Friday, January 11, 2019

Pursuing a Lifelong Passion ~ My List of Books Read 2018

Are you an avid reader?
I am.  Reading is one of the greatest pleasures in my life.

Explore any reader's home,
and you will spot signs that an avid reader lives there.
Walk through my home and you will invariably see
a big coffee table piled with books and magazines,
a bedside nightstand crowded with books,
a bathroom floor stocked with magazines, 
and multiple bookcases overflowing with books.

Some of my earliest memories are of my mother reading to me at bedtime.
I would snuggle under the covers in my lamplit bedroom,
and Mom would sit on the edge of my bed and open a book
to magical worlds which filled my imagination and hers,
worlds wildly different from our staid Charlottetown apartment
at the corner of Fitzroy and Edward:
Heidi and Peter roaming over high meadows in Switzerland,
fantastical whales, elephants, and kangaroos coming to be,
and chimneysweep Tom transforming into a water-baby.
Those early books awakened my young mind
to travel, Earth history, and evolution.

My Grandmother MacBeath's Apartment Building and Home
at the Corner of Fitzroy and Edward
(We lived in the two-story apartment with the red and white door in the mid-1950s.)
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

But before those books there were others, 
wonderful picture books, nursery rhymes, and fairy tales;
and best of all Bambi!

Many young children have books they beg a parent
to read over and over again.  That book for me was Bambi,
and I distinctly remember my mother groaning one evening
as she reached for it and opened its inviting pages again.
I loved Bambi and his forest friends,
Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk.

Sometimes I feel like I was born reading.
I don't remember a time that I couldn't read.
The first book I distinctly recall reading was ~
Can you guess which one? 
Bambi, of course!

One winter evening the wind was keening about the eaves,
and my mother was, yet again, turning the pages of Bambi,
in the warm shelter of my dimly lit bedroom.
She and I were reading it aloud together.
I was soon to be four and very excited at the prospect.

Almost Four
Roy and Me
Circa late 1953
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Suddenly my mother stopped and said,
"Why Weesie, I bet you could read this book to me!"

"I can!" I replied with the assurance of a girl almost four.
"I know every word."

"I know you've memorized Bambi, but memorization is different from reading.
When you read you know each of the words on the page."

"I know, Mom!  I can read the words."

"Let's see," she replied.
She turned to a page in the book and pointed to a word.

"Bambi," I read.  "Give me a hard one, Mom."

She paged through the book randomly and pointed at a variety of words.

"The, antlers, thicket, grass, shyness... ."


"Good for you, Weesie!
You can read the words.
Now start at the beginning
and read Bambi to me."

I've been avidly reading ever since. 

Bambi Walt Disney 1949
A Big Golden Book
Vintage Childrens Story
Golden Press

My mother successfully passed on her love of reading to her five children,
and my brother, sisters, and I have passed that same love on to our next generation.
Currently my mother's only great grandchild Ella is experiencing the joy of being read to.

Reading magazines in the bathroom?
My father is responsible for that particular reading behavior of mine.
The bathroom was the one place he could find a little solitude
in our crowded MacBeath home.

My father greatly influenced my reading as I grew,
mostly by his example of reading voraciously,
his driving me to dictionaries to hunt down the meanings of words,
and his sharing of snippets of news or funnies from his daily newspapers.

I literally cannot get through a day without reading.
I must read.
Before I've finished one book,
I've got the next one lined up to go.

I'm grateful to both of my parents for encouraging my reading addiction,
but it's those treasured hours cuddled up with my mother
which set me on a lifelong journey of devouring books.

My Mother Reading in a Sunny Spot
Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada
Circa 1947
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Right now I'm flying through Fear:  Trump in the White House 
by Bob Woodward, a book my brother gave me for Christmas.
A tease and an instigator, Roy delights in engaging with me on Trump.

Queued up is Abaddon's Gate by James S. A. Corey,
the third volume in The Expanse series, 
a fabulous sci fi ride into humanity's future.

What are you reading?
I'd love to hear.
Happy reading in the new year!

My Father and His Roommate Reading
I used to sneak his goosenecked lamp under my covers to read
(when I was supposed to be sleeping)!
Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada
Circa 1947
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Here's my list of books read in 2018:

  1.  The Great Halifax Explosion by John U. Bacon

  2.  The Curse of the Narrows by Laura M. MacDonald

  3.  Area 51:  An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret
      Military Base by Annie Jacobson

  4.  Sold by J. L. Campbell (IWSG author)

  5.  Flaming Games by Chris Fey (IWSG author)

  6.  Origin by Dan Brown

  7.  The Spy House by Matthew Dunn

  8.  Revelation by C. J. Sampson

  9.  Lunch in Paris:  A Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard

10.  Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson

11.  The Rain Drop That Wanted to Stop by Pat Hatt (IWSG author)

12.  Tick Tock:  A Stitch in Crime by various authors (IWSG anthology)

13.  The Perfumed Sleeve by Laura Joh Rowland

14.  The Connective by Pat Hatt (IWSG author)

15.  The Disconnective by Pat Hatt (IWSG author)

16.  A Higher Loyalty by James Comey

17.  The Hellfire Club by James Tapper

18.  House of Dreams by Pauline Gedge

19.  Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

20.  Reread Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson
       (after visiting Padua and Florence, Italy)

21.  The Last Volcano:  A Man, a Romance, and the Quest
       to Understand Nature's Most Magnificent Fury by John Dvorak

22.  Delivered by Pat Hatt (IWSG author)

23.  Detoured by Pat Hatt (IWSG author)

24.  The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

25.  Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

26.  Civilisation by Ken Clark

27.  Giotto:  The Scrovegni Chapel by Stefano Zuffi

28.  The Royal Pavillion Brighton:  The Palace of King George IV
       edited by David Beevers

29.  Northanger Abbey by Jane Austin

30.  Whiteout by Ken Follett

31.  The Child by Fiona Barton

32.  The Haunted Mesa by Louis L'Amour

33.  Trixie Belden:  Mystery in Arizona by Julie Campbell

34.  That Month in Tuscany by Inglath Cooper

Still Reading by Lamplight
Aurora, Colorado, USA
January 9, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



  1. haha funny how he instigates with Trump. I think we still have that Bambi book around here somewhere. I sure read and write away at my sea. Was Area 51 uncensored really uncensored? The aliens may get you if you know too much lol

    1. Happy Friday, Pat! My brother is one of a kind, and sometimes I don't know whether to strangle him or hug him. Obviously the hugs have won out because he is still alive and instigating!

      "Area 51" definitely revealed a lot of information that was top secret. It was 384 dense pages long, covering many decades of American history connected with Area 51 inside the Nevada Test and Training Range and included 137 more pages of notes, bibliography, and index. It blew my mind, and I will reread it. What stood out for me is the power the industrial military complex has and its amoral character. One tidbit: There was a debate over whether or not the Trinity test, the first nuclear device detonated, would ignite the atmosphere and incinerate the earth. The scientists considered it unlikely, but they weren't certain. They detonated the device anyway. The urban legend is that Ferme took bets on it just prior to the test. The book striped away what few illusions I still had about the nature of power and the "goodness" of America's power elite whether in the government or the industrial military complex. Maybe the aliens would be better, LOL Have a good one, my friend!

  2. Lovely to see the photo's and great to read what you have written.
    Wonderful post.


    1. Thanks, Yvonne. My family papers and photos are my most favorite possessions. Wishing you a great day, maybe a walk by your beloved sea!

  3. Greetings Louise. A well-written piece that I enjoyed reading. I am not a big reader at the moment with editing my pieces - takes up all of my spare time! I hardly watch television. I do delve into the Bible at times. You sure have read a lot, and I hope you enjoy your current book about the White House during the era of Trump, which is still on going. Thank you for your visit to my blog last-night, it is much appreciated. Sending you warm wishes, and may your spirit uplift you! Blessings my Friend. Love love, Andrew.

    1. Hi, Andrew! Thank you for the kind words. It's good that you're focusing on your writing! I'll never catch up on television ~ LOL We're in the middle of a good snowstorm here. I've been out for the last five hours, and am I ever glad to get in the house. I saw lots of happy dogs ploughing through the snow dragging less happy and well-bundled humans. It made me think of you and Sadie. Take care!

  4. That's why I've always loved to read - my parents were avid readers and they still are.
    You've read a lot of your blogger buddies' books - good for you!

    1. Hi, Alex! Those of us with parents who were avid readers were born lucky indeed! My goal was to read eight IWSG books last year, and I squeaked by with the help of Pat's children's book. Next year: nine! When's your next one coming out??? You know I'll read it!

  5. Your book list puts mine to shame, LOL! And jeez, you were on a real Pat Hatt kick last year, weren't you! I remember Golden Books from my childhood too. I seem to recall there were Big Golden Books and Little Golden Books?

    1. Hi, Debra! This was the most books I have read in a while. Next year I want to get to at least 35. We shall see! I enjoy Pat's books; they're always a wild ride. There were big and little Golden Books. I tracked down an edition of Bambi, the one I pictured above which was the one I had. It's arriving in a few days, and I am excited! We're in the middle of a snowstorm here ~ hope it's better where you are. All the best to you and your Rare One!

  6. Replies
    1. I know, Sandi! :( But I loved it nonetheless! Have a good one!

  7. I'm so happy you read Tick Tock.

    Bambi was an early favorite of mine. When I was old enough, my mother gave me first edition copies of the novel and and read and reread it so many times.

    1. Thanks, Diane! I've enjoyed reading all the anthologies! I'm glad that you enjoyed Bambi. I had the Disney Golden Book edition pictured above. I must read the novel! Have a great weekend!

  8. I can remember my mom taking my sister and I to the library every couple of weeks to check out a stack of books. I thought everyone did this.

    1. My mother took my siblings and I to the library too, Tamara, when we lived in places with libraries. We always got books for Christmas. My mother used to send me to the library to get books for her when I was in my early teens ~ too many little ones at home for her to go. I, too, thought all kids went to the library. We were fortunate to have such mothers! Have a good one!

  9. Love this! I come from a family of readers, my mom and grandma are always reading and I find myself wishing I had more time to read than I do. My son, who is 9, is a great reader and enjoys the library as much as I do. I hope you get through your list!

    1. Thanks, Jenn! My goal is to get 35 books this year. As a retired second and third grade teacher, I am happy to hear that your nine year old son reads well and enjoys going to the library! Have a great weekend!

  10. Reminds me when I was in school, my two favorites were the Berenstain bears and goosebumps.

    1. You and a lot of other kiddos loved the Berenstain bears and Goosebumps books, Adam. I kept my classroom stocked with them. Have a good one, my friend!

  11. Oh my gosh, Louise! What an impressive list. I got up to 22 books in 2018. I usually do a little more but I had periods when I just couldn't concentrate. I LOVE reading. I've been reading since as far back as I can remember. And you're right, you'll know a reader when you step into her/his home. You would immediately know when you walked into mine by the four large bookcases you see immediately upon entering! LOL

    1. 22 books is a great accomplishment, Martha! I'm sure that you enjoyed every word. Now we have a brand new year in front of us to read, read, read! All the best to you and George

  12. I love the photo of you. You look so cozy and comfortable. I'm reading a biography of A.A. Milne, The White Album by Joan Didion (a collection of essays), A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, and The All Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg. Is it ridiculous to read six books at the same time?


    1. Thanks, Janie! I'm going to be cozy near the fireplace much of the day, because we had a snowstorm yesterday and through the night. I'm not planning to leave the house today until we're plowed and dug out, and not like then either. Every reader is unique, and however you read is you choice. I don't consider six books at a time ridiculous for anyone but me. My brain probably couldn't handle reading six books at a time, but sometimes I have two or three books going at once. I loved "Gone Girl," and I read "Heart of Darkness" decades ago in a lit class at university. I should read it again. Your other books look intriguing. So many wonderful books to read! So little time! LOL I'm determined to up my reading time this year, because I so love to read. All the best to you, Janie, in the new year!

  13. I love that you've read books written by some of the IWSG gang :-)

    When I read this, it totally took me back to my childhood. Loved that book! --> "Heidi and Peter roaming over high meadows in Switzerland"

    I'm currently reading Toxic by Lydia Kang and a couple of cozy mysteries. (I tend to have more than one book on the go at a time.)

    Cheers - Ellen


    1. Cheers, Ellen! How lovely to hear from you! I prefer one book at a time, but I sometimes have two or three books in the go. I googled "Toxic." It sounds like a good book. Happy reading!

  14. My grandmother got me hooked on reading when I was just a wee little one. She would always buy me Sesame Street books that were personalized with my name worked into the story. I've been an avid reader ever since.

    I read so many books last year but didn't keep a list. Some of my favorites though were Whisky In A Teacup, We Are Never Meeting In Real Life, The Perfume Burned His Eyes, and Stephen King's Sleeping Beauties. I haven't picked up a book with a story line in it yet this year as I am teaching myself Spanish, so I have been reading a lot of English to Spanish books. Aside from that, I've also been reading a lot of informational books on gut health and studying more about whole foods eating and the Mediterranean diet.

    1. Hi, Theresa! It must have been exciting to see your name in a story. Smart grandmother! I didn't think much about gut health until C. difficile came close to killing me. Now I think about it all the time. Good luck with eating whole foods and following the Mediterranean diet. I'm cooking as much as I can from scratch. The Mediterranean diet is reputed to be the best, so I've been using it when we're home. I still have to increase vegetables though. Have a good one!

  15. I have to admit, I have never been a "reader", but I do like to read, like on blogs! LOL! But, then again, I will read books. But, 34 in a year! Holy!! Good going!!!
    Louise I just love your blog posts! I feel like I am there right with you!!! You are an amazing writer! Big Hugs!

    1. You're so kind, Stacy! You made my day! When I wrote my post last week, I did a little online searching, and I found that I could order the edition of Bambi I had when I was a little girl through an Amazon linked bookseller. It arrived today, and I was so excited!!!!! It's in beautiful condition. I read it immediately, even though I had just gotten out of the shower. I can't tell you how incredible it was to read it again! I hope all is going well with you. Sending you a big hug!

  16. Hi Louise!! :)
    Your reading list is great! I love the first one, I think I saw a documentary about the Halifax explosion, very interesting. I love to read as well, but I have so much distraction these days I can't concentrate lol! I'm more of a summer reader when I can sit out on the porch. My big interest these days is biographies. I just finished one on Chico Marx.

    1. Hi, Rain! It's awesome to hear from you! I get the distraction/can't concentrate mode very well! We've been home about ten days, after being gone six weeks, and I'm trying to get back on a regular schedule in blogging. I am so behind with everyone! And everything! Terry has a little finger violin he plays when I start whining. I can here it now! LOL! I'm coming by right now! Take care!

  17. This is actually really inspiring to me! Thank you for sharing.

  18. Ah this post ached my heart somehow dear Louise !

    Reading is hobby which comes on top of the list to me but unfortunately life has become madly busy since being a housewife and mom takes my most of the time and when it comes to find some time to sit i feel so tired and exhausted to pick up the book and invest leftovers of my energy on it so i find watching t.v easy way of learning
    though in longer days of summer i can find some time to read some pages

    i am waiting for years ahead (if life stick) when i will be able to read as much as i want

    absolutely loved this beautiful post displaying your passion for reading my friend!
    best wishes for new year for you and terry
    may you both see many more new years together filled with ,health peace and joy ,amen!
    hugs! and LOVED all images ,specially this last one :)


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.