My year in books.

12 Months of reading

 I am quite taken with the local library and the creative service they offer, I was visiting this summer and a young child excitedly unpacked the contents of a back pack, binoculars, nature books and a pass to a provincial park. You can rent ukuleles for three weeks at a time. Download an instruction course on how to play and you’re away. There are takeout kids crafts and book bundles for adults and children. One of the librarians will parcel up books and present them to me so I don’t even think of what to borrow. Though my preference is the 3d printer. Don’t know what I’d   3 d print. Must be something out there.  It's intriguing that the library has one.

 Last year amidst all the offering, I decided to take on the library challenge. Each month we were to pick a book of that month’s theme. I normally read murder mystery or ‘who dunnit’ type books or fantasy’s in faraway sunny places. I wanted to move from my normal genre and form, to read in different formats. Real live books, my e reader, my computer and listen to stories.

And me being me I paired it with wine because books and wine go together don’t you think!

Here’s my list:

Lincoln Public Library reading challenge What counts? Print books, eBooks, audiobooks, YA, graphic novels, short story collections, you name it! Magazines and children’s books do not count.


January: A book set in a snowy place

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale: by Katherine Arden


It was refreshing and cozy to curl up with a book as the snow was falling outside. So much that this year I read a snowy place book over the holidays.

I would pair this with the old vine Foch as it’s a heavy red


February: An antiracist book


Title:   The Skin We're In: A Year of Black

Resistance and Power  Desmond Cole

Topical. A friend recommended it to me.

Wine pairing: sharp, like our White  Gamay


March: A book with a direction in the title


Title:Turn Left for Gibraltar

From Amazon ‘As 1941 draws to a close, brave young men are fighting for freedom in countries across the globe. But for Sub-Lieutenant Harry Gilmour, washed up in neutral Spain….’

Not my favorite . Read it on kindle. It was full of descriptions of submarines and nuts and bolts. A few good lines about relationship. My husband on the other hand read the whole series.

I would not pair any wine with this, but Dave paired the rosé for the whole series as he thought it was a summer read and tropical

April: A novel by a debut author

Title: The Girl Below:   Bianca Zander

From amazon “A powerful and truly haunting debut novel from Bianca Zander. When a young English woman, recently returned to London ..finds herself slipping back into her childhood, she must solve the mysteries of her dysfunctional family—and unearths disturbing secrets that could shatter everything she believes about who she is and her place in the world.”

Read this as a real book. I related to the description of the London apartments, the black railings and travel around the city.

I liked the connections with people. in fact, as I read through the list, I concluded that what I want from a book is human relationships, real connections.

Also, I want the book to move me beyond my knowledge of the topic, theme, situation, yet keep enough familiarity that I can relate to the book the characters. As if it’s an abstract painting that manages to tie enough bits to my reality to make it viable.

Wine: Holborn Gamay as that’s where I was born, The flat that the heroin lived in was so similar to mine and its London.


May: A book with a one-word title

Title: My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word 

by Mike AshcraftRachel Olsen


Well, we were asked to be creative This book has one word in the title. In May I was at an online business conference. There was chat of focusing business around ‘one word’ and I had not got a one-word library challenge book.

There are other one word books on the market, they like this book can be easily summarized in a blog rather than a book. The premise is the same. You find a word that reflects you or your business and stick with it all year.


I have yet to find a one word with London Born Wines staff though my personal word was discipline and suffice to say It was somewhat successful as I had the discipline to finish this library challenge.


Wine:  2016 Cab Franc as finding a one word for our company will be complex process and this is a complex wine


June: A book by a First Nations, Métis or Inuit writer


Title: The Power of Style: How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used to Reclaim Cultures

by Christian Allaire | Apr 27 2021

Heard about this on CBC Canada reads. Christian talked about how he could not relate to his Ojibwe culture and be a fashion conscious young person 'No one was doing that' he told us. He set about writing a book on how fashion can be more than clothes and how it can embrace who you are and your culture. He hoped his teen audience would be inspired. It inspired this adult who dutifully went to Chapters in St Catharine’s to buy the book. I found myself asking what my Englishness is, what clothes say who I am, my culture. Maybe I will give it to staff as a cool staff uniform design exercise.


Wine:  Again one of the Cab Francs because that says who we are


July: A biography about a Canadian who was born in another country


The Art Of Leaving: A Memoir  Tsabari Ayelet.


I was really stumped by this one and used one of the library recommendations

In an attempt to use as many formats as I could,

I listened to it as a word book. My limited auditory concentration did not do it justice. I intend to read the book as a hard copy.

A person like many others who recently completed military service in the Israeli army begins wondering and questioning what home is. Unresolved grief and life add to the mix.

Wine: I’d pair it with the Dry Reserve Riesling as it has a strong after taste and the book left me lingering for more.


August: A book with less than 250 pages


Title:, n : Kim Thúy'

A short poetic volume, in all 140 pages. Translated from French. I treated this like a poetry book reading some chapters over again.

semi-autobiographic.n, who moves from Vietnam to Montreal with her arranged marriage husband develops a love for food that goes beyond the cafe service she offers. It touches the Vietnam War, immigration, life and the power of food. It was sometimes hard to read the brutal acceptance of life as it is and the helplessness to change her lot as she saw it.

Wine: sparkling rosé : it pops out with short bursts of poetry


September: A book centered around school


Title: Children of My Heart Gabrielle Roy

From Amazon, as amazon says it better. "Set in the prairies in the 1930s, ..this is a powerful story of an impressionable and passionate young teacher and the pupils, from impoverished immigrant families, whose lives she touches. Children of My Heart bears unforgettable testimony to the healing power love exerts on the wounds of loneliness and poverty.”

Possibly my favorite book in the challenge.

Wine: My favourite besides the sparkling rosé is the Viognier.


October: A book that has been translated into English


Title: Bible: From the Ancient Eastern Text: George M. Lamsa's Translation From the Aramaic of the Peshitta.  English translation of the Aramaic (Syriac) Old and New Testaments--


Again, was told to be creative. Downloaded a theme plan for 28 days and followed it to the letter.


Why? From a historic view since the time of Christendom we are steeped in biblical mythology. There are still many references in our culture to biblical story’s. Was a vocabulary builder if nothing else.

Wine: Pinot Gris as this wine is approachable and it helped with reading this book which was not.


November: A book set at least 100 years in the past Title:


Daughter of Black Lake: Cathy Marie Buchanan

Set in a simpler time. A pagan community is confronted with the emerging Roman invasion. I found myself reading slowly to keep pace with the two generations of Black Lake community. Well researched.


Wine: Tigercats Chardonnay as it can be sipped slowly enjoying the pace of the book.


December: A book you've always meant to read


Title: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I was given a copy of the book by my mother and, like many others, I did not get past the first paragraph.

“Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

"It's so dreadful to be poor!" sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.”


I debated using this as a reading challenge book as some consider it a children's book (not allowed) others say Alcott invented the category ‘young adult’. Says from 9 years up. I don’t know what a 9-year-old would get out of it. Come to think I have a vague memory of giving it to my 9-year-old daughter who like wise read as far as the first paragraph. So, I am going with the young adult category.

It follows the life of the four March sisters from childhood to marriage against a backdrop of the American civil war and beyond.

The first section I found annoyingly boring to be confronted with the saintly mother and virtuous children. Though by the second half, written a year later the halos and armor are beginning to fall with bits of woven wisdom and I managed to enjoy the story.


The book has been translated into many languages and used as a basis for opera’s and films. Over the holidays I watched a stylistic film version with Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson. Yes, that Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame.

I down loaded the book it on to my computer for free using the Gutenberg  project. and read it from there which may have been a mistake because I have just been shown "A beautiful unabridged 150th Anniversary Edition with 200 original illustrations by Seawolf Press


Wine pairing: Seigrebbe as it has a floral bouquet and there was lots of floral in Little Women


What books would you add to the list? And what London Born Wines would you pair with it?




When a door closes another door should open, but if it doesn't then go in through the window.