A Walk in the Woods, Book by Book

walk, forest bathing, woodsDeena enjoys her Still Life. Her daily habit includes long walks in the woods behind her house, even in the Dead of Winter. She communicates with the owls and hawks and Other Birds. At times, Deena has a Bone Hunger to join these creatures, discarding The Body while flying with lightness and ease.

“But,” she chuckles as she whistles a reply to the nearby Blue Jay, “I’d Write My Name Across the Sky in bold bird scrawl.” Still Life, Sarah Winman, cover photo thanks to Amazon

Deena’s few friends think she lives in Cloud Cuckoo Land, Impervious to what they consider “reality.”

Truth and Beauty, Ann Patchett, cover photo thanks to AmazonOh no, Deena thinks, I am just an Untethered Soul, while they are unable to recognize Truth and Beauty.

As Deena continues the wooded Winding Road, she nears the fast-moving creek that swells from June through August, creating a Summer Island.

The River Ghosts chant a greeting to their Barefoot friend, for despite The Nature of Fragile Things, Deena is more wood nymph than human. Her feet never blister from sun-scorched Earth nor blacken from frostbite.

“Deena!” the ghosts murmer. “Deeeeeenaaaaaa!”

The woman pauses, perceiving the running water as a Mecca, full of microorganisms, God-like in their teeming harmony of life.

I’ll Be YOuuuuu” one of the river ghosts urges.

Deena is tempted. Could she, would she trade places, becoming one with the water while the ghost, Deconstructed, is made whole into her flesh? wish you were here, jodi picoult, cover photo thanks to Amazon

But, no.

“Once Upon A Time There Was You,” Deena whispers to the ghost. “I Wish You were Here with me face-to-face. But I’m not ready to give up These Precious Days.”

precious days, Ann Patchett, cover photo thanks to AmazonDeena skips with the squirrels, returning to The Last House on the Street.

Home Again.

But she’s already looking forward to more Flights of Fancy on her next walk in the woods.

books, book reading, forest bathing, Golden Retriever, walking

Continuing my annual blogging tradition, I’ve created a story using the titles of the some of the books I’ve read the past year (listed below in order of appearance). How I wish I could have used all of the books I read last year. Here’s the link to Goodreads’ listing of my 2022 read books. Pamela’s 2022 reading challenge | Goodreads I wish you a Happy Reading Year in 2023!











Still Life, Sarah Winman

Dead of Winter: Journey (all), Teagan Riordain Geneviene

Other Birds, Sarah Addison Allen

The Bone Hunger (Benjamin Oris #2), Carrie Rubin

The Body, Bill Bryson

Write My Name Across the Sky, Barbara O’Neal

Cloud Cuckoo Land, Anthony Doerr

Impervious, Laurie Buchanan

The Untethered Soul, the Journey Beyond Yourself, Michael Singer

Truth & Beauty, Ann Patchett

The Winding Road, A Journey of Survival, Miriam Hurdle

Summer Island, Kristin Hannah

River Ghosts, Merril Smith

Barefoot, Elin Hilderbrand

The Nature of Fragile Things, Susan Meissner

Mecca, Susan Straight

I’ll Be You, Janelle Brown

Deconstructed, Liz Talley

Once Upon a Time, There was You, Elizabeth Berg

Wish You Were Here, Jodi Picoult

These Precious Days, Ann Patchett

The Last House on the Street, Diane Chamberlain

Home Again, Kristin Hannah

Flights of Fancy, Sally Cronin

125 thoughts on “A Walk in the Woods, Book by Book

  1. Beautiful, Pam. I look forward to the wrap-up post every year. You amaze me with the depth and breadth of your choices. Great way to share them with readers. May 2023 bring you blessings upon blessings, my friend.

    Liked by 4 people

    • But “awe” is how I feel when I read each of these books. Being a writer, I know how difficult it is to write a book from beginning to end, much less incredible ones like Cloud Cuckoo Land and Still Life, and Truth & Beauty and … well, I better stop now. On to 2023 reading! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You always do such a lovely job threading titles into a story, Pam. I’ve only read four of those along your trail, so you’ve given me a bunch to look into. Here’s to a beautiful wander through 2023’s pages. May you enjoy the wonder, magic, and adventure of a new year. Hugs. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  3. This is wonderful, Pam. Maybe I need to start this tradition although, like you, I wouldn’t be able to get all the book titles in. Merril will be so happy to see her River Ghosts.

    By the way, I signed into Goodreads but couldn’t see your book tally. I’m sure it’s brag-worthy!

    Here’s to walks in the woods, forest nymphs, and a happy year of turning pages. ((( ))

    Liked by 4 people

    • I wish I could have included more of the Indie authors, like Amy Reade, Balroop, Diana Peach and Laurie Buchanan. They’re listed in my Goodreads 2022 site. 🙂 Each of our blogging authors inspire me to great heights! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice way to memorialize your reading life . . . or part of it anyway. I’m terrible about remembering titles & authors. Once I’ve finished a book, it gives up the ghost! 😀

    Hope 2023 is off to a great start.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hmm, your list gives up the ghost? Perhaps you should talk to Merril’s River Ghosts. 🙂 I know what you mean, though. If I didn’t include each book title in my list as soon as I finished the book, I’d be unable to keep up this annual tradition. 🙂 HAPPY NEW YEAR, Nancy. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. If I used the titles of the books I read last year, I might get a haiku! Actually, I read quite a bit, but very, very rarely read fiction. That means my titles wouldn’t lend themselves so well to the kind of creativity you showed here — well done, and great fun!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Fiction is my “happy place,” for sure. I’m trying to make myself read more non-fiction. Right now I’m reading Mind Over Matter, the memoir of a football player/mathematician. Fascinating. And that will make a good title for next time. 🙂 xo

      Liked by 2 people

    • These Precious Days is an incredible re-telling of a wonderful friendship. True story. One of my favorite books this year is on my Goodreads 2022 list but I couldn’t find a way to put the title in this story. HORSE by Geraldine Brooks. Cloud Cuckoo Land is soooo different and challenging yet fabulous. Still Life is beautiful writing of unforgettable characters, mainly set in Florence.


    • I hope you get to read a few of these, Gerlinde. These books (the characters and plot and setting) keep my mind sharp (or at least sharper than it would be without reading). 🙂


  6. I love Deena. And I love this annual ritual. You do it so well! Wasn’t “These Precious Days” wonderful? (I listened to Ann read it. I, of course, read, Merril’s book and I am overdue for a Jodi Picoult! Read on!

    Liked by 4 people

      • Thanks, Pam. I’ve started adding books to Goodreads but don’t update it often enough. Many physical books I’ve read sit on my desk waiting to be noted, the audio and digital books sit on my phone. Good thing they’re all patient. Have a wonderful year! 💖

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Pam, a magical story and a joy to join Deena on her dream-like walk! She lives her life on so many levels but I’m glad she headed for the safety of home. You’ve woven in the book titles brilliantly to create an engaging fluid story (and in the process reminded me that I have some of these books still unread on my Kindle!). Pam, I’ve always loved these book title posts created by you and often meant to try my hand at one myself. Last week I finally completed my first effort. A lot of fun and I will be posting on Tuesday. I’m mentioning and linking to you for this inspirational idea. xx ❤️

    Liked by 5 people

    • Yay!! I can’t wait to read your “title story,” Annika. I love sharing beloved books with my friends and learning about books that I haven’t read from those same friends. THANK YOU for enjoying my effort and for creating one of your own. The best compliment, for sure. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    • Carrie has a new book out (the beginning of a new series, I believe) and I’ve just downloaded it in my Kindle. Still medical and still murder, I believe. I know in the past you’ve thought some of my books more ‘girlie,’ and in this case, that may be so. But “girlie” can be good. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Pam – I love this and the whole idea! I saw you mentioned in Annika’s post and feel bad that I haven’t been over to visit in a while. I hope you are doing well and that you had a nice holiday. I see some of my favorite authors here! I’ve been meaning to catch up on Ann Patchett and just read another Kristin Hannah book, The Four Winds. And of course, Carrie Rubin’s books are always excellent – I just finished her latest book, Fatal Rounds. Take care!

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  9. Interesting to see some of the books other writers are reading. I was amazed, there was not one book I have read. Thanks for inspiring me and us to read books we usually don’t read.
    Wishing you all the best
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      • Well, my list what I read in January
        Hervé Le Tellier ‘The Anomaly’ – one of the best novel I read in the last months.
        John Bererndt ‘The City of Falling Angels’ – about all the authors living for a while Venice, especially Ezra Pound.
        Orhan Pamuk ‘Nights of Plague’ – I like Pamuk’s novel although this one is a bit lengthy.
        Ford Madox Ford ‘The Good Soldier’ – quite an influential English classic I hadn’t read before.
        Matt Haig ‘The Midnight Library’ – full of cliché and moralistic at the end. Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma called it trash.
        Elena Russell ‘The Golden edge’ – an interesting book about growing up in eastern Siberia full of charming naivety and humour.
        And then the ghost stories of my friend and neighbour Susan Hill.
        This is my list I read between Jan. 1st and the day before yesterday. Now I am reading an extraordinary excellent book by Andrea Wulf “Magnificent Rebels’ – about the first Romantics and the invention of the self. Really worth reading like her Humboldt-book.
        Keep well
        The Fab Four of Cley
        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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