Author Archives: Sheila (Book Journey)

Morning Meanderings… The End Of The Week Again….


Good morning!  2nd (3rd?) cup of coffee this morning.  I woke up with the best intentions to head out the door and hit the gym and ….


woke up a little later than I planned with about 30 minutes to get to the gym class.  I started out strong, put the workout clothes on, my new super cute tennis shoes, and with 20 minutes to go I was ready to walk out the door and then…

looked at my work list by my laptop….

  1.  work on the website I am building for a company
  2. complete new camp application
  3. Upload camp board application
  4. Update camp website
  5. work on the 2 grants I need to complete
  6. haul used books from the library to the new sorting area

What is it about that “to do” list that suddenly zaps you like kryptonite?


Sometimes…. we have to pick and choose.

Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE having a to do list.  It makes me feel very productive.  And yes, I am sitting here typing this in my gym wear…. but I have a treadmill downstairs… and after I finish this post, and tackle that Camp application…. I am going to turn on some LOUD 80’s music…. and run for a bit.  I will still have time to start the website update, and be at that the library in time to help and then home in the afternoon to continue wherever I leave off.

It’s a crazy mix…. but I make it work.  Not always in the order I intended…. but it does get done. 😀

And tomorrow….

I am going to try if possible to hit Octoberfest…..  kicking off my Festival A Month goal…..  and that is a story for another day.

What am I listening to during this crazed business?


Luke Richardson has returned home after burying Natalie, his beloved wife of sixteen years, ready to face the hard job of raising their three children alone. But there’s something he’s not prepared for – a blue envelope with his name scrawled across the front in Natalie’s handwriting, waiting for him on the floor of their suburban Michigan home.

The letter inside, written on the first day of Natalie’s cancer treatment a year ago, turns out to be the first of many. Luke is convinced they’re genuine, but who is delivering them? As his obsession with the letters grows, Luke uncovers long-buried secrets that make him question everything he knew about his wife and their family. But the revelations also point the way toward a future where love goes on – in written words, in memories, and in the promises it’s never too late to keep.

This one I am listening to on my phone as I do things around the house.



In Emma Donoghue’s latest masterpiece, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle – a girl said to have survived without food for months – soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of 11-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge best seller, The Wonder works beautifully on many levels – a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.

This one I am listening to in my car….

Both audio’s are very good and they are working for me in this season of constantly doing something.  Or maybe….it’s not a season.  Maybe…. it is a life style.  I am not really sure but whatever it is – it is working for me.

Happy Friday all!





There Were Books… There Were Burgers… And There Were Brews (and Potato Vodka Too!)


A few days back I shared with you the plans for a new event in our area, Books, Burgers, and Brews.  Our kick off event was this past Monday and I spent much of the day prepping the details and at the same time fretting about the details….

What is it about new things that makes me a mess of butterflies in my tummy?  I went over…. will they show up?  Will they talk?  Will they find the layout fresh, fun, and engaging….. will they find ME fresh, fun and engaging?  Will I be able to fill up two hours or will we end early?  Will they leave wanting to come again?

I need not have worried.  We had 21 attendees for this debut event.  I had a sign up sheet for those who wished to be notified of upcoming book selections and they almost all signed up.

Let me give you a little visual…


We used power point so everyone could follow along easily with the format and the questions.   I showed a 15 minute interview with the author Andy Weir while everyone ordered their food and drinks and chatted.  Oh and speaking of the food and drinks…



Our venue, Prairie Bay, made this awesome menu to go with our book discussion.  SO MUCH FUN!  I loved the Potato Farm and brought that home for Al.



One of the tasty burgers…  the Potato Farm.




NASA water was a fun prop.



Some of the group who attended Books, Burgers, and Brews.



Suggestions for future reads or attendees could write down their own ideas.


The overall night was a lot of fun.  We had a great discussion, and one guy who really did not like how the book was in journal entries and felt he did not need all the math and science info…. this different opinion than most of the other attendees was also fun as it added to the discussion.  A friend of mine in the group who really enjoys science fiction reads found that The Martian was overly light to be considered Science Fiction, where others in the room found it to be heavy on the science side.  In the end, I asked the group if they had the opportunity to write a three sentence synopsis on the back of the book what would it say.  I challenged the guy who did not like the book to come up with one and he did…  of course for the life of me I can not find his synopsis but it did have something to do with…

“The Martian…  all of the suspense and magical appeal of Harry Potter at Hogwarts with the addition of shit potato’s.”


Anyhoo… something like that – but it was funny – and really, isn’t that what makes a great discussion is the difference in opinions and how we all see things a bit differently when we read?

I would wrap this one up as a success.  It was good to see the group engaged in the discussion.  I think everyone spoke up at one point.  They enjoyed the food… and the little extras we put together.  At the end people thanked us for doing this and that is really what is was meant to be…. another way for The Friends of the Brainerd Public Library to reach into the community and build value in what we do and in what our local library can provide.

Next months selection – by vote of our attendees….



That will give me the push I need to get this one read and find the little something somethings to make this one a great discussion.

And Now For Something New…. Introducing Books, Burgers, and Brews


Yesterday I hinted a bit about this….. something new was happening….  here it is.  The Friends of The Brainerd  Public Library (my peeps!) are sponsoring a new event in the area that starts tomorrow evening – Books, Burgers, and Brews!

Ok let me back up and give you a bit of the history….

A couple of years ago at a Friends Board retreat, we were brainstorming the idea of putting a book club in a bar atmosphere.

Why Sheila?  Why would you want to do that?

Thank you for asking.  Here is why.

In our community there are many people who would love to get involved with a book club but for many reasons are unable to find one:

  1.  Most book clubs are a group of friends, co-workers, etc… it is hard to get into an existing group especially if you have no connections to them
  2.  Often book clubs meet in homes and 10 will not invite a stranger into their home 2) as the person looking for a group that is really intimidating to enter into a new group and new home of someone you do not really know
  3. Book clubs are often closed groups
  4.  Yes our library has an amazing monthly book club but some do not want to go and sit in a meeting room to discuss a book

So here we are.  Here are some cool things that a bar like atmosphere can provide:

  1.  A relaxed casual setting where you can sit with your friends
  2. Food and a beverage special so it becomes a dinner out or even a date night
  3. This format (and for me this is a big one) appeals to both men and women (where often men will not go into someones home and sit around and discuss a book, they are more likely to go with their spouse or friends to check this out
  4. No pressure to speak up.  Sit back and enjoy or share your insight
  5. No commitment – come when you can, bring who you can
  6. No one has to provide the snacks or drinks…. 😉

This idea came from a sort of similar type event that is held in Minneapolis by a guy I sat on a panel with once discussing the future of books.  I have enjoyed hearing his take on books through the years and love what he started with a little thing called Books and Bars.  Here is a great video of what that is about:


So going off that idea – Books, Burgers, and Brews is born.  Or… almost born….  we are calling it a Book Club With a Kick.  ;P  We are partnering with Prairie Bay to create a fun literary menu around the book… a burger and beer special and what I believe will be a fun engaging evening of conversation about an excellent read.  This is a free event…. we just want to match people to great books.

The mission:

To encourage reading by offering a fun atmosphere with food, drinks, and fun; making non readers, readers; and dormant readers remember the enjoyment of a good book.

So… what are we reading?

I am so glad you asked…


This we feel is a great choice that will engage both men and women.  It is sci – fi, but it is also funny and light… not too heavy.  I will let you know how our first one goes.  We are sold out this time… lets see if we can keep the energy up😀

Saturday Snapshot…. Weekend Cooking… A Little Investing In Me.


Hey all.  I meant to get this posted earlier but well… you know…  life and laundry and working on projects and OH where does the time go?  ;)  I think (I think…) I mentioned here somewhere in my ramblings that I am in a season of investing in me.  I am trying to move forward with healthy habits….more activity in my life than the last year+, good friendships, good activities, and healthy eating.  I think I am making progress and thought I would give you a recap of this “Investing In Me”here for Saturday Snapshot along with a tasty recipe for Weekend Cooking.

Yes…. this post is a combo platter.


Yes.  That is this week.

Monday I participated in the first Game Night at one of my favorite venues, Prairie Bay

Tuesday was book club…. Classic night.... a little Fitzgerald set in the 20’s

Wednesday I got a hair cut bought new tennis shoes and headed to the gym and the elliptical

Thursday I went to the Prairie Bay 2nd Thursday community night

Friday I hit the gym and the Group Power class


And now for that recipe….  this is something I picked up from one of the Librarian’s and ooh this is so good.



Ok… here is something TASTY!

You need:
4-6 ears of corn
1/2 onion chopped
cherry tomatoes – yellow and red – cut in half
2 TBSP lemon juice
red pepper flakes
fresh basil
2 TBS olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

With sharp knife remove the corn kernels from the shucked corn. Heat oil over medium heat in large skillet. Add corn and onion to the skillet – shake and stir the pan for 3-5 minutes until browned. Gently add the chopped tomatoes and heat an additional 2-3 minutes until hot. Place in bowl and season with the pepper flakes and lemon juice and sprinkle the chopped basil on top. Season to taste.

**To mix it up – add an egg to the mix while cooking, or chicken or shrimp to make it more of a meal. Delicious!


That’s my week.  Hope yours was eventful in positive ways.  :)  Tomorrow… I hope to share with you about a little event coming up I like to call… Books, Burgers, and Brews.  Stay tuned. 😉

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty


Sam and Clementine would define their life as full and satisfying.  They have two beautiful little girls and a life that works for them.  Sam is just starting a new job and Clementine is rehearsing for a cellist position that would be the job offer of a lifetime.

Erika is Clementines oldest friend dating back to grade school.  The two know each other so well, but if Clementine were honest… she isn’t always sure why she is Erika’s friend.  The start of their friendship still seeming a bit forced on her…..

When a barbecue invite by neighbors comes to Sam and Clementine as well as Erika and her husband, Clementine think s it is a brilliant idea.  After all the neighbors Vid and Tiffany are larger than life people who know how to entertain.  It might just be fun to get everyone together.

Two months later Sam and Clementine can barely stand to be in the same room together.  They both question everything….  and they mostly question….  what if they hadn’t gone to the barbecue?


I love me some Liane Moriarty.  I can add that I especially love her books on audio – they are a treat to listen to and this one was exceptional.  Narrator Caroline Lee nails it with the fun diverse personalities and voices of the characters of Truly, Madly, Guilty.  (You are going to LOVE Vid!).  The enticing way she made her way through his book just added to my enjoyment of the story line.

Secrets kept, false truths… and all through the book as the tale unwinds I kept asking, “What the heck happened at that BBQ?”  This book really does cover the choices we make can alter our worlds forever.

Thoroughly enjoyed.


  • 7aListening Length: 17 hours and 27 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • Release Date: July 26, 2016


Morning Meanderings…. Now THAT is Classic. ;) A Bookies Event


Three days in a row…. could it be? 😉

It feels as though I have just finished a marathon of back to back events… all good stuff.  The Friends Books Sale was a big chunk of time the last few weeks with the volunteer line ups, setting the sale, and working it.  Then on Monday the First Game Night at Prairie Bay was SO AWESOME, I was so tired going.. but so glad I went!  That brings us to last night, book club at my house….



Whose idea was THAT? 😉

Yes yes… I apparently agreed a month ago that book club would be at my house.  I really don’t know what I was thinking as my house has been a tad bit neglected in recent days due to all the activity in my life.  It all worked out for the best though – put on a little audio and put the house back in order yesterday so we could review our Classic for the year:  The Beautiful and The Dammed by F Scott Fitzgerald.  Now I am not going to review the book part yet as I have not finished it myself (See my crazy life above)… however I will share with you the Bookies meet up.

First.. I think you all know I like to dress the occasion.  Classics can be a lot of fun for this and a chance to dress the 20’s era….

well then….


We had a great time with the food as well… I do love setting the food to go with the era or the book setting.  In this case, I Googled the 20’s to see what I could learn about food and who knew?  Chicken Pot Pie was a 20’s hot item… as well as deviled eggs could be found at most social gatherings.



and the Bookies added to the tasty goodies as well…


And this was not all… I missed a picture of the delicious chicken that was served as well.

As always.. good food, good conversation… a lot of fun.  I do really enjoy days that go from tennis shoes… to party sandals.




Morning Meanderings… DO Try This In Your Home Town


Good morning.  Two days of posting?  WOW!  Must be the coffee. 😉

In reality… I think it is me trying to reach beyond the grief.  I made a decision in mid August that I needed a season of investing in me…. good positive healthy habits.  I have been biking – A LOT.  I have been getting out more, eating right and all in all… feeling a weight of darkness lift off of me.  I know the grief will always be there, that underlying sadness I feel like a constant lump in my throat…. however by DOING and BEING I am trying to live the life I am supposed to live – almost for both of us….

How is that going?

Well… I have biked over 400 miles in the past 6 weeks.  I have stretched myself to go back to the gym to Group Power.  I have thrown myself into good community projects and working with good community people that keeps my mind active and while it is still hard to be out “there” I am doing it.


I feel….


Last night, I went to the first of a new 2nd Mondays thing at one of my favorite venues in the area, Prairie Bay.  I love how they do community and Friends of the Library will be partnering with them as well next week (more on that awesome stuff) later.  Last night was the Game night.

Here is how it works.

From 6 – 9 pm you show up on 2nd Mondays to play a board game.  The game will be announced on their website and you do not have to know how to play before going.  Last nights game was Catan.  I did not know how to play.


This was so much fun!  Not only did I learn a new game, I hung out with friends and met new people too.  If you live int he area, I recommend you check out all the good that Prairie Bay is doing in our community.  They have excellent ideas of bringing people together.


Laughter… although painful at times…. is also an investment in me.

Ok… challenge is out there?  How will you invest in YOU today?


Here’s To Us by Elin Hilderbrand


Laurel Thorpe, a quiet natural beauty.  Belinda Rowe, a gorgeous well-known movie actress.  Scarlett Oliver an exotic eye-popping long-legged pretty girl.  All three women have two things in common.  1.  Their love of Deacon Thorpe.  2  Their loathing of one another.

All three are remarkable intelligent women who at one time were married to the famous chef, Deacon Thorpe.  They have made a career out of avoiding one another.  All of this comes to a screeching halt when Deacon is found dead and one of his final wishes is for all three women with his children come to the home on Nantucket to pay their final respects to this man.

Now all three women are trapped in the ransacked home on Nantucket that Deacon so dearly loved.  Left to face each other with all the secrets they each hold.

Over one long weekend in Nantucket the drama will reach a wave crashing level, there will be anger, and shouting, and tears… but in the end their will also be laughter and memories shared of the man who stole each of their hearts and how he did it.



June 2016 – Chicago Book expo – Elin Hilderbrand was signing this book and with every book you get a Corona… Hilderbrand tradition🙂

It is no secret that I adore Elin Hilderbrand’s books.  Her writing of strong female friendships and Nantucket always feel like a familiar path that I am happy to travel.  After a busy summer of not as much reading as I had hoped, this book was toxic for me.  I did not want to stop listening (audio).  I LOVED the narration of Erin Bennett (who read many of Hilderbrand’s novels).  Erin maneuvers around that many voices of the Nantucket cottage with ease, I could easily flow from one person to the next and know exactly who was talking.

I would not be doing this review justice if I did not talk about the food.  Foodies alert!  The food mentioned in the book (along with a few recipes too!) is mouth-watering.  Each time they mentioned a specialty of Deacon’s restaurant I wanted to make it.  I already plan to nominate this book for our book club choice so we can talk about the crazy characters and make the delicious food.

Over all… this book was a fun summerish win for me.  I really enjoyed the story line, the back and forth as you learn of each woman’s relationship with the man we only get to know after he is gone… and in the end.. in the end…  hearing what happened that last day….

powerful way to close the story that’s all I can say about that.  Don’t miss this treat of a read.



  • Audio CD
  • Listening Length: 12 hours and 30 minutes
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company; Unabridged edition (June 14, 2016)
  • Language: English






The Fall Book Sale – CHOOSE my Next Read and YOU get the book


I know – I know…. MIA  AGAIN.  What is with me?  First up – thank you to everyone who has sent my messages letting me know I am missed and valued.  As if I wasn’t already missing posting here like I used to…. that was the icing on the proverbial cupcake.


I hope now that the craziness of summer and even the kick off to fall has slowed to a simmer that I can be more active here.  SO much book stuff to share… so many good things happening.

First up… the fall book sale.  Crazy with a side of crazy I think covers that.  We had more books than we have ever had before.  SO many in fact that 3 weeks before the sale we had to quit accepting the books at the library which hurt to say out loud… but true.  We were so bottle necked with the donations that we could not sort the books.  A few of us from the Friends board started moving books weeks ago to the sale sight to release the pressure.  Basically, I feel as though I have been working this sale for WEEKS.


Set up started this past Monday and a group of us spent 7+hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, setting up.  Thursday, Friday and Saturday was the sale and I was there open to close – Sunday we cleaned up.  Day one… I was there at 6 am… 4 people brought me coffee.  LOVE that.


I am a fume today…. merely a mist of my self😉

BUT – what you really want to know… is what did I bring home.  I know how you roll.  In true book sale fashion – I will once again post my treasures here – YOU CHOOSE what I will read in the next month and if your comment is the one that wins the random drawing I will read that book first, review and then send you the book.  Go nuts my friends…. go nuts.

Here they are – note the few exceptions to the giveaway under each picture.


All books in above pic available except the 2 Patrick Rothfuss on the bottom.



All books in above pic available except the CS Lewis (top) and the Writers Market (bottom)



All books available in this pic


There you have it.  In a comment below tell me which book you would like me to read and then send to you.  :)  I am hopeful that I am back. 🙂

Define Appropriate.


I am still here.

It seems like my days fly away before I even know what is happening.  It’s been a busy summer of bike riding, events, bookish stuff, and spending time with friends.  Good things. Things I need to do.  Things I want to do.

The bench.

Those of you who know me know I spend a  good deal of time working with our local library.  You also may know about the bench outside the library in memory of my son.  Can I say my heart runs over with love for all who had a part in this happening?

That bench.

Every time I pull in to the library parking lot I see it.  Sometimes there are things left on it… notes, flowers, a rock that says trust… What seems to take my breath away – is seeing people sitting on it.  Justin’s bench sits between two others.  To me… it feels as though it is used more and that makes me so happy and sad at the same time.  Does that make sense?  Happy because he would love this whole idea of a bench… and  that quote, and people enjoying it…..  Sad because… well hell…. why does there have to be a bench in the first place?

A few weeks back I walked out of the library and saw a man sitting on the bench.  I had this sudden urge to go over and hug him.  Of course then I think… how appropriate is that?  Scare this poor man sitting on a bench unknowingly being observed by the mother of the boy who the bench is dedicated to?  And define appropriate.  I honestly am not sure I know what it means anymore… my filter for where to draw the line is pretty much gone.  I live it true – I live it real.  So what if I scare someone on the bench?

But of course…. I don’t approach him.  I just take myself teary eyed to my car and drive away.

Then today….

I am leaving the library and I see a boy in his 20’s sitting on the bench.  My pace slows.  I look at him and he sees me and smiles.  That urge… that urge to go over and talk to him about who Justin was simmers right there… right at the edge of moving me that direction but instead…. I smile back..  My eyes fill…. I walk away.

Define appropriate…




Today… working on a contract. Mowing the lawn.  Riding my bike.  Hopefully writing a review and breaking that seal on this site where I start to write and gush about books again.  I do miss it.  I do miss you.

WHAT are you reading?