Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

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Turning a Corner  

It’s official. This blog is under New Management. Well, maybe “Management” isn’t the right word. Let me explain.

My name is Kimber. At least I think it’s Kimber. My humans – Mom, Dad, and four brothers, two of whom still live at home – sometimes use other names. Kimmi. Good girl. Hey Babe. 

Anyway, I was born on June 22, 2016. I’m a Golden Retriever/Black Lab/Border Collie mix. Mom says that means I’m super friendly, super smart, and super hyper. Whatever that means. I’m just me. 

Wait. Did the Powder Puff just saunter past? That’s what my humans sometimes call the neighbor’s dog. At least I think she’s a dog. It’s hard to tell under all that fur.

As I was saying, Mom says I’m a rescue dog. I’m not sure what that means either. But it sounds good when she says it. I joined my family in August of last year. We live on the Olympic Peninsula. We go on long walks and hikes, explore the Cascades, and play football, Frisbee and other games and activities when it’s not raining. It rains here a lot. Dad says that’s one reason why this place is called “The Evergreen State.”

Do I smell bacon?

False alarm. Beef jerky.

So, I guess you could say this blog is under new “dog-agement.” It will focus on adventures in writing, reading, and life in the rural hinterlands of western Washington. Narrated by me. Why me? Because Mom says I’m a “natural.” And that I’m way smarter than she is. I’m not sure what that means, either. But I like the way it sounds when she says it. 

See you again soon!

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Are you a book lover? Do you skip meals in order to “finish the next chapter”? Do you await your favorite author’s next release like a kid counting down to Christmas? Is a trip to the library a grand adventure?

I am rarely as content as when I’m neck-deep in a good story. Or even a mediocre one. I’ve never read “competitively” or to win prizes. I just love books. And I love to read. 

But every once in awhile it’s nice to get a little perk. Call it a reading bonus. 

I was delighted to get a phone call from my local library yesterday saying I’d won not one but two prizes in conjunction with this year’s Adult Summer Reading Program: an Amazon gift card and a book bag filled with goodies. I ambled over to the library today to pick up my prizes, pictured above.

The book bag is sturdy and zippered.  I can use it to haul checkouts and returns to and from the library, which I usually walk to. The bag was filled with some pretty cool stuff, including note cards, chocolate, a mini metallic notebook, and a giant coffee mug (for curling up with a good book). And who can resist Ghirardelli’s Intense Dark? Also four brand new hard book backs I haven’t yet read! The $25 gift card arrives next week.

 I read 136 audio and hard copy books in 92 days for this summer’s Adult Reading Program. Re-reading old favorites and discovering new ones was “prize” enough. But it still feels like Christmas.

Know what I mean?


10 Ways to Read More Books


How do you read so many books?

Mom and I? We get that a lot. Like, when we read 403 books in one year, 2023.

Short answer: One of us is Simply Brilliant. And reads at warp speed.

“Simply Brilliant.”

The other has to work at it (Hi, Mom). So if you’d like some ideas about how to read more and fit more books into your day, here are some tips. (Mostly from the Simply Brilliant one. Mom’s just sorta along for the ride, if ya know what I mean).

10 Ways to Read More Books (the Mom-ish Shor-ish Version):

1. Turn off the TV.

2. Multi-task. Read audio books while cooking, doing dishes, driving, etc.

3. Use voice mail. Prodigously.

4. Ask the library staff for help. A lot. They’re a huge help, from placing inter-library loans to suggestions for every category and genre.

5. Realize sleep is over-rated. I don’t really need 8 – 9 hours of sleep a night. I’m usually fine with 5 – 6 hours.  That’s an extra 3 – 4 hours a day to get busy.

6. Get a ‘reading buddy.‘ As you know, my good dog, Kimber, happily joins me through thousands of pages. (A golden retriever/black lab/border collie mix, Kimber isn’t really a ‘lap dog.’ She just thinks she is.)

“You gonna eat that?”

7. Set up “reading roosts” – places where you can disappear (or almost disappear) for a while and read, undisturbed.

I have a recliner off a living room window with lots of light, pillows, a big fluffy quilt and a snack stash. Or a closet off the spare room upstairs. I cleaned it out, moved in a rocking chair and ottoman, added a space heater for early mornings, and cleared shelves for books – in – progress. I grab reading lists, munchies and a note pad, and close the door. No electronic devices allowed. (A library cubby hole also makes a pretty good “roost.”)

8. OverDrive. (Now Libby.) Library ebooks and audiobooks via Amazon. If you don’t have the app, now would be good.

9. Prioritize. Like, I cut out unnecessary meetings. This frees up about 4 – 6 hours a week. I dial back on social media, limiting my time to no more than 30 minutes a day. Often less. I evaluate my endeavors and drop those with limited ROIs (return on investment), like regular posting to other blogs/guest posting.

10. Re-read.

Some titles are better or quicker than others. For example, the sparse free verse of Karen Hesse’s Out of The Dust or Calvin Miller’s The Singer read much faster than the detail-laden, history-heavy style of Robert Matzen’s Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe, or Dinesh D’Souza’s magnum opus, Stealing America: What My Experience With Criminal Gangs Taught Me About Obama, Hillary, and the Democratic Party. Since I’m already familiar with the plots, re-reads are also swift.

The Real Secret

Now, the real secret to reading more books? I. Love. Books. And I love to read. Always have. Ever since I was ‘knee-high to a grasshopper.’ For more, see: Hard Night: Growing Up in the Land of Endless Summer.

Is the library open yet?

How do you fit more reading into your day?