Book 32 of 50 – 52 Ways to Walk

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Annabel Streets grew up in Wales without a car or public transportation, so she walked everywhere, sometimes for miles. She is not afraid to walk or write about it. In her book, 52 Ways to Walk, Streets encourages us to find innovative ways to get outside and move.

52 Ways to Walk

She found 54 ways, but her editor said they should stop at 52, one for every week of the year.

How ironic is it that her name is Streets, right? Well, we can all do better when it comes to exercise. Streets quotes many research studies which show the benefits of walking for the body and for the mind. Continue reading »

Book 28 of 50 – Bolt

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Bolt by Dick Francis is a thriller set in the horseracing world of England. Kit Fielding, the main character, works as a jockey who races for a wealthy couple. Without wanting to, he turned into a detective, to help them escape a business partner. On the other hand, somebody is killing their horses “humanely,” with a bolt-gun.

Bolt by Dick Francis

Another horseracing thriller

Over these two plot lines, we also read about a love story. Kit and the niece of the wealthy couple, in fact, are engaged. Continue reading »

Book 27 of 50 – Driving Force

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Driving Force is a Dick Francis novel, i.e. a thriller from the world of horse racing. Queen Elizabeth II loved these novels and Mr. Francis wrote about 40. His son continued the legacy with more titles in the same vein, after they co-authored a few titles.

Driving Force by Dick Francis

I read Driving Force by Dick Francis on Libby, the library app, on my phone, in dark mode to protect my eyes

A few years ago, I read a Dick Francis novel and liked it, so I decided to try a few more. Well, I could not stop until I read four of them in row. Driving Force was the first in my little Francis cavalcade. Continue reading »

Book 26 of 50 – The Second Mrs. Astor

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One book leads to another. As I read Angela Gheorghiu’s autobiography, she mentioned the most famous cake in the world: the Sacher torte from Vienna. This lead me to discover a whole series of books about rich desserts and wealthy people. Talk about a unit study. That is how I discovered a historical novel titled The Second Mrs. Astor by Shana Abe.

The Second Mrs. Astor

I read it from READS, Tennessee’s electronic library

Have you ever wondered who the richest man on the Titanic was and if he made it out alive? The answer is John Jacob Astor IV (net worth $2.6 billion in today’s money) and no, he did not. He put his wife on Lifeboat #4. Continue reading »

Book 23 of 50 – The Battle in Gatlinburg

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The Battle in Gatlinburg by Bill Morris is a very small booklet about a Civil War skirmish which happened in Gatlinburg, about Light #3 and Anakeesta. The Cherokee Confederates were having breakfast one morning when two columns of Union soldiers surprised them.

The Roaring Fork River at Zoder's Inn and Suites in Gatlinburg

The Roaring Fork River at Zoder’s Inn and Suites in Gatlinburg

Leaving their corncakes in the skillet over the fire, the Cherokees retreated into the forest. The Union soldiers ate the corncakes and then pursued the Cherokees up the hill, in a tree-by-tree skirmish. Eventually, the Cherokees ran away and disappeared into the Smoky Mountains. Continue reading »

Book 22 of 50 – Paul et Virginie

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Paul et Virginie by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre is a classic French novel of the 18th century. I bought my copy a long time ago, in 1992, in Romania, but never read it.

Paul et Virginie

My copy of “Paul et Virginie”

The story fits the century in which de Saint-Pierre lived. On Mauritius, a French colony at the time, two single mothers (one widowed and the other never wed) raise a daughter and a son almost as siblings. When puberty kicks in and the platonic feelings turn to romantic, Paul and Virginie face some choices. Continue reading »

Book 21 of 50 – Learn Chess

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Learn Chess by John Nunn gave me great insight into the game of chess. Written for absolute beginners, the book provides the rules and all the strategies needed to become proficient in chess and go to the next level.

Learn Chess by John Nunn

This book will take you from absolute beginner to worthy opponent

I thought I knew how to play chess and taught my children the way the pieces moved when they were very little. My father had taught me how to play when I was a child. We even had a book about it (Primii Pasi in Sah by Elisabeta Polihroniade). I never finished that book as a child though. Continue reading »

Book 20 of 50 – Lettres de Mon Moulin

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Lettres de Mon Moulin by Alphonse Daudet (Letters from My Windmill) is a book I had bought for myself a long time ago, when I was a dreamy high school senior in Romania, hoping to become a French and English student at the University of Bucharest. We are talking 1992, folks.

My copy of Lettres de mon moulin

It sat in my parents’ home for decades until 2016 when I brought it to my home in the States. What a journey! Continue reading »

Book 19 of 50 – Up from Slavery

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We will study US History next year, so I was trying to get a head start in the reading material. Therefore, I read Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington to the kids out loud. What an informative, entertaining book!

Up from Slavery

One of the best books I have read so far this year.

From the first chapter, Booker wants everybody to know he is not bitter and does not hate his father, although they never met. Born into slavery, Booker framed slavery for what it was: a system which caught everybody in its snares. Continue reading »

Book 18 of 50 – Deep Work

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When I read Digital Minimalism last summer and blogged about it, I knew I wanted to read more books by Cal Newport. As a computer scientist, he thinks very logically and presents information in a way that makes sense. Maybe I have missed my profession. Maybe I should have been a computer science major in college, because, I tell you, Newport’s mind presents information just the way I like to receive it.

Deep Work Paperback Cover

Deep Work Paperback Cover

Deep Work by Cal Newport is tremendous. If you do not read any other book this year, read Deep Work. It is not just about productivity. It is about changing who you are by the activities you engage in. Stop the shallow habits of thought and become intentional about the way you interact with the technology available to us today. Continue reading »