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Discover More ~ Enjoy More!

Welcome to our blog. This the where you'll find tidbits about our LIVING and DOING. Some of these experiences are inspired by reading, some inspired us to read, and some - well, some just are. Come what may, they are experiences that we're eager to share with you. Tag along with us as we discover and enjoy more! 



Books of the Month – May 2017

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Books of the Month - April 2017

Books of the Month - May 2017

Well, if this month is any indication of the summer to come, it's going to be a busy one!

This month I only completed one book, which was a club pick entitled Get Well Soon: Histories Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them. It was a change of pace to read a non-fiction selection and one that was listed as "humorous" to boot.  See my review below and be sure to click on the book to discover more fascinating bookish booty or you can access it via our The Book & Beyond section. Have you read Get Well Soon? What was your "favorite" plague? Leave a reply at the bottom of the post - we're eager to get your take on it!

I'm still working my way through War and Remembrance (The Herman Family Volume 2), which I'll be finishing soon and will review in a separate upcoming post.

Note: Some of the books I read are featured in our The Book & Beyond section.  That's where you'll find interesting things about and even beyond the book. I'd love to feature every book I read in The Book & Beyond section but truth be told, it will only happen for those books that really stir my curiosity.  🙂

Another Note:  My adorable owl calendar is by Debbie Mumm. I absolutely love it and decided early on that it would be the backdrop to each "Books of the Month" post for 2017. 




Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them

by Jennifer Wright
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took me a bit to get into this book but once I did, I liked it. It's one of those books that you find yourself pondering long after you've finished reading it. I was aware of many of the diseases discussed in the book but was surprised to discover that I had no idea how gruesome they really were. This is important stuff to know. It's easy to pass them off as though they could never happen again but that is simply a false sense of security. It's critical that we act responsibly in order educate and protect ourselves and our communities from the spreading of disease.

It was interesting that things that are common sense today, such as cleanliness, was the culprit of many of the epidemics in early history. (Really? You think it's a good idea to throw your sewage into your basement?) I also find it fascinating that when fear kicks in, people will grasp for anything to help, even nonsensical and usually quite disgusting practices in hopes to cure what ails them - this even happens in the world today.

I wasn't sure what to expect regarding the humor but soon discovered the sarcasm to be pretty entertaining at times. Her references to the X-men, Mumps Matilda, Meningitis Mathew, etc had me giggling. In the end, I learned a lot from this book and I agree with the author's overall message that sick people are not villains to be shunned and isolated. They are simply unwell. We need to be smart and more compassionate. We need to separate the disease from the diseased and "give a damn about our fellow man".

Kelly hosted our meeting and led and great discussion as well as serving a scrumptious meal. Click HERE to get the inside scoop!





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Hungry for more? Check out  The Book and Beyond and The Books We've Read. 

Follow me on Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, and now on Facebook!


Happy Reading!

Books of the Month – April 2017

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Books of the Month - April 2017

Books of the Month - April 2017

Books of the Month - April 2017
Here it is June already and I'm only now posting about the books for April. How did that happen??? My usual routine has been turned completely upside down and while I did not read as much as I intended, I did have the good fortune to attend some great author events that I'm super excited to tell you about! Take a look below - have you read any books by these authors or attended live events? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page and tell us about it!

Note: Some of the books I read are featured in our The Book & Beyond section.  That's where you'll find interesting things about and even beyond the book. I'd love to feature every book I read in The Book & Beyond section but it' usually a matter of time and a matter of which books and topics really stir my curiosity.  🙂



I have wanted to see Garrison Keillor (The Prairie Home Companion, The News from Lake Wobegon, and more) in a live performance for as long as I can remember and was completely bummed when he retired from Prairie Home Companion. Then to my surprise, I discovered he often goes on tour and that he would be performing at a nearby university this year!  I was stoked! I immediately bought tickets and began counting down the days.

Finally the moment arrived. He walked out onto stage in his trademark off-white linen suit with bright a red tie and red high-top sneakers. For nearly 3 hours he completely captivated us with songs, poems, and stories that had us rolling with laughter.  To top it all off, after the performance I had the opportunity to meet him and shake his hand!

This was truly an opportunity of a lifetime for me. I so admire him and have enjoyed his talents for years. I am saddened to think that when he fully retires, it will be the end of a fantastic era; he may very well be the last performer of his kind. I am so thankful I was able to see his performance and meet him. If you have the chance, grab it while you can! You won't be disappointed.



Stormy CoveStormy Cove by Bernadette Calonego
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I purchased this book after becoming Instagram friends with the author and I so enjoyed it! It reads fast and the story progresses at a nice pace. Bernadette Colonego writes beautifully and her descriptions of the landscape, the town, and the townspeople made me feel like I was actually there. I loved the small town setting where everyone knows each other, no one locks their doors, their lifestyles mirror the harshness and beauty of their environment, they gossip about each other and yet for the most part, support and love each other, too. I enjoyed the bit of romance along with the suspense and mystery of the story where you could never be sure who the bad guy was. I did have trouble keeping the many characters straight even with the help of character list provided at the front of the book. But all in all, it was engaging and unpredictable and would make for a great beach read.

Are you on Instagram? If so, you should definitely start following Bernadette Calonego. She consistently posts the most beautiful photographs of her globe-trotting adventures and research for her books. It's so fun to see the world through her photos.



Our book club enjoyed reading All the Light You Cannot See in 2015 so having the opportunity to attend Anthony Doerr's live presentation this month was one more opportunity of a lifetime (that's two in one month but who's counting? ME! I'm counting!). Anthony Doerr is a masterful storyteller with an intellectual depth and breadth in science. Combine that with his humor and wit and he can expertly convey his messages in a manner that you'll not only completely understand but that you'll take with you to ponder on long afterwards. He is truly another author that if you have the opportunity to see in person, don't miss him! In the meantime, click here to take a look at all the cool stuff we learned from his book and presentation.




 Lab Girl  by Hope Jahren

Lab Girl was our club selection for April and I'm telling you, Hope Jahren writes beautifully.  Her story is touching and warm. Our club meeting was fantastic and the our members seemed to really enjoy it. Donna, our hosting member for the month, prepared a fabulous meal with potato dumplings as described in the book along with some delicious salads and Hungarian Stew. So delicious!





Hungry for more? Check out  The Book and Beyond,  The Books We've Read, or See all my reviews on Goodreads .

Happy Reading!

Books of the Month – March 2017

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Books of the Month - March 2017

Books of the Month - March 2017 - Novel Gobblers Book Club

Wow! March is over already? Did it zip by for you, too? One of the best parts about March was that I finished three books and enjoyed them all. It's my goal this year to work my way through The Henry Family series by Henry Wouk. They are big books so I'm taking my time and trying to absorb as much as I can - it's so interesting! I finished volume one and have now started volume two. I also read A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, which was our book club selection and boy, did it ever generate a great discussion. Have you read any of these books? Which books did you enjoy this month?

Some of the books I read are featured in our The Book & Beyond section.  That's where you'll find interesting things about and even beyond the book. I'd love to feature every book I read in The Book & Beyond section but somehow life has happened and I've fallen very behind. 🙂  I promise I'm working to catch up! Even so, you'll want to check out what's there when you're done here - tons of fascinating stuff!



The Winds of War (The Henry Family, #1)The Winds of War by Herman Wouk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An Impactful Must-Read. This is How History Should be Told

If you're looking for an impactful, compelling, unputdownable, entertaining family drama packed with historical facts leading up to and into WWII, this is the book! I learned more about WWII from this book than from any other. Most history books tend to be a snooze for me, regardless of how badly I want to learn the information. But not this one. Herman Wouk is masterful storyteller. His telling of history works because he humanizes it. You experience it through his characters.

Members of the fictional Henry family are completely believable characters; some lovable, some admirable, some total morons, and all with flaws we can relate to. As the members of this military family are spread across the world, we learn about the struggles of those affected by the war be it due to location, heritage, or personal convictions. We learn about the political players and strategic political plays. We learn historical details from different characters with different perspectives. I especially enjoyed that some chapters were devoted to Victor Henry's translation of "World Empire Lost", a history book written by a fictional German general, Armin von Roon, and to which Victor Henry offers his own insights.

My review hardly does justice to this book. But believe me, you don't want to pass this one by. This is how history should be told.



A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"They say the best men are born of their faults and that they often improve later on, more than if they'd never done anything wrong."

What a delightful read! I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The characters were colorful and true. I enjoyed Backman's writing style; direct, engaging, and beautifully conveys the personalities, trials, and hearts of the characters. A truly heart-warming story of loving people beyond their faults - or maybe even because of them, whether you intend to or not.



All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1)All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"Every dumb thing I ever done before in my life there was a decision I made before that got me into it."

Despite the pretty title, this is a tough story. John Grady Cole has lost his grandfather and the ranch will be sold. It's all John has ever known. He's a cowboy and that's all he ever wants to be. So he and his cousin, both about 17 years old, leave Texas and ride their horses across the border into Mexico. It's 1949. In Texas they tie their horses up outside cafes and gas stations. The moment they cross into Mexico, they step back in time. Desert. Cactus. No motor vehicles, few settlements. The people they meet lead them to hard life and hard choices; some of them life threatening.

I am so glad I read this book. There were many things I loved about it but many things I didn't. What did I love? The contradictory nature. The depth of the story and characters yet the direct, no frills conversations with little show of emotion. The action yet the slow pace. The beauty yet the harshness. I loved that once they passed into Mexico, the descriptions of the land and many of the discussions between the characters we given in Spanish. There was a very distinct feel that you were no longer in Texas nor in 1949! I liked the boys and was impressed with their maturity at such a young age.

What didn't I love? The lack of quotations caused a lot of confusion for me about who was speaking. At times the story would jump forward to a new scene, leaving me confused about how we got there. McCarthy offers beautiful language but the story is not a lullaby like the title implies. It's not a happy story and I was I left with a strong hope that John Grady Cole will somehow find his place and his happiness.



Hungry for more? Check out  The Book and Beyond,  The Books We've Read, or See all my reviews on Goodreads .


Happy Reading!

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4 Simple Steps to Add Our Speed Button to Your Home Screen

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 4 Simple Steps to our Quick Access Speed Button

Here's a nifty little trick you can use to add our website speed button to the home screen on your smartphone or
tablet. It's super-duper easy - just follow these 4 simple steps: 



1. Launch Chrome and navigate to

2. Tap the Overflow button in the toolbar (three vertical dots) and select Add to Home Screen

3. Tap ADD

4. The speed button will be placed with your other apps and widgets where you can now drag and drop it right onto your home screen


1. Launch Safari on Apple's iOS and navigate to

2. Tap the Share button in the toolbar (rectangle with an arrow pointing outward) and select Add to Home Screen

3. Tap ADD (you may be prompted to give it a name first)

4. The speed button will be placed with your other apps and widgets where you can now drag and drop it right onto your home screen


It's that easy.

Now you can access all our bookish news in a snap with just one tap!

Happy Reading!






Books of the Month – February 2017

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Books of the Month - February 2017

A friend gifted me this adorable Owl Calendar by Debbie Mumm and I love it so much that I decided to use it as the backdrop for my new Books of the Month posts. At the end of each month, I'll post about the books I read that month along with a short review of each.  Have you read them? What did you think?  Join in on the fun and leave us a comment!

Some of these books will be featured in our The Book & Beyond section, too. I'd love to tell you that all the books I read will be found in The Book & Beyond but in reality, that probably won't happen.  Even so, you'll want to check out the ones that do make it - there's tons of fascinating stuff in there!



HMS Nightingale (Alexis Carew, #4)HMS Nightingale by J.A. Sutherland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Swashbuckling Interstellar Adventures

In this, the 4th volume, Alexis is promoted to lieutenant and given charge of her own ship only to discover her crew to be a ragtag group of misfits with questionable sailing skills. Facing many challenges in her new role, Alexis leads her crew through exciting encounters, many with pirates and some with - Wait! Could it really be? Ghostly Flying Dutchmen?!

Entertaining and intriguing as always, the story is brought to life by Elizabeth Klett's stellar audio narration. While I enjoyed this book, I enjoyed it less than the other volumes. This is mainly because there seemed to be less of an emotional connection developed between the characters and I felt certain phrases were overused. Still, this volume is important in the overall story and ends with fabulous news - more volumes are coming!



Red ButterflyRed Butterfly by A.L. Sonnichsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Don't worry if your new life has been tough.
Remember, it takes a while for a butterfly's wings to dry."

Every once in a while a book comes along that imprints itself in you and changes you forever. This is one of them.

A tender, tragic, relishing story of hope, isolation, adaptation, kindness, and love in a world where harsh political policies have triggered harsh choices and consequences for families and children. Though a fictional story about a young Chinese girl being raised in China as an American, it truthfully tells of ethical decisions faced by many in China since the One-Child policy was placed into effect in 1980. There are many questions about the characters that are answered with flawless timing as the story beautifully unfolds at a perfect tempo, keeping you intrigued, hopeful, and deeply moved. The Author's Note at the end of the book is powerful and added yet another layer of love and understanding to the story.

I borrowed this booked from our local library but it is one of the few that I will buy and place on my own shelf where I will see it, re-read it, and experience it again and again.



A Fall of MarigoldsA Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Unpredictable & Unputdownable

Two periods in time, 100 years apart, uniquely linked by a delicate piece of fabric; a scarf, embellished with marigolds, weaving it's way through time and tying together the lives of all whose hands through which it passes. Lovely, delicate, fragile, strong, resilient. These words describe the scarf and the characters that have experienced harrowing, tragic events and work to move beyond the emotional outfall.

At times, I was bewildered by the actions of the characters, which to me seemed foolish and nonsensical. But in contemplation, the reality is that the emotional havoc wreaked on those who experience traumatic events often causes illogical thinking and actions. The story is realistic and lovely, and seamlessly accomplishes the highest objective for the reader - to truly empathize with the characters and experience their story along with them.

Meissner is a masterful storyteller, reminding us that large and small acts of kindness can spark powerful hope and strength in ways that is often unseen by the giver.
"Love is the only true constant in a fragile world."

Read it. You'll be all the better for it.



Inside Out & Back AgainInside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Don't Pass This One By

This is a touching story of Vietnamese family that comes to America for refuge due to the fall of Saigon. Ten year old Ha tells her story in verse, which perfectly conveys the young voice of a child facing mature circumstances and events; her father is missing in action, her mother is doing her best to provide for and protect the family on her own, her country no longer exists, her new home in America is safety yet completely unfamiliar, her family must learn to accept assistance and the generosity of many and overlook cruelties inflicted by others, and Ha must learn to compromise, be grateful, and discover that love and family is the ultimate definition of home.

Ha is an adorable, spunky character that bristles at being told she cannot do something simply because she is a girl. She is smart, yet struggles with feeling stupid due to language and cultural barriers. Her moments in the sunshine are delightful. Best of all, is after having fallen in love with Ha, I discovered she was actually the talented author of this book and these were her experiences.

A wonderful, wonderful story for all ages that you won't want to miss.

Last year we read The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen's 2016 Pulitzer Prize winning novel. It is also set at the time of the fall of Saigon yet gives an adult perspective to the story. It was interesting to compare the differences between the characters and their experiences in these two books. See more about The Sympathizer.


Hungry for more? Check out  The Book and Beyond,  The Books We've Read, or See all my Goodreads reviews.


Happy Reading!

Wondrous Words Wednesday – February 15

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Have you learned some new words lately?  Share them at Wondrous Words Wednesday (hosted by “Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading."

I am super excited to tell you about several new words from my reading this week.

First, I came across 3 new words in HMS Nightingale by JA Sutherland, with two of them in a single sentence!
"Alexis felt as though she was treading waters filled with sharks; sharks and a particularly vapid remora."
  • vap·id /adjective/ offering nothing that is stimulating or challenging.
  • rem·o·ra /noun/  a slender marine fish that attaches itself to large fish by means of a sucker on top of its head. It generally feeds on the host's external parasites.


Alexis uses this next word often, especially when commanding her crew. Of course, "instant" and "instantly" are not new to me but I had never heard someone use "instanter" until I read this series.

"See the men back on the boat. Instanter!"

  •  in·stan·ter - adverb     Without delay; instantly.


Lastly, I heard the following new word in the audiobook The Winds of War by Herman Wouk, but I can't remember the actual sentence so here's a generic example of how it's used.
 "All this is so anodyne as to be completely unobjectionable."
  • an·o·dyne  /adjective/  Not likely to cause offense or disagreement and somewhat dull.
  • an·o·dyne  /noun/  A painkilling drug or medicine.



Don't you love it when your reading expands your vocabulary?

What Wondrous new Words did you learn this week?

Happy Reading!





WWW Wednesday: February 8th

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WWW Wednesday: 8th of February 2017

The WWW Wednesday blog-hop is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

It’s a great  way to do a weekly update, connect with other book lovers,  and see what they’re reading this week.

How does it work?

Just answer the three questions in the comments/reply section below for others to look at. Be sure to leave a link to your blog post. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses.

Please, take some time to read the comments and visit the participant blogs  so you can see what others are reading. You can also pop over to Sam’s blog, Taking on a World of Words, to see where it all started.


To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m Currently Reading



I’m listening to the audiobook narrated by Elizabeth Klett. She delivers a spectacular performance for an equally spectacular story.

I LOVE THIS SERIES.  Here’s why.  






One of my goals this year is to slowly work my way through both Herman Wouk’s volumes of The Henry Family Series – #1 The Winds of War and #2 War and Remembrance. It’s a fascinating story and wonderful account of history leading up to and into WWII. I’m learning a ton and enjoying it!




What I Recently Finished Reading


Simply Terrific. Both of them.

Click below to find out why they are now among my favorites.

The Invention of Wings

Red Butterfly



 What I Might Read Next









Have you read any of these? Did you enjoy them?

What’s your WWW for this week?

Be sure to leave your link and a comments below (if you’re so inclined) and visit the blog posts of other participants. 


Looking Back at 2016

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"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one."

~George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons.


What a fantastic year! We read 10 more books and added loads more to our To-Be-Read (TBR) lists. We discovered more about our world and each other through lively discussions, great food, and deepening friendships. What could be better than that?

Take a look back with us over the past year to see a bit of what happens when this super-cool group of book lovers meet to Read More, Discover More, and Enjoy More!


The Books We Read

Member Faves

With so many different personalities and tastes in books, it's always fun to see which ones end up being favorites (or not so favorites!). 


Eleanore & Park 
"We read many good books this year, but I think my favorite was Eleanor and Park. It was a delightful, yet haunting love story. There were parts that were sweet and funny, and could be anyone who has experienced young love."






I haveshtumCover_ two favorites for 2016.  First, SHTUM.  I have a coworker with
an autistic son and found this selection to really make me think about the challenges he faces every day--loving his son, caring for his son, and the financial and emotional challenges of providing for his son in the present and future.  This book gives us a glimpse of what life might be like loving someone with special needs. 

Second, The Art of Racing in the Rain.  I have to admit, after reading the description of the book among RacingRainthe other choices for the month--this read was not my first choice. But, as you can see, it was one of my favorites.  It was very easy to read and I found myself not wanting to put it down.  This book brings new meaning to seeing something from a different perspective.  Just when you think there are two sides to every story, there's a third--the dog's perspective.  The book was funny (why dogs eat stuffed animals), sad (the Mom dies), loving (a Dad's journey to keep his daughter), hateful (relatives trying to take a daughter from her father), driven (a man following his dream), and a tear jerker (it all works out in the end).  Just a great, warm story. 

I have loved participating in this book club.  Joining has provided a structured environment where I've enjoyed the opportunity to read books I wouldn't have chosen myself.  I tend towards reading non-fiction and while I still enjoy those books, I've found the selections chosen by members to be interesting, challenging, and the discussions at the meetings very engaging and satisfying."






"My favorite was by far and away The Sympathizer. I learned a lot that I did not know before about this important period in history, including why the Vietnam War was fought and how the Vietnamese people felt about it.  It was interesting to hear a Vietnamese perspective for once, one that somewhat told "both" sides of the story. The central characters were extremely well developed, and overall it was an extremely well-written book.  I could not put the
 book down.

GoldfinchThe Handmaid's Tale Book Cover

My next favorite books from the book club were The Handmaid's Tale and The Goldfinch.



"My favorite book this year was The Sun Also Rises. I loved Hemingway's writinHemingwayg style; he conveys so much in so few words. He gives powerful, short descriptions of surroundings and emotions. I was amused by the characters, often disturbed by their behavior, and slightly confused that there didn't seem to be a plot to the story. There is a lot of symbolism in the story that offers insight and depth to the otherwise aloof characters, but you have to pay attention to pick up on it. I didn't at first and thought the entire story was pretty shallow. Then in contemplation and discussion I began to understand the symbols and was taken aback at how clever Hemingway's writing was. In the end I loved the story and now realize why Hemingway is considered to be one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.  
I am super excited to have accomplished the 2016 Extreme Book Nerd Challenge through our public library; 50 books, each in a different category. I really enjoyed it, although I have never read at that pace before! A couple of my favorites from the challenge are The Alexis Carew Series by J.A. Sutherland, Victoria 4:30 by Cecil Roberts, and a wonderful first-time experience with a book written in verse,  Audacity by Melanie Crowder.






"I love thSympathizere diversity of our book club and the selections.  As I look back at the year, there isn’t one book that stands out and says “this is my favorite”, unlike the previous year.  I’m grateful for our book club, the books that we read and the friendships we have built.  I did read the Sympathizer twice, just to make sure that I didn’t miss anything (as I was the host for that month).  I was shocked at the Handmaid’s Tale as I really don’t want to think of how quickly that could happen to us now.  

I did read (listened) to some others - most of them were enjoyable...Me Before You by Jojo MoyesThe Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle ZevinThe Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz, and A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, to name a few."




Book Club Mojo

Our meetings this year were enjoyable, as always. The discussions were enlightening, the food was delicious, and the friendships are cherished. It's impossible to say any one meeting is better than another but there were a few I must mention, such as Kelly's unique and fun experience of having our book discussion in the hot tub and fishing laminated questions out of the water, an outstanding pilgrim's meal and highlights of Catherine and Sarah's 500 mile pilgrimage across Spain, and a couple group activities (a concert by the river and an evening of Bingo at a nearby casino).  Go Novel Gobblers! 

Here's a few snapshots of our get togethers. We'd have more for you but we're usually so involved in the meetings that we forget to take pictures!

Novel Travels Thru Space & Time

Where did our reading take us? Our literary travels crossed the globe and spanned the early 1900's to the not so distant future. Now that's a lot of space and time!  And what about physical travels? One of our members visited Pamplona, Spain as in The Sun Also Rises and carried our very own Rocky Livingstone 500 miles across Spain!


How to use the map: Hover over the red dots marking specific locations, click on the images to enlarge them, click on the x in the corner to close them, or even pan and zoom in the map to see more detail. Alternatively, you can scroll through the travel list shown below the map.



A pretty fantastic year, right?  Thanks for joining us.  Please stay awhile and come back often!


Read More ~ Discover More ~ Enjoy More


500 Rocky Miles Across Spain

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I decided Rocky gets lonely in my pocket all day with nothing but my Chapstick to keep him company. So I found him a girlfriend. Her name is (of course) Adrienne. Her surname can be Tardajos because that is the closest village to where I found her."



Meet Rocky Livingstone.

Rocky is special to me. He and a bag of his friends were given to me by my grandparents. When grandpa retired, he and grandma began the hobby of rock polishing. They are both gone now and I treasure these smooth, shiny, colorfully patterned rocks now more than ever. I have them in a glass vase and every time I look them, or hold them in my hands, it feels like a warm hug.

This past summer my friends, Catherine, and her daughter, Sarah, traveled to Spain to walk the 500 mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. I was so excited and happy for them to experience such an adventure together.

I'd love to do something like this but for some reason, I don't travel very often. I recall my uncle having once told me, "The Sudweeks are travelers", and you know, he's right. That side of my family does seem to travel often -  far and wide. And not just touristy types of travel, but ones like visiting relatives in other countries, working in orphanages, living among the locals, hiking, and pilgrimaging. Why haven't I allowed myself to experience travel this way? I suppose it's seemed out of my reach. How silly is that? I decided then and there that I need to think more like a Sudweeks, and like Catherine and Sarah.

Then an idea came to me. I could begin making contributions to my family legacy right now, albeit vicariously this time. I pulled a polished rock from my vase and asked Catherine to carry it across Spain with her. She graciously accepted and slipped it into her pocket.



The Adventure Begins!

July 8th - Salt Lake City Airport

Zoom in, zoom out, pan around and explore the map. Click on a point to display photos and captions. Click on individual photos to enlarge them. Click on the enlarged photo to display the scroll arrow. Click on the X in upper right corner of the enlarged photo to close it.  There is also a blog-type view below, that you can scroll through.


We've Got Mail!

A Postcard from Spain

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August 2016

Just look at Catherine's big smile and tan! Rocky and his new friends, Adrianne and Shelly, look good, too. Catherine also brought home a Spanish coin for me.  SO COOL!   Thank you Catherine and Sarah for sharing your spectacular trip with us!


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Yes, Zachary, There is a Werewolf Grave

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"But shouldn't we wait and go see it tomorrow?", nervously queried 8-year old Zach as the late afternoon sun cast long shadows across the fallen October leaves on the cemetery grounds.

I reassured him that I would keep him safe and that this was something he would really enjoy seeing. Suddenly, we were upon it. The Werewolf Grave. And then it came in all it's glory, the moment I was waiting for - the anxious expression on Zach's face gave way to confusion, then comprehension. The light went on. He got it. With a big sigh he rolled his eyes at me and said, "Mom, you are so weird!" Haha! My mission was accomplished! That was nearly 20 years ago and it remains to be one of my favorite Halloween memories.

The Werewolf Grave has long been a landmark in our town and never fails to bring amused smiles to the faces of the curious. But what I love most is that it resides within the grounds of one of the oldest, most beautiful of cemeteries in our region and incorporates centuries of history.

It's difficult to see it clearly but the names read "WARE" and "WULF"


Last weekend Vi, my trusty bicycle, and I took a leisurely ride through the cemetery. We rode along every path, occasionally stopping to ponder about the lives whose names are engraved on the headstones. In the older sections of the cemetery there are groups of headstones engraved in Chinese and there are many headstones for babies that died in the 1800's. In addition to the Werewolf Grave, there are numerous others that we always stop at, namely those of my grandparents and other relatives, the Tautphaus family graves that overlook the adjacent park (originally built by the family as an "oasis in the desert" during the late 1800's and shared with the public), and a large heart-shaped headstone of a ten year old girl with her name, "Sadie", engraved in her own hand writing.

It may seem odd to you that I visit this place and ponder the minute clues given about those that lie here. But the beauty and history of this place always brings peace to my soul. Life is temporary. Yet lives endure time and influence the shape of all that comes after them.



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Rye Bread & Radishes

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Rye Bread & Radishes

Several years ago my friend, Carla, shared a Jewish Rye Bread recipe with me from one of her cookbooks, Rustic European Breads. I loved the recipe and purchased the book for myself.  Just the other day I pulled the book from the shelf and as I leisurely thumbed through its pages, I ran across the bread recipe again. I recalled that not only was this bread delicious but you make it in your bread machine! How much better could it get? Well, as it turns out -- much, much better!

I placed the ingredients into the bread machine (sans caraway seeds) and eagerly awaited my golden, freshly baked loaf of rye bread. While waiting, I read back through the recipe and noticed the author's note:

"One of the best ways to eat rye bread is to spread a fresh slice thickly with butter and then top it with rounds of sliced red, white, and purple radish."

Seriously??? Those Europeans must be nutters. There's no way that could be tasty. However, being the great adventurer that I am (stop laughing) and having just picked radishes from the garden, I decided to give it a try.

Much to my dismay it was fantastic! The moist, mildly sour crumb of the rye bread, the sweet, creamy butter, and the crispy, crunchy tang of the radish blended together to make a delightful, rich, completely unexpected bite of perfection.

I take it all back -- Europeans are brilliant! Rye bread with radish is fabulous!




Grab a copy of the book and try some of the recipes for yourself. They won't disappoint!

Jewish Rye Bread Recipe



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Jewish Rye Bread

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Jewish Rye Bread

Print Recipe

One of the best ways to eat rye bread is to spread a fresh slice thickly with butter then top it with rounds of sliced red, white, or purple radish. Also, this bread is quite good for sandwiches and other spreadables such as pates or foie gras.
1 1-pound loaf

1 1-pound loaf

Jewish Rye Bread

Print Recipe

One of the best ways to eat rye bread is to spread a fresh slice thickly with butter then top it with rounds of sliced red, white, or purple radish. Also, this bread is quite good for sandwiches and other spreadables such as pates or foie gras.
1 1-pound loaf

1 1-pound loaf


Servings: 1-pound loaf

  1. Add all the ingredients to the bread machine pan. Process on the basic bread setting.

    Remove bread from the pan to cool on a rack.
    Store wrapped in aluminum foil or in a paper bag.

Recipe Notes

From the book:

Rustic European Breads from Your Bread Machine 

by Linda West Eckhardt and Diana Collingwood Butts




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What? A Village that is basically one big library? How cool is that?!

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What? A Village that is basically one big library? How cool is that?!

I recently read a BuzzFeed post about Hay-On-Wye (see below) and it spurred my imaginings of a MUST-DO experience sometime soon! The quaint village filled with books looks so inviting and soul-feeding that I cannot stop thinking about it. In addition to being just plain charming, they also host an annual Hay Festival -- slated for May 26th- June 5th 2016!

For ten days a year 85,000 people come from all over the UK, Europe, America and the rest of the world to join a carnival celebration of ideas and stories.The programme of some five hundred events takes place in the tented festival village during the spring bank half term holiday. Writers, politicians, poets, scientists, comedians, philosophers and musicians come together on the greenfield site to talk, eat, think, drink and be merry.

Sadly, I won't be able to make it this year, but it is definitely going on my Want-To-Do list. While I'm there, perhaps I'll pick up that Pashley I've been dreaming of since reading Rachel Squirrel's post about bicycles in the bathroom.



With it's sleek, classic curves, hand-crafted leather grips and seat, cream tires, iconic wicker basket, and large 'Ding Dong' bell, I can't imagine a better way to toodle throughout Hay-on-Wye.

A Pashley, a quaint village, a castle, cobblestone streets, adorable cafes, kind people, fabulous food, spectacular scenery, and books, books, everywhere --This is a dream I'll be looking forward to living!
Join me anyone? Anyone??

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Follow Carol's board Hay-on-Wye:The Town of Books on Pinterest.


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