Reade; No Time Like the Past, Jodi Tayor; What Could Possibly Go Wrong, Jodi Taylor; *The Story of Arthur Truluv, Elizabeth Berg; Y is for Yesterday, Sue Grafton; At Seventy: A Journal, May Sarton; *Soul Swallowers (The Shattered Sea Book 1), D. Wallace Peach; *Digging to America, Anne Tyler; *On Turpentine Lane, Elinor Lipman; A Nearer Moon, Melanie Crowder; Same Time, Same Beach, Dorthea Benton Frank; The President Is Missing, Patterson/Clinton; *The Hubley Case, Justin Lee; 
Wake-Robin Ridge, Marcia Meara; A Father for Bella, Jill Weatherhold
The Bone Curse, Carrie Rubin; The Perfect Couple, Elin Hilderbrand; House Witness, Mike Lawson; Little Woman in Blue, Jeannine Atkins; *An American Marriage, Tayari Jones; Soul Swallowers (The Shattered Sea Book 2), D. Wallace Peach; *Perla, Carolina De Robertis; Surprise Me, Sophie Kinsella; Clock Dance, Ann Tyler; Mosquito Song, J.J. Brown; By Invitation Only, Dorthea Benton Frank; The Pearl Sister, Lucinda Riley; *What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty; While the Bombs Fell, Robbie Cheadle; Comorbidity, J.J. Brown; The Worst Noel, Amy Reade.

166 thoughts on “Swimming Upstream Through the Pages

  1. Not read much then, Pam! I don’t know how you do it – I’m still reading last year’s hard-copy presents (Christmas, Birthday, Father’s Day), and now have another handful from another Christmas past – not to mention Kindle seductions! As ‘Eleanor Oliphant’ I hope you’re completely fine – Gail Honeyman’s book my read of the year. My best to you and yours for 2019. Eric.

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    • You and I are on the same “page,” Eric. I sank into Eleanor Oliphant’s world with worry and then hope and then joy. Honeyman showed us writers how it can be done. To you and me “doing” great writing (and reading) in 2019.

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  2. Reading more is something I’d like to do for 2019–I find it difficult to read for pleasure though as reading is a huge part of my job. By the time I’m ready for bed, I can get about 5-10 pages in and I’m done! There are a lot of books on your list that I want to read too! Happy New Year!

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    • Reading for pleasure helps me fly into other worlds that I’m afraid I may never get to on a plane or a boat. But in my imagination, I can go anywhere. This year, since TV and movies were contraindicated for healing, I found more time to imagine with the words of others….To reading and writing in our New Year, Kate. xo

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  3. MELewis said it so perfectly!

    I’m in awe of how many books you can consume in a year … and then how creatively you can tell the story of your year based on their titles!

    I know that concussions require a long, slow recovery. I hope you are back to 100% soon. Best wishes for 2019!

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    • I appreciate the understanding you have for the length of recovery time, Joanne. Many think a few weeks is all it takes to “shake off” concussion symptoms (and actually, I used to think that too). My patience dwindles at times, but a good book calms me down. CHEEERS to you for 2019. I look forward to following your antics (just teasing) on your blog – biking and showing us your world.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Great question, Janet. First, I had to stay away from the TV and computer screen for weeks. I slowly added the computer, but only an hour a day. TV not at all for quite some time, and going to the movie theater (I love watching movies) is still verboten. Thus, my reading time almost doubled. Many of my friends are readers, and we e-mail each other titles of the books we enjoyed. I also read recommendations on Goodreads, and my library sends out a monthly newsletter with great reviews. Last, not but least, I read reviews from bloggers about their own books or Indie books they’ve read and recommend, and I make sure to read them…and review! I believe strongly in Indie writers and Indie publishing.

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    • The first few weeks after the concussion, I could only play with the squirrels. Then I added reading time, slowly. Hardbound books were best until an occupational therapist suggested I use the Kindle with low light and large font. Helped tremendously. Happy New Year, Darlene. Your Canadian holiday was so great. Now back to the warmth of your Spanish home. xo

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    • My reading time almost doubled because of the inability to write and work on the computer, Jill. The plus side was learning so much about writing while reading. The negative side was not working on my next romantic suspense. But I have high hopes for 2019. And I hope hope hope you are working on YOUR next book. xo

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  4. Pam, I do love your post that in spite of all excudes piece and contentment.
    You have so cleverly wowen in th titles of books in your text, really admired that.
    Now, to sit in a rocking chair with a note book and pen and lots of good books sounds so tempting…. o.k. , the concussion isn’t funny. But they can spark remarkable results. I had the same happening in -15 and a couple of weeks later poems started pouring out.

    May this New Year be good on you and very creativity.
    hug
    Miriam

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Very clever post and awesome book list! About 10 years ago I fractured my knee and had to keep my leg straight for 4 weeks. At first I was annoyed because it was May and I had gardening to do. Then I realized how lucky I was to be able to heal in my back porch with all the wildlife to entertain me. Fortunately I was able to read too. I was still very cranky although looking back, the timing was perfect.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I LOVE your honesty about being cranky despite the ability to sit on the porch watching nature and reading a good book. Believe me, I got cranky too. I discovered how important it is to me to always be writing and creating. Reading books helped keep me sane, yes, but I got quite low at times, wondering if I’d ever have all of my brain back. Months later, my head is much clearer, but I still need more patience to keep healing. Wait. I think I’ll go read another book. 🙂

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  6. Oh, my gosh, Pamela – So many books! I’ve read book of Laurie Buchanan’s books, Jill’s A Father for Bella, and of course your Birds of Paradise and the Right Wrong Man.

    I have logged fewer books than usual because of my focus on my memoir manuscript, but I catalog them all on http://www.rifflebooks.com and on Goodreads.

    Concussion aside, you’ve got a clever weave of book titles here. You’re really cookin’, Pam!

    Liked by 1 person

    • How neat! I had not heard of Riffle before. I do have a file on my computer in which I list a book as soon as I read it – helps me remember to write a review for Amazon and Goodreads, particularly for the Indie books and those of bloggers I follow, like Jill and Laurie and Diana Peach and Jacqui and John Howell and – geez, the list goes on and on. I CAN NOT WAIT to add your memoir to my list of books read – hopefully in 2019??!!

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  7. Wow Pam, you read a lot. Nicely done to integrate so many titles in your blog. I hope you’re healed from the concussion. And it was fortunate that you were able (and allowed) to still read books. Sitting on the rocking chair watching life (in the garden) go by, sounds like bliss. For a little while anyway. 🙂

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    • I like to imagine that as you roam the country with new experiences every month, you stop at each spot and read also, Liesbet. My doctor would not be pleased to see my extensive reading list, since my concussion side effects are not totally healed yet, and I’m supposed to sit more and do nothing more. But with books, at least I can experience lots of adventures in my head!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to read. And, the time I do allocate to reading is usually to leave feedback or reviews for author friends afterwards. 🙂 One day, I’ll be able to prioritize my time, so reading my own pickings will be a part of the month again.

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    • I have the gift of being a very fast reader – so I can read a book in 3-4 days easily. Probably your husband has the same gift! However, if I baked as beautifully as you do, and then could take long walks in your neighborhood, I bet I’d only get through one book a week. 🙂 xo

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  8. So many books! I’m glad you’re getting better and that you were able to take step back and even relish the time you had to spend away from the computer. May 2019 bring you no concussions and many more great books! Great way to present them, too.

    P.S. Thanks for reading mine. 🙂

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    • I loved including two of your books in my “Books Read” list, Amy. And I hope to have at least one or two more to add of yours for 2019!! I did love all this reading, but I’m ready to finish the healing so I can get back to my writing and perhaps publish two books in this new year. Good luck to both of us! ❤

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  9. How on earth, after suffering a concussion, teaching a class, begin writing your second children’s book, and being the best darned grandmother, wife and mother did you ever have time to read 80+ books? You are so out of my league! I sit in your writing group and marvel at the books and authors you comment on and I have thought to myself, ” Becky, you must up your game!” But then I remember why I am writing with you: in the hopes of doing just that.

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  10. I’m impressed that you still know which books you read. You must keep a list. I tried doing that once but I kept forgetting to add to it. A clever way to round up the year in review, Pam. Thanks for including one of mine in the list. I hope we all have a good year of reading ahead of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I overdid it on the reading, but it was so distressing to not be able to add chapters to my next book on the computer. I consider reading a necessary part of being a good writer, so my time was not wasted. That’s my rationalization, anyway. 🙂

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  11. We too, now with physical challenges. have discovered the amazing acrobatics of squirrels through leafless winter trees. Reading again is my 2019 resolution, perhaps only made possible by skipping news and social media. Writing currently suffers, but when one door closes another opens.
    Healing wishes to you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, thanks for the compliment, but to be honest, reading kept me sane all those weeks/months I had to stay away from screens like computer/TV/phone. :-0 I almost feel guilty admitting about the time I spent reading, but really, that’s kind of silly, isn’t it? I feel that the more we read, the more empathy we gain about everyone else in the world. To opening our world in 2019! ❤

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  12. Dear Pam. I hope 2019 sees you shaking off those feelings and your symptoms of 2018.. These things often come to slow us down.. And you have made remarkable use of your time in both writing a new story and in ALL of that reading, I am impressed..
    May this New Earth Year bring you Good Health, Lots of Joy and Inspiration..
    Sending Love..
    Sue ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Inwardly, I completely agree with you that the Universe finds ways to slow us down. (And I’m biting my finger nails, wondering if bigger things will happen to slow down the entire world/our culture.) I admit, I grumbled a bit (or more than a bit) with the headaches that showed me I had to let go of my computer/screen work. I fell behind with writing, but perhaps I opened up with the ability to stop listen watch feel. I hope so! Namaste and warm hugs to you.

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  13. A novel idea, and I thank you for the list! I recognize (and have read) some of the authors— I’ll be chasing them down and reading some of them. Like you, I read a lot, but lately am finding large print books easier to read. Worse luck, since it’s usually slim pickens on those shelves!

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    • I generally like to read hardbound books (print easier to read than paperbacks) but my occupational therapist (for concussion) encouraged me to read on the Kindle with low light and large font. That helps eye strain and readability. What’s nice is that I can now order e-books from my library. Just a thought for you….

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  14. I love to read and I also really enjoy discovering what others are reading, so this was a delightful post. I don’t know if you enjoy e-reading, but I do. I have found that using the Libby app for library access has created for me an endless supply of titles. I’ve been like a kid in a candy store! I didn’t think I’d ever be won-over to reading on a screen, but I like being able to adjust the print size and easily read in bed. LOL! Fun post, Pam.

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    • Yes, Yes, and YES, Debra. I read probably 75% of books on my Kindle now, since I can maneuver it for better readability (low light and large font) and I order e-books from my Library consortium. It’s great! However, when I order “just published and well-reviewed” e-books from the library site, I have to wait “in line” to receive them. Then, with my luck, three will come in at the same time, all due in two weeks. Thank goodness I’m a fast reader. 🙂 Happy New Year, Debra.

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  15. You are such a clever lady! I was so busy admiring how you did the roundup of 2018 that I didn’t notice you’d included me in your lovely list. I’m truly honoured. And I wish you a full recovery in 2019. Better still, I hope that your enforced rest re-energizes you for years to come. -huge hugs-

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  16. Now, i’m jealous of that book list. I’ve read a few of those too, heard about some of the others.
    And i liked the way you wove that story – clever and entertaining. Sorry though that you had to step back from something you enjoyed doing. on the plus side, you got to read all those wonderful books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And the majority of the books I read in 2018 are long, Jina. 🙂 (Re: your December post.) Once I get into a character’s mind, I don’t want to leave it. Now, for 2019, I’m determined to finish writing my next novel and hope that readers don’t want to leave my main characters’ minds either… ❤

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  17. I loved how you wound the titles of books into a very interesting story. You are a voracious and fast reader! Wow! I’ll keep this list and see if I can get to some of these. Wishing you a great and wonderfilled new year, Pam.

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  18. It may not have been a year of writing at the computer, Pam, but it was a year of reading and growing. I love that you have a new picture book on the way and can’t wait to read it.
    I appreciate the clever way you wrote your post, including so many book titles. I also appreciate your list with asterisks for those that knocked your socks off. There are a few on my TBR list already. Looks like I’ve a few more to add.
    I wish you a 2019 that is more to your liking and incredibly successful. Stay with what you need and love and all will work out in the end. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did feel sorry for myself at times, Norah, not being able to do my regular routine. But writing this book -reading post (I was SHOCKED when I pulled up the list of all of these titles) helped me appreciate that the time was well-used and hopefully will help me in my own writing now as I spend less time in the words of others, and more time making up my own. xo

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  19. An impressive list of books you have read! I have only read a few of those you listed. May you continue to heal and get back to that computer screen soon! There must have been a purpose for your having to slow down! Cheers for better times in 2019!

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    • I still haven’t found my purpose for spending all that time on the rocking chair (or lately, in the chair in front of the fireplace) reading the books of others. But I think as I return to my own writing, I’ll discover that I’ve learned from masterful writers how to hook a reader and keep her seated in that chair. 🙂 May you be hooked plenty this new year, Jo.

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  20. Good grief, what an impressive reading list! I am such a slow reader that my output is pathetic by comparison. But some better than none, right? FYI, I’m reading Min Jin Lee’s “Pachinko” right now. It’s outstanding. Love your clever usage of the book titles. 🙂 – Marty

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    • Pachinko is on my must-read list. It’s quite a tome, it seems. I think being a slow reader has a number of benefits – you can really immerse yourself for a longer time with a character/characters. Besides, it’s not the amount of books you read, but the quality that merge into your head and give you a new/different perspective on a subject….or even life. Happy reading to you in 2019, Marty!

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  21. Will make copies of your list. We seem to like a lot of the same type of books. What did you think of the Lucinda Riley Seven Sisters books you read? Have you read them all until now? There are 5 out.. I haven’t read The Moon Sister yet. It is on my list to get though. “The Pearl Sister” has been my favorite so far. Although I loved the first one too. Not sure about “The Moon Sister”.. Just downloaded “The Point of It All” by Charles Krauthammer (finished by son Daniel) He seems to be an extraordinary man. Currently listening to John Steinbeck “Travels with Charley” about his road trip across the US in 1960. I highly recommend Brene’ Brown’s book “Braving the Wilderness”! So many books, so little time!!! School starts back on the 14th… yeha! Hope your New Year is off to awesome start! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Last year when I wrote my 2017 list of books read, a blogger suggested I read the Seven Sisters series. I started with the first one and got hooked, for sure. I finished The Pearl Sister this fall and am waiting until I can get The Moon Sister on my Kindle from the library’s e-book offerings. At first the books always seem a bit simplistic, but with the setting and the love interests, the author always ends up hooking the reader. I’ve added The Point of it All and Braving the Wilderness to my must-reads for 2019. You’re good at interspersing your fiction with non-fiction – I have to do that more.
      How’s Grace?

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    • I thought something was horribly wrong with me for my concussion side effects to hang around so long, but I’ve met up with people who still suffer for over a year. Yikes. I suppose if I sat in a dark room meditating for 8 hours I wouldn’t be whining, but you understand. We have to CREATE and READ and WRITE to feel fulfilled. I enjoyed naming your book in my script – it takes us back in time and makes us think about where we are now.

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    • I thought of you as I read through my list ( stored in a file on my computer). Last year you mentioned that many of the books I read were more ‘women’s fiction’ than not. And I had a bit of a defensive reaction to that, since books that men write are not called “men’s fiction.” So I pushed myself to read more fiction by men (like Grisham and the wonderful Dan Brown book, Daniel Silva, and a few others – I hope you’ve found the Chris Bohemian book), but I guess my list says it all: I prefer women writers! ;-0

      That said, your latest book is in my Kindle and I’m looking forward to reading it, Roy. ❤

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  22. Brilliant! You are a clever one, Pam. I hope your recovery is speedy and complete. My grandson had three serious concussions this year. My son finally said he had to find another sport, his soccer days are over. Happy New Year!

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  23. Wow! 😀 This is terrific, Pam and I don’t know how you do it! Very inventive and that’s a lot of books you’ve read … lovely to see mine included here! 😊

    Congratulations on a sequel to Birds of Paradise … when is this being released? So happy for you! xx❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Really? I missed your reply and w0nderful question back in January? Oh my, how time does fly like a robin (which is at this moment sipping up a worm…) Anyway, I’m hoping for a summer release of my new children’s book MOLLY FINDS HER PURR. Crossing fingers. xo

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  24. Dear Pam… Yes, 2018 really did seem like “one damn thing after another” but after reading this, maybe a little less so. I’m so sorry your recovery time is so long. You found such a wonderful way to describe it with this post.
    You read an amazing number of lovely books. Even if I had nothing else to do at all, I am sure I couldn’t have read so many.
    Wishing you all good things in 2019. Happy New Year hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. This is a very clever and interesting way of saying what books you read. I’m sort of shocked with the number of books you read in 2018. I’m no longer a book reader. However, even if I keep my work aside I don’t read that much.

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  26. Thanks for updating us on your concussion. I had heard that recovery is a long slow task, and a friend got concussed one week ago. You have helped me to understand that life inevitably changes for quite some time. Thank goodness reading has been possible! I am inspired by your post and I wish you a gentle and productive post-squirrel life this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Somehow I missed your January comment (on my concussion and book list) until now. I’ll blame it on the concussion! If nothing else, I do hope I’m educating my readers on the effects of a concussion. I NEVER knew how much one affects the brain and a reader/writer’s day-to-day activities. I’m in the 11th month now and better…but not 100% yet. I hope your friend is doing well and recovering from her concussion.

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  27. A lovely, interesting post and congrats on your new book! And you read a lot of interesting books too.
    I have had concussions and they are not fun. I sympathize. At the same time, I’m glad that you accomplished so much. You must have really pushed yourself hard. Congrats again, and my best wishes for 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cynthia, somehow I didn’t find your comment on my January blog about my concussion/book list until now. I apologize. Your comment is quite helpful – I didn’t know you’ve dealt with concussions also. I had some when I was a child, a teenager, and an adult, and seems that the more we suffer from, the worse each one will be (which I can understand). I’m in my 11th month and finally feeling better. Not 100%, but I see the light at the end of this long tunnel. And yes, I did push myself hard through this – not sure if that was good or not. Best to you! xo

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