Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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Breaths, Bear Hugs & Best of 2021

A Breath of Fresh God

Kha’ris Books, 2021

Via: Author request

“Sit down with me. We have much to say to each other.”

We’re closing out the year with one of the most unusual and uplifting reads of 2021.

We thought about including this title in a “Best Of” year-end post. Naw. We decided to give it a stand-alone post instead. Here’s why:

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TTT: Top 20 Heroes & Heroines From 2021

 

Kimber here. Nestled all snug in my bed,
While visions of bacon strips dance in my head;
And Mom in her …

Wait. What?

“Wake up, Kimster” chirps She Who Shall Remain Nameless.

Can’t she see I’ve just settled down for a long winter’s nap?

“C’mon! We need to come up with a snappy Top Ten Tuesday post. Today’s theme is Best Books I Read in 2021.”

That’s like asking me which puppy I like best. So Mom and I?  We’re doing Top 20 Literary Heroes and Heroines instead. (Well, it was mostly me. Mom helped. A little.)

To make the list, characters must be a cut above. As in, they’re memorable. Radiate personality like a neon sign. Have a splash of sass and spunk. They’re also fresh. As in, not recycled cardboard cut-outs. 

So here, in no particular order, are our Top 20 Literary Heroes & Heroines from 2021. (They may or may not be main characters. See above.) How many do you recognize?

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We Wish You a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thank you for joining us for a year of gaining new friends, discovering new reads, and savoring good books!

For those who’ve taken the time to read Pages and Paws, share links, like a post, comment, submit guest articles or recommend pawsome titles new and old, THANK YOU!

It’s been a great ride. We’re looking forward to more in 2022!

We’re celebrating today with one of our favorites (sing it if ya know it):

And today:

Our best wishes to you and yours for the merriest of Christmases and a Happy New Year!

Alleluia!

Mom and Kimber


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A Five Minute Festive

Merry Christmas Dear Readers!

 

Mom and I have cooked up something short and sweet for you today. Cuz I dunno ’bout you. But I’m tuckered.

Mom says solitude can be hard to find in our rush-rush, hurry up, instant everything society. Grabbing a few quiet moments to refresh and recharge can be a challenge any time. But it’s particularly tough during the holidays, huh?

So if holiday merry-making has you ready to tear your hair out or your festive feathers are a bit ruffled, this is for you.

Slow down.  Grab a hot cuppa. Plop in a peppermint stick. Sit down. Put your feet up. Give Manheim Steamroller’s Stille Nacht (Silent Night) a listen.  Five quiet minutes. You’ll be glad you did.

Know someone who could use a yuletide boost? Don’t forget to share!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowy field image credit: Public domain

 


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Books I Hope Santa Brings (sort of)

Pssst! Kimber here. I’m makin’ a list. Checkin’ it twice. For Her Momness. Cuz today’s Top Ten Tuesday is Books I Hope Santa Brings.

The things I do for Mom. Sheesh!

You probably already guessed that Mom’s Book Wish List is a mile long. I tried paring it down. It’s still the list equivalent of War and Peace. (You know Mom!)

So I decided to focus on authors instead. Pretty much anything by these authors is gonna be a winner in our house. I’ll probably get extra bacon. So here goes. Any author on this list ranks high on our Wish List:

See the source image

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11 Ways to Bless Others This Christmas

Turning a corner today to do a little Christmas contemplatin’. It won’t take long. Promise. So pour yourself a hot cuppa and grab up a chair. Put your feet up. And give a listen for a min or two. Ready? Good. Here goes:

Christmas is a time for joy! For family and friends! It’s a time for Child-like wonder and merry-making. But shadows can also hover over the season, intensifying feelings of loneliness or loss.

But…

For those whose family relationships are strained or difficult, the obligatory annual Christmas gathering can feel like getting a root canal. And may be just as dreaded.

For those who’ve lost loved ones, the holidays may accentuate those absences.

Singer/songwriter Matthew West understands this. West came out with a song awhile back that captures both the joy and the sense of loss that can accompany the season: “The Heart of Christmas.”

The Heart of Christmas

It’s a perennial favorite. Give it a listen to see why:

“Wherever you are, no matter how far
Come back to the heart, the heart of Christmas
Live while you can, cherish the moment
The ones that you love, make sure they know it
Don’t miss it, the heart of Christmas.”

“Come on and open up your eyes!”

So. While you’re celebrating and making merry this season, can you slow down and remember those who may be struggling?

Here are 11 Ways To Bless Others This Christmas:

🎄Donate to your local food bank
🎄Befriend an elderly neighbor. Just starting a conversation can have a positive impact. You can also offer to help with practical tasks like shopping or dog-walking or getting them to medical appointments safely.
🎄Invite international students over for dinner
🎄Give a generous tip to a friendly customer service worker like a waiter or barista
🎄Buy a homeless person a sandwich and a hot drink
🎄Help someone who’s struggling with their luggage on public transport and/or give up your seat for same
🎄Buy your friend chocolate or another favorite treat when they’re feeling down. Listen more than you talk if they need to vent
🎄Treat a friend to on an outing or a trip to a Christmas tree farm. Serve hot cocoa and cookies afterwards.
🎄Be extra patient with retail workers, many of whom are stressed and harried this time of year. Don’t forget to thank them and say “Merry Christmas”!
🎄Bake and deliver homemade goodies to your local police and/or fire departments with a note of thanks
🎄Forgive.

What would you add?

 

 

This post was originally published here in 2019. We thought it deserved it encore.


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17 Books To Cozy Up With This Winter

Mom is at the window, looking outside. Temperatures are dropping. Not low enough for Snowmaggedon. Here on the Olympic Peninsula, we have mostly rain. And rain. And more rain. Think Noah.

Weather like this, Mom insists on dragging out The Dreaded Orange Raincoat. Why does she do this? Is she averse to getting soaked to the collar, crashing through every puddle in sight, or galumphing around town up to her nose in rain water?

Me, I’m fine with all of the above. (I am part Lab, you know. As in water dog.)

Anyway, Mom says, “When the weather outside is frightful, the fire is even more delightful when it’s paired with a good book!” I don’t know what that means. But if it gets me out of wearing The Dreaded Orange Raincoat, I’m good!

What?

 

For today’s Top Ten Tuesday, here are 17 Books To Cozy Up With This Winter. Each title has something to say about Christmas, snow, winter adventures or settings, or all of the above. (As long as we lose the raincoat, okay?)

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Who’s #1 & A New Reading RECORD!

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!

Kimber here. Her Momness  – aka: ‘Ole Bleary Eyes – would send Christmas greetings herself. But she’s just settled her brains for a long winter’s nap.

“Why is Mom napping during The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?!” you ask.

Good question.

25 in 8

Short answer: Mom just bested her own book reading record.  The new trophy reads: 25 Books in 8 Days.

#1, Baby!!

I’m not makin’ this up.  In fact, she wears the crown for Top Reviewer at Reedsy/Discovery this month. And I don’t mean in the top ten. Nope. Mom is THE Top Reviewer. As in, #1.

See:

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Friday 56: Morton & Evans

Hey, hey! It Friday!

That means it’s time for another Book Beginnings and the Friday 56!

Book Beginnings is a meme where readers share the first sentence (or couple of sentences) from their current read. It’s hosted by Rose City Reader every Friday.

The Friday 56 is hosted by Frida’s Voice. Share a sentence or two from page 56 or 56% in to your current read. Ready? Set? Let’s go!

We’re featuring two books this week. Our Book Beginning is from Kate Morton’s Downton Abbey-ish The House at Riverton (Washington Square Press, 2006). Our Friday 56 is from The Road Home by Richard Paul Evans (Simon & Schuster, 2019).

Beginning:

From The House at Riverton:

“Last November I had a nightmare.

It was 1924 and I was at Riverton again. All the doors hung wide open, silk billowing in the summer breeze. An orchestra perched high on the hill beneath the ancient maple, violins lilting lazily in the warmth. The air rang with pealing laughter and crystal, and the sky was the kind of blue we’d all thought the war had destroyed forever.”

***

The House at Riverton is the latest clunker to land on my DNF list. It’s showing up in Book Beginnings so you don’t have to bother with this slow-as-molasses-in-summer skunker. Stilted, silly characters with a stultified story. Kept hoping it’d get better. It doesn’t. Bailed at around page 250.

And to think I could’ve watched paint peel instead. Zzzzzzz.

***

Friday 56

The Road Home By Richard Paul EvansFrom The Road Home:

There were too many quote-worthy portions of this novel to limit it to one or two lines from a single page. Here’s a brief sampling:

“There’s a reason you didn’t die on that plane.” …

For too long I’ve bought expensive clothing, hoping it would cover up a second-rate soul….

“How can I make your day better?”

… to lose your life is to find it. That’s it. The greatest self-interest is, simply, an interest in others.

About The Road Home:

Chicago celebrity and pitchman Charles James is supposed to be dead. Everyone believes he was killed in a fiery plane crash, a flight he narrowly missed. But thanks to that remarkable twist of fate, he’s very much alive and ready for a second chance at life and love.

The Road Home is the dramatic conclusion in the Broken Road trilogy—a powerful story of redemption and “finding happiness on a pilgrimage across iconic Route 66.” 

 For more from this master storyteller, see: Richard Paul Evans: ‘King of Christmas Fiction.’

What’s your current read?