WWW Wednesdays – April 10, 2019

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

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I tried to participate in the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon last Saturday, but I was so exhausted after hosting a garage sale that morning, that I just decided it was too much. Plus, is it just me or are readathons too much about social media and less about actually reading? I just decided to relax and read for the rest of the weekend, so I did manage to make progress on my Spring Reading List and my Margaret Atwood reads (see A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge).

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Outer Order Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin – library book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Focus on Authors: Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦
#HPBuddyRead Readalong: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
IRL Book Club: A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow – library book = ♦ ♦ ♦

*Click on the title for my full review of these books. A complete Margaret Atwood review will be posted at the end of the month.*

Reading Next

Did anyone participate in the 24 hour readathon last weekend? If so, how did you do? Did you enjoy it? What are you reading this week? Please post your WWW links below in the comments if I haven’t already visited them.

HAPPY READING!!!

WWW Wednesdays – November 14, 2018

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

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I’m making progress on my Fall Reading list for sure. Still lots more to read!

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

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I will say off the bat that you HAVE to read this! I own Jenny Lawson’s (aka The Bloggess) first book but haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I saw Furiously Happy was available on audiobook through my Libby app and thought I could use a book of humor. This book was so much more than humorous. It made my commute to and from work so enjoyable. I laughed-cried so many times. Almost every day, I came home and made my husband listen to a part of it. As not to spoil some of my favorite parts of the book, I’m just going to list my favorite chapters: “Things I May Have Accidentally Said During Uncomfortable Silences”, “Koalas Are Full of Chlamydia” and “These Cookies Know Nothing of My Work.” I love the conversations and sometimes disagreements she has with her husband. I can so relate.

Most importantly, though, I believe that the way she addresses mental illness is so important. I have so many friends who turned to her long ago (when she was just a blog writer), as they needed someone who would understand that mental illness is a real thing and a difficult issue. It can often cost someone their life. Both my husband and I have lost people to mental illness. Her openly discussing her own mental illness has provoked so many people to discuss their own mental illness and has no doubt saved lives.

Strange Things Done by Elle Wild

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As the winter weather approaches, and the small town of Dawson in the Yukon of Canada is about to be cut-off from the rest of the territory, a murderer is on a killing spree. Can the murderer be caught before there is no way to escape?

I read this book for our mystery book club. It was a fast read, and the author really sets the scene beautifully. You really feel like you understand what life is like in Dawson. Her descriptions of the landscape and the local venues she discusses are true to the real-life city. Plus, having a murder mystery take place in a town that is about to be cutt-off with frozen rivers and impassable roads, is the perfect scene for a thriller of a story. However, outside of the scene itself, the author did not do a great job with developing the characters and the plot felt like it really fizzled out at the end. I also feel like there are some unanswered questions. Overall, the book was meh, but I did like learning a bit about the Yukon.

Reading Next

Another great reading week! What have y’all been reading this week? Any recommendations? Feel free to leave a link to your WWW posts in the comment section below if I haven’t already visited your site.

WWW Wednesdays – October 31, 2018

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

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I did very little reading this week and weekend between work and travel. This past weekend, I took a trip to Austin, Texas for the 2018 Texas Book Festival. (See my post about that event here.) The festival kept me so busy with all the things to do and authors to meet, that I did not get much time to read. It was worth it though.

Currently Reading

Recently Finished

The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman – audiobook

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Sarah Weinman explores the theory that Nabokov’s Lolita was based off of the true story of the kidnapping of Sally Horner. This book provides an in depth analysis of Lolita and the story of Sally Horner, which I admit that I had not heard of before. I, overall, enjoyed hearing the comparisons between the two. However, I found two things rather annoying. First, trying to not spoil anything by giving away too many details, the author glosses over the fate of Sally Horner early on in the book and makes you wait until almost the end to find out exactly what happened to her. She should not have mentioned her fate at all until it was time to actually explain that. The second thing that I did not really enjoy was the end section that goes into details of what happened to characters in the book, many of whom were not very relevant to the story, so I cared little about what happened to them. It is a captivating read for readers like me who love true crime and also classic fiction.

Reading Next

I’m hoping to get a lot more reading done this week and weekend. What have y’all been reading this week? If you have a WWW post, please share the link if I haven’t commented already.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

2018 Texas Book Festival

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I decided that this would be the year that I attend my first book festival, and the Texas Book Festival in Austin did not disappoint. There were so many different authors from so many different genres and activities for all ages. When you want to attend all the sessions, it is hard to narrow down your must see/do list. I was fortunate enough to attend the book festival with a friend, who help me have the best experience. Here is what we experienced:

DAY ONE – SATURDAY 10/27

Meet the Indie Next Authors! Featuring: R.O. Kwon, Tommy Orange, Nicole Chung

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Book signing

Earth and Beyond: A Conversation with Scott Kelly in the Texas State Capitol

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Litsy Meetup on the lawn of the Texas State Capitol

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Book signing with Sarah McCoy

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Souvenirs – thanks to Texas Book Festival and Book People Bookstore

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Lit Crawl Austin – American Short Fiction authors play Ex Libris at Stay Gold, featuring Jamel Brinkley, Rita Bullwinkel, Rebecca Makkai, Jennifer duBois, Owen Egerton and Tommy Orange

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Lit Crawl Austin – Noir at the Bar where crime fiction authors read from their recent their novels at Stay Gold, featuring Lou Berney, Max Booth, Meg Gardiner, Mike McCrarry and Scott Von Doviak

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Won a crime fiction novel raffle with signed copies!

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DAY TWO – SUNDAY 10/28

Alternate Realities: Sci Fi in 2018 with V.E. Schwab and John Scalzi

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John Scalzi taking a selfie wearing V.E. Schwab’s cat ears

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The last presentation was amazing, and we were too tuckered out to continue with any more sessions, so we wandered around Austin a bit longer and then hit the road back to Houston. All the author/presenters we listened to were amazing, personable and friendly. We just wanted to be friends with all of them. Now I have to find a place in my house for all my lovely new books!

 

 

24 Hour Readathon Begins! October 2018

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It’s that time!!!! Time for the semi-annual Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon!!!!  As always I’m super excited and ready to go! I’ve got my TBR pile, snacks, and clothing (see photo off to the right) all prepared. This is officially my 5th time participating in this readathon. I do not anticipate making it the full 24 hours, but I am geared up to get some quality reading time in that will help me achieve my yearly reading goals.

Readathon Goals:

  • I want to read for at least 13 hours today.
  • I want to complete 3 books.
  • I want to read at least 500 pages.
  • I want to complete at least 5 mini-challenges.
  • Get Bingo.

Bingo:

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TBR (soooo many to chose from):

Obviously I don’t intend to read all of the following, but I like to have a lot of options to chose from in all different types of reading tools, like physical books, ebooks, and audiobooks. I’ve learned that a variety helps utilize every moment of the readathon to accomplish all your reading goals.

Physical Books

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Ebooks

Audiobook

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If you have never participated in this readathon before, I would recommend that you try it! It’s so much fun!

Here is my first read of the day:

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WWW Wednesdays – October 17, 2018

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

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I didn’t read much this week again, because I went on a mini holiday to visit family, but I am looking forward to catching up on all my NetGalleys, book club reads, and Fall Reading list this upcoming weekend during Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. Due to my intense work schedule and the fact that my body does not like me to pull all-nighters anymore, I won’t be able to read the entire 24 hours, but I intend to read most of Saturday. I will be creating my pre-readathon post in the next day or two.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Out by Natsuo Kirino – book

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Four women that work together at a factory outside of Tokyo, Japan conspire together to cover up a murder. This story follows these women and how the murder cover-up changes their lives and the lives of others that have connections to the women or to the murdered individual.

I read this book for an IRL mystery book club. While the story is disturbing (so many trigger warnings) and a bit depressing, I found that I still wanted to continue to read it to find out what happens to the four women and whether they really would get away with this crime. It may seem boring and tedious at points, but I believe those pages really help the reader understand the lives of the characters. No character is innocent, so you really don’t know who to root for. Another trigger warning – the end is just as disturbing (if not more so) as the beginning. It is a clever book and not like anything I have read before.

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan – audiobook

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Ella Duran from the United States earns a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University in England for a year toward a graduate degree. She is a very ambitious political activist for education but always wanted to study at Oxford so does not hesitate to accept the Rhodes scholarship. While at Oxford, she meets a group of animated characters and develops an attraction to one of her professors. She juggles her Oxford life and her US educational policy ambitions, but begins to realize that Oxford is starting to change her and her life goals.

As someone who studied abroad every opportunity I had and absolutely loved Oxford when I visited last year, I had to read this book. It starts by painting this amazing picture of Oxford, which is in fact a stunning place, and English culture. I found myself laughing at Ella’s interactions with her English classmates and some of the locals. I can’t believe I never noticed how my British friends use negative adjectives to describe something positive (ex. “that is terribly brilliant”). This story soon turned into a romantic story. I didn’t read the blurb that compares this story to a Nicholas Sparks or JoJo Moyes book, so I was a bit caught off guard when the story turned from mysterious to a bit sad. (I may have shed a few tears while listening to it at work). Normally I don’t gravitate to these types of books, however, by that point, I was so invested in all the lovely characters that I had to see the book all the way through. It was amazing. So many emotions, but I loved every moment of it.

Reading Next

I hope you all had a fantastic week of reading! Any thoughts on the books I’ve listed? What are y’all reading? If I haven’t already commented on your WWW post, please include it in the comments below and maybe some of you will be reading with me during the readathon this weekend.

HAPPY READING!!!

WWW Wednesdays – October 10, 2018

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

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I’m making some progress on my Fall Reading, though I am hoping to read more later in the month. However, I did get some amazing books for my birthday, which just keep on coming in the mail – A Booklover’s Birthday. I’m so blessed!!!

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Roomies by Christina Lauren (book)

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I didn’t get to read as much as I wanted to this past week, but once I finally got into “Roomies”, it was hard to put down. Holland first sees Calvin in a New York subway, as he was playing his guitar. She becomes a bit obsessed with him and his guitar playing and goes out of her way to hear him play on a regular basis. Holland realizes that he would be perfect for a part in her uncle’s Broadway play, but unfortunately Calvin cannot legally work in the US, as he has an expired visa. Holland decides that she can help her uncle and Calvin achieve their dreams if she marries Calvin, but is that the only reason why she wants to marry Calvin?

I thought the beginning was a bit slow, but by page 50 or so I was hooked. The marriage between Holland and Calvin may not be real, but their feelings are. With a few lies and mishaps, they both find themselves and realize that maybe this fake marriage isn’t really fake after all. There was a lot of build up to the end. Because of this, I assumed the end would be a bigger display of romance to achieve the HAE (Happily Ever After), but was a bit disappointed. I just wanted a bit more, but it was an overall enjoyable NYC rom-com.

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright (audiobook)

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This is an in depth look at Scientology through interviews with current and former members of the Church of Scientology. This book includes background information on the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, and the beginning of Scientology in 1954. I really had no idea that Scientology had been around for so long, and that so many famous Hollywood individuals were and are members (obviously I did know about Tom Cruise and John Travolta though). Sometimes I feel that I have a hard time with nonfiction solely because of all the characters that are talked about. There are a lot of people mentioned in this book, and I didn’t always feel that they were introduced well enough to understand their role. However, I guess that does show how many people the author interviewed. He definitely did his research. This book was very informative and comprehensive look at Scientology, their history and views. Even though I now understand why people joined the Church of Scientology, I find it to be less of a religion and more of a cult, which I believe the author does as well based on his comparison to the Branch Davidians and The People’s Temple.

Reading Next

I’ll be traveling this weekend, so I don’t know how much I will be able to read. What are y’all reading lately? If I haven’t commented on your WWW posts yet, please leave your link in the comments.

HAPPY READING!!!!

A Booklover’s Birthday – 2018

This is going to be a bit of a birthday brag, but this, my friends and fellow booklovers, is what I consider the best way to spend a birthday….surrounded by new books you were presented with.

I received some love from my #JustBecause (#JB) Litsy pen pal group with lots of cards, stickers, bookmarks, and the following packages.

My parents clearly understand my love of Jane Austen and coffee. Plus, who doesn’t love a good tote bag!

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I recently spoke to my BFF about my obsession with Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and my disappointment that I hadn’t read the book first. I also stated that I refused to see the Crazy Rich Asians movie until I had read that book. She decided to help me rectify this situation.

Last but definitely not least, my husband got my three books. He got me Proust’s In Search of Lost Time from my favorite bookstore in Paris – Shakespeare and Company. He also got me two amazing and beautiful first editions that include Dicken’s Nicholas Nickleby and L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, which is one of my favorite books of all time.

I am so grateful for friends and family that truly appreciate my love of books! Can’t wait to read all of these!

WWW Wednesdays – October 3, 2018

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

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I’m steady progress on my Fall Reading, even if I do keep on adding to the list!

Currently Reading

I know that I have been reading Roomies for a while. I had to put it down to meet other reading obligations, but I’ve finally picked it back up and am definitely hooked now, so I won’t be putting it back down again until I’ve finished it.

Finished Reading

Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White (audiobook)

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This is a self-help book that was published earlier this year, that I listed to via e-audio. I’ve been trying to find the right self-help book that will help me tackle a house project that I (not-so-fondly) call the Room of Doom. Our house is mostly clutter free with a lot of empty space, but that is because I have piled all our boxes into one spare room. That room has been like that now for two years, since we moved into our home. This room has been unusable because of the boxes, and I really do want to move forward with this project, but it always seems like a daunting project.

I believe this book had some good advice related to alleviating yourself of clutter. For example, I already toss unnecessary mail right away, so it doesn’t clutter our tables. The taking 3-5 minutes a day to just go through some clutter areas is a great start, whichI might actually utilize for my Room of Doom project. The author also stresses the container method, which is once a container is full everything else has to go. It was a little harder for me to buy into the idea that a bookshelf is a container and once you fill a bookshelf all other books should go. To add a book to a bookshelf, you must get ride of a book. I feel like I am better off just buying another bookshelf, but I do have the space to do that where as I didn’t before. I will admit that my books are taking over a lot of areas of the house right now, so I understand why authors feel the need to address books as clutter (Marie Kondo did the same thing), but wouldn’t their book be the first book you get rid of then?

I’m always looking for helpful solutions to tackling my Room of Doom, so please comment below if you have read any great books about this or have any advice?

I Hate You, I Love You by Elizabeth Hayley (ebook)

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When two colleagues, Naomi and Sebastian, who already have a strained working relationship, find out that they have both been nominated for a prestigious award at the university they work for, the tension between them builds but so does the attraction. Will they learn that they like more than despise each other?

This was a NetGalley ARC that will be available to the public later this month. I enjoyed a good portion of the book, as I liked the witty banter between Naomi and Sebastian, which helped the plot move along nicely. However, when the tension between the two main characters continued halfway through the book, I felt that that was a bit much, and it was time the story progressed a bit more. I think if the story had progressed a bit sooner, then maybe some of the issues between the two main characters would not have been lift unresolved at the end. While the end seemed to provide a happy conclusion, I feel that the characters wanted very different things out of life, that the author didn’t reconcile before the end. I feel less than satisfied by that.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (audiobook)

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I don’t even know what to say about this book, because I just don’t think I can do it justice. I listened to the e-audio version, which seemed to only make it that much more powerful a story. When she talked about her childhood, growing up in Pakistan; the impact from 9/11; two horrific natural disasters (earthquake and flood) that killed thousands of people; and the emergence of the Taliban, I felt that I was experiencing all those things with her. I felt the value her father put on education that led Malala to fight for her right to have an education. She made a statement along the lines that you don’t realize how important something is to you until you don’t have access to it anymore. That was how it was for her when she was not allowed to attend school anymore, because she was a girl. She vocalized her opinions about how education should be available to all people. This and also other things she did (like not covering her face with a scarf) were seen as a threat to the beliefs of the Taliban. They believed her to be promoting westernized ideals instead of Pakistani traditions, and on October 9, 2012, they shot her in the head, while riding on a bus home from school. She was 15 years old. Through nothing short of amazing doctors and maybe a few miracles, Malala Yousafzai survived the attempt on her life and went on to continue promoting education all around the world, which also won her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. This year, she went back to her country and her hometown in Pakistan for the first time since she was shot (more than 5 years earlier), even though opinion of her in her home country is not positive. In fact, this book is banned in many schools around Pakistan. However, I believe that this is a extremely powerful book that all young people should read, as the fight for equality continues. Education should be a basic human right no matter your sex, race or economic background.

Reading Next

What have y’all been reading this week? Please feel free to leave some recommendations or a link to your WWW post.

HAPPY READING!!!

Fall Reading – 2018

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Fall is officially here. There are so many fun events in the world of books during the fall, with book festivals (I’m really hoping to go to the Texas Book Festival in Austin, TX this year), readathons (like Dewey’s 24 hour readathon), and PBS announcing the Great American Read. With all these fun things happening this fall, I am hoping that this will inspire me to get through the following (or at least a majority of the following) reads:

NetGalley Reads

  • The Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory 
  • I Hate You, I Love You by Elizabeth Hayley 
  • One Day in December by Josie Silver
  • The Library Book by Susan Orlean
  • Girls on the Line by Jennie Liu
  • Broken Ground by Val McDermid
  • Killer Classics by Kim Roberts
  • Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose
  • A Christmas Date by Camilla Isley

BookishFirst Reads

  • Murder Mile by Lynda La Plante 
  • Laurentian Divide by Sarah Stonich

Goodreads Giveaway

  • Postcards from a Stranger by Imogen Clark

Book Club Reads

  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz √ 
  • Strange Things Done by Elle Wild
  • Out by Natsuo Kirino √ 
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Devil in the White City by Eric Larson

Other

  • Different Seasons by Stephen King – ebook
  • The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn – book
  • Bonfire by Krysten Ritter – book
  • Rooms by Lauren Oliver – book
  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware – book
  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan – book
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – book
  • Raven and Other Favorite Poems by Edgar Allen Poe – book 
  • Sadie by Courtney Summers – book
  • Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward – audiobook
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai – audiobook 
  • Kiss Me, Kill Me by Ann Rule – audiobook 
  • My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan – audiobook √ 
  • Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann – audiobook
  • Endurance by Scott Kelly – audiobook
  • The Personality Brokers by Merve Emre – audiobook 
  • The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman – audiobook 
  • Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White – audiobook √ 
  • Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright – audiobook √ 
  • The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington – audiobook 
  • The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard – audiobook 
  • Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson – audiobook

What are you looking forward to reading this Fall?

Hope you all have a productive Fall Reading season!!! Happy Reading!!!