In the Bookcase


Cultivating the mind (with books) into who you want to be

Here's one of my FAVORITE FINDS on the internet this week... an amazing article I'd like to share with you all! >>>

Rewired: What Your Smartphone Can’t Give You (But Books Can)

article by Emily @ The Tansy Patch blog

"Scroll. Tap. Ding! The era of the smartphone has completely changed our society. Virtually any information is available at our fingertips. Constant entertainment is accessible at the tap of an app. Numerous social media options pretend to quench the thirst for human companionship.

Quiet is a thing of the past. We’ve forgotten how to still our minds. We’ve rewired our brains to crave constant noise, entertainment, and shallow stimulation. You’ve heard this message before.

I get it, you say, be careful with social media, limit internet usage, stop texting all the time and pay attention to your family and those around you. All of this is wise advice. But it goes deeper than that. We’re missing out on so much more...."

— Continue reading at THE TANSY PATCH

Let's discuss it!

How often do you choose stillness over entertainment?

What can you do differently in 2020 to rewire your brain towards books you can "chew" on vs. checking on your smartphone and social media?


My Top 10 Favorite Reads of 2019

So I love making a list of my top 10 favorite reads every year (plus it includes some extras, usually, because I just can't help myself). These books were not all published this year -- they were published in any year of days gone by. But 2019 is when I personally read them.

And these 10 books in particular put an extra sparkle in my eye (and made my heart pitter-patter a little faster) as I read them...

In no particular order, my top 10 favorite picks...

Mistress Pat by L.M. Montgomery
I'm a bigger fan of Pat after this sequel novel. I remember that the first book "Pat of Silver Bush" didn't feel, to me, like most of Montgomery's works do. Still, I knew I must read the sequel... And I'm so glad I did! Pat has risen high in my esteem. Another fun, sweet, loving character in L.M. Montgomery's canon....
{Read my full review here.}

Marilla of Green Gables by by Sarah McCoy
It's such a unique experience to see, touch, and hear Green Gables before Anne arrives. The only thing we ever knew of this fantastic place was to take it in all-new when Anne arrives for the first time. Now we see it in its innocent infancy, through the eyes of a girl who is already accustomed to its beauty, who sees it for what it is... but who will inevitably, continually discover its secrets for decades of her life....
{Read my full review here.}

Jamie MacLeod: Highland Lass by Michael R. Phillips, Judith Pella
While reading this tale, I have so enjoyed watching Jamie grow from a shabby little shepherd girl into a fine young lady. Her growth is seen in her personality, her spiritual discipline, and her beautiful nurturing soul....
{Read my full review here.}

The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott
It is such a sweet story, with some quality morals filtered in. We have good vs. evil. We have little twinges of romance. We have a decadently British setting, with some Italian flair thrown in. Plus a cast of peculiar characters akin to ones that Dickens himself might create. All this from an American 17-year-old who lived back in the 19th century! Louisa had an amazing imagination, even when she'd hardly begun piecing together stories....
{Read my full review here.}

Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Mr. Tarzan "of the apes" is a much more refined man than I previously assumed. He communicates with all animals of the forest (some on friendly terms, and some not). But by the time he claps eyes on the first white man he has ever seen (aside from himself), he has already taught himself to read English (a language he knows nothing about speaking aloud), so the fact that he can write full pages of letters to the new white people, but not speak English to them... The situation is rather comical! It doesn't stop there though...
{Read my full review here.}

Light in My Darkest Night by Catherine Marshall
If you're familiar with Catherine's other writings, or perhaps with Peter Marshall's story, you'll want to read this one too. If you need a good book that covers topics such as grief, loss, prayer, miracles, healing or even silence from our Heavenly Father... you may find what you need here....
{Read my full review here.}

He Shall Thunder in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters
Mother. Archaeologist. Detective. That is Amelia Peabody. Quite possibly, this is my favorite in the series to date.
{Read my full review here.}

Anon, Sir, Anon by Rachel Heffington
I immensely enjoyed this book! It's on par with any YA/adult historical mystery best-selling book out there -- for anyone who enjoys a good old-fashioned British murder (with a splash of comedy).... I feel like I've truly met and talked with these characters, and feel like I've visited Whistlecrieg a few times in person -- and would be excited to go back....
{Read my full review here.}

A Christmas Journey by Anne Perry
It's like an Agatha Christie plot, with an entire house-full for a cast of characters. An unexpected death occurs, and fingers soon begin to point among those in their midst. Once a particular person is charged, an option of mercy is granted. But the task appointed, it is not for the faint of heart....
{Read my full review here.}

I, Toto by Willard Carroll
TOTO! What a cutie. Such a good little movie star! Terry A.K.A. Toto starred in many movies during her lifetime, most notably, The Wizard of Oz in 1939. What a lovely read this is of Toto's "autobiography"....
{Read my full review here.}

And now, for the honorary mentions...

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Now, THAT is a murder mystery for the books! Whew! Agatha sure knew how to write 'em. Now I understand why this title is such a popular classic. (If you haven't read Murder on the Orient Express, you just should.) ... What a flabbergasting, jaw-dropping solution -- by none other than Mr. Hercule Poirot....
{Read my full review here.}

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley
I definitely enjoyed the story, how it begins with a "banishment" from Flavia's ancestral home. We, the readers, have never experienced the like before. What do we end finding out? Interesting things about Harriet, Flavia's deceased mother, and a few new hinted secrets too -- just to keep us guessing!....
{Read my full review here.}

Only Gossip Prospers by Lorraine Tosiello
An excellent, authentic-feeling portrait of Louisa May Alcott's life, post-Little Women. Louisa takes a motherly, Marmee type of role in this saga. Wherever she treads, even in the giant sea of people in New York, she leaves an indelible mark on her very own hodgepodge set of little women around her....
{Read my full review here.}

Previous years of top favorite books:

2018 // 2017 // 2016 // 2015 // 2014 // 2013 // 2012 // 2011 // 2010

So, dear reader, what are your favorite books that you got to read in 2019?

If you've posted your 2019 favorites list, drop your link in the comments so we can all see it!


Closing the book on A Literary Christmas 2019

Dear readers,

Now that 2019 is ending, A Literary Christmas 2019 reading challenge ends too.

I was able to read a few good holiday books myself (my total is 11)! I hope you all did well too. I certainly enjoyed seeing all your Christmas selections, and have added some new titles to my Christmas reading list for next year -- probably too many new titles, as I'll never get them all read. *wink*

Be sure to comb through the link-up below, and see if there's any books you need to add to your reading list for next year (or add to your Goodreads shelf). The link-up will still be open in January, in case anybody still has some holiday book posts/reviews to share. Feel free to share wrap-up posts!

(Hey, I hope you'll all be back for 2020's Christmas challenge!) We'll be starting up again in mid-November.

In the meantime... HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Link to your sign-up posts & reviews!

* If the linky isn't showing up for you, try refreshing your page. Or just leave your post links in the comments section, and I can add your post to the linky for you, if needed.


2020 Book Reading Challenges

Hang tight! Here's a list of reading challenges I'm signing up for in 2020...

Here at In the Bookcase, you'll find the Louisa May Alcott challenge during June:

Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge

I also host A Literary Christmas during November/December:

A Literary Christmas: Reading Challenge //

Please join me for these 2 annual events in 2020! We always have a ton of fun, setting our own goals, connecting with other readers, and getting really good book recommendations, and usually there's a prize in store you all. :)

I'm also signing up for the following challenges, which I'm excited about! This post will be updated with my booklists throughout the year.

The Goal:
Professor Genre: Historical Fiction // Genre Beginner Class (credits: 1)

Professor Mix-It-Up // Mix-It-Up Beginner Class (credits: 1)

Mix-It-Up Reading List:
An Endless Christmas, The Christmas Sisters, Heartless, Operation Trinity, Twig the Collie

Note to self: Spring report card: the second week of May.
Register in April for summer classes (May-August).

Giveaway: Two $5 Amazon gift cards (end of the semester).

The Goal:

1. 19th Century Classic.
     (ideas: Malcolm)

2. 20th Century Classic.
     (ideas: The Beasts of Tarzan)

3. Classic by a Woman Author.
     (ideas: Storm in the Village)

4. Classic in Translation.
     (ideas: War and Peace)

5. Classic by a Person of Color.
     (ideas: The Tunnel, Memoirs of a Woman Doctor, A Raisin in the Sun)

6. A Genre Classic. (fantasy, science fiction, Western, romance, crime, horror, etc.)
     (ideas: The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes)

7. Classic with a Person's Name in the Title.
     (ideas: Doctor Hudson's Secret Journal)

8. Classic with a Place in the Title.
     (ideas: Password to Larkspur Lane, Agatha Christie title)

9. Classic with Nature in the Title.
     (ideas: The Apple Tree)

10. Classic About a Family.
     (ideas: Behind a Mask)

11. Abandoned Classic.
     (ideas: Around the World in 80 Days)

12. Classic Adaptation.
     (ideas: The Return of Tarzan)

Note to self: Books must be published no later than 1970. Finish 6, 9, or 12 categories.

Giveaway: $30 Amazon gift card (end of the year).

The Goal:

1. A book with an emotion in the title
     (ideas: The Hate U Give)

2. A young adult novel
     (ideas: Allegiant)

3. A book translated from another language:
     (ideas: Around the World in 80 Days)

4. A book that’s centered around a holiday

5. A novel based on a true story
     (ideas: Psalm at Journey's End)

6. A book with song lyrics in the title
     (ideas: Nowhere to Hide)
7. A book that’s been on your shelf for more than a year
     (ideas: Nowhere to Be Found)

8. A book with a non-human narrator
     (ideas: Toto's Tale and True Chronicle of Oz)

9. A book with a month in the title
     (ideas: March Sisters, Seven Days in May, August Gale, The Hunt for Red October)
10. A book you heard about on TV/Radio/a podcast
     (ideas: Born Free, Agatha Christie novel)
11. A book set in the state you live in
12. A romance novel

Note to self: When finished, send in final booklist.

Giveaway: Amazon gift card (end of the year).

The Goal:
1. Read a classic over 500 pages
2. Read a classic by a POC and/or with a POC as the main character
3. Read a classic that takes place in a country other than where you live
4. Read a classic in translation
5. Read a classic by a new to you author
6. Read a book of poetry
7. Read a classic written between 1800-1860
8. Read a classic written by an LGBT author and/or with an LGBT main character
9. Read a classic written by a woman
10. Read a classic novella
11. Read a classic nonfiction
12. Read a classic that has been banned or censored

Note to self: Books must have been first published 50+ years ago. Books may be used for up to two prompts. Only finish as many categories as you want/can.
On the 1st of the month, a review link-up will be posted.

Giveaway: Three book giveaways: January 1 – April 30, May 1 – August 31, September 1 – December 31.
2020 Book Challenge

The Goal: Push yourself to read anything and everything that you need to read.

Note to self: Update list, halfway through/when finish/if more finished.

2020 AtoZ Reading Challenge

The Goal: Read book titles that start with all the letters of the alphabet, one book for each letter, link-up. 

E: An Endless Christmas
O: Operation Trinity

Note to self:
SPRING read-a-thon (March 28-29)
SUMMER read-a-thon (June 27-28)
AUTUMN read-a-thon (September 26-27)
WINTER read-a-thon (December 26-27)

Giveaway: Win a book of your choice (end of the year). Each book review submitted to the link-up will be entered into a drawing.

The Goal: Library Addict - 48 books

Note to self: Link up on review linky as I finish each book.

Giveaway:  Monthly.

The Backlist Reader Challenge 2020

The Goal: Read older books that have been piling up in my TBR pile/list [I'll try for 80+ books!].

Note to self: Books must be published before 2019 & already be in my TBR pile/list.
Link up on review linky as I finish each book.
Wrap-up linky will be available.

Giveaway: $15 Amazon gift card (end of the year), possibly others. Each book review submitted to the link-up will be entered into a drawing.

The Goal: Amateur Sleuth - 5-15 books

Note to self: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller/Crime genres, 100+ pages.
Monthly linky.

Giveaway:  2 prizes (half-way & end of the year).

The Goal: Robert Burns - 6-10 Books

Note to self: Books must be set in Scotland, about Scotland, or written by a Scot (by birth or immigration).
Link up reviews in the discussion as I finish each book.

The Goal: 1-10 – Discussion Dabbler

Note to self: Discussions can be about whatever you want as long as it’s relevant to books or book blogging.

Giveaway: Monthly book prizes.

The Goal:
1. Read at least 90 books, from all formats.
2. At least 25% of my reads must be published before 2000.
3. Listen to 20 audiobooks.
4. Read 5 non-fiction titles.
5. Try 20 new-to-me authors.
6. Get my Netgalley percentage up to 55%.
7. Read at least one novel that is 500+ pages long.
8. Review every single book I read this year. 

Note to self: 2 check-ins: May 1st and September 1st. The last update will be the wrap-up post.

Giveaway: Two $5 Amazon gift cards (end of the year).
For each goal you complete you get one entry.

The Goal: Socially Awkward (Don’t talk to me) 15-20

Note to self: Updates & giveaway will be posted twice.
First update: June 30. Last update: December 15.

The Goal: Conquer this literary behemoth by year's end. 1 chapter a day.