Category Archives: Reading is FUNdamental


Alice Hoffman via TitleWaveforBooks via History Books via Cathy Ruggiero

Leave a comment

Filed under Hobbies, Reading is FUNdamental

The Wonderful Adventure of Books

Goodwill Librarian via Cathy Ruggiero

I’m reading The Whisperer by John Grisham.

As usual, it grabs me on the first page and then I spent the new few days trying to get SOMETHING done besides reading it. I love falling into a world totally unlike mine with complex, engaging characters dealing with something compelling. If you need anything today, I’ll be sitting in my chair, coffee on the table on my warmer, reading. :0)

Leave a comment

Filed under Hobbies, quality of life, Reading is FUNdamental

Yet Another Good Book

Paul Sweeny via via Readers Digest

I just finished “A Mother’s Love” by Nora Roberts. It’s actually a reprint of one of the few books by Nora I’ve missed – “Dual Image,” and “The Best Mistake.”

I really like Nora Robert’s characters. They’re real. Many times they’re really clever, funny, smart. I WANT them to be real because I enjoy their world so much. I would love it if we could be friends. I don’t think there is a higher compliment to a writer that you keep all of their work in your personal library so that they can be enjoyed again and again.

Even though I’m sad to have left the worlds of Ariel and Zoe, I’ve already dived into “Come Sundown,” filled with more gutsy, interesting people I am enjoying meeting so much.

I can’t say enough about Nora’s work. Her creations have given me many hours of pleasure.

Leave a comment

Filed under Favorite Authors & Books, Reading is FUNdamental

Reading for Pleasure – A Quality of Life Thing

The Writers Circle via Cathy Ruggiero

Our lives have been fairly stressful lately with lots of challenges and changes. The result of all this effort is that our lives are improving, slowly but surely, but I’m finding I need to escape awhile each day to maintain what is left of my sanity.

I’m enjoying the last in the series “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” by Anne Brashares right now. I can dive into the books, losing myself in the process, cares falling away like leaves in the fall. I emerge – reluctantly – when I need to – feeling refreshed. I wish that everyone could enjoy the act of reading for enjoyment.

After I finished school – getting my Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist – I couldn’t. I would pick something up, unconsciously tensing up, reading as though I would be tested on whatever I was reading later, mentally taking notes to be regurgitated whenever asked. I almost lost my love of reading because of years of reading what I HAD to read. Kind of an indictment of the school system, isn’t it?

I regained some of that joy when I began teaching. I loved sharing my joy with my students, many of whom had such frightening lives daily on the north side of Tulsa, Oklahoma, that they didn’t have any interest at first. I taught them phonics by singing a stupid song and playing my guitar. They loved the singing and the movement, and learned that letters make sounds, working together to make short words, and then combining to make longer ones. Once the magic of the printed word on the page made sense, the ‘light bulb moment’ showed in their bright eyes and wide grins.

Statistics about adult reading are depressing. I guess too many people are working so hard to make ends meet and take care of their families they think don’t have time for reading.  My heart goes out to them because a good book could help them deal with their situation so much more easily.

As soon as I finish the last book in the series of the Traveling Pants, I found two more books by Anne Brashares that I haven’t read yet, and then I’ll dive into another Jack Reacher book by Lee Childs. What are YOU enjoying today?

Leave a comment

Filed under Hobbies, Reading is FUNdamental

Rich in All but Money

I notice – a LOT lately – that I’m rich.

I’m rich in marriage, child, retirement, friends, fun things to do, and more. I’m rich in everything but money. (I’m working on winning the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, the Mega Millions, Power Ball, and such, but that would be icing on the cake. :0)

Last night I finished Book # 4 in the Jack Reacher series.”Running Blind” by Lee Child. I have the next one, “Echo Burning” on top of my desk, but I’ve decided to detour into another of my favorite series.



If you haven’t read “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” series by Ann Brashares, you’ve missed a wonderful world of true friendship, love, and laughs and tears. The official summary of the books says, “Some friends just fit together.  Once there was a pair of pants. Just an ordinary pair of jeans. But these pants, the Traveling Pants, went on to do great things. This is the story of the four friends—Lena, Tibby, Bridget, and Carmen—who made it possible.”

I’ve read what I thought was the whole series, four books: “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” “The Second Summer of the Sisterhood,” “Girls in Pants – The Third Summer of the Sisterhood,” and “Forever in Blue – The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood.” Today – to my delight while getting a URL and other information for you, I found there is a 5th book in the series – “Sisterhood Everlasting,” which I just ordered. :0)

I also have the DVD set to go with them, so I can re-read them, watch the DVDs (while my husband is doing something else. Just Imagine! He doesn’t really get into this series :0) ) and THEN read the new addition!

I can share their world by book and DVD, shedding years as I identify with young women in the late teenage years with their whole lives ahead of them, enjoying their wonderful friendship and experiences.

Do you see why I’m rich?


Leave a comment

Filed under Favorite Authors & Books, Reading is FUNdamental

Wisdom of Dr. Seuss

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading is FUNdamental


The Literacy Site via Cathy Ruggiero

Recently I told you that I had started re-reading the “Jack Reacher” books by Lee Child.  I’ve read the first three and am ready to start, “Running Blind.” I haven’t read them for several years, so it feels as if I’ve found a treasure trove.

In the middle of this, though, my husband just finished reading “Camino Island,” by John Grisham, and said I would like it, so I’m reading that one first, and then will get back to the Lee Child books.

I feel so rich, having so many good books to read around me. I’m trying not to get TOOOOOO caught up, though, because we have so many other things around here that need my attention. The time seems to slip away when I dive into a wonderful read….

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading is FUNdamental

Reading and Children Quotes – Take 4


“Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.” — Dr. Seuss

“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.” — Kate DiCamillo

“Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them.” — Neil Gaiman

Leave a comment

Filed under Encouragement, Favorite Quotes, Reading is FUNdamental

Reading and Children Quotes – Take 3


Reading Rewards


“You may have tangible wealth untold. Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be — I had a mother who read to me.” — Strickland Gillilan

“Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!” — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943

“When I say to a parent, “read to a child”, I don’t want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. ” — Mem Fox

Leave a comment

Filed under Favorite Quotes, Reading is FUNdamental

Reading and Children Quotes – Take 2


Reader’s Digest


“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald

“I used to walk to school with my nose buried in a book.” — Coolio

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss

Leave a comment

Filed under Favorite Quotes, Reading is FUNdamental

Reading and Children Quotes – Take 1

Family Read-Shutterstock-Northern Virginia Magazine


“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” — Frederick Douglass

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” — Walt Disney


Leave a comment

Filed under Hobbies, Reading is FUNdamental

Frightening Statistics

Vintage Books and Anchor Books via Ann Gilstrap

After I got my Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist back in 1492, I didn’t want to read anything for awhile. I had been under so much pressure to read things I didn’t want to read and be ready to spit out the information in whatever form required for a LONG time. I found that, even when I tried to read something for pleasure, I read it as if I would be tested on it.

As I taught school at the elementary level on the north side in Tulsa for 8 years, my students have a need to learn to read at first. Their lives were such that books and reading just didn’t make the cut on what was important. I finally learned to break through that, using my guitar to teach phonics, and tossing all the rules I had just learned out the window, opting for common sense approaches. My own love of reading again broke through as I began convincing my students that they could develop a life-long love of reading.

I cannot go a day without reading. I LOVE the Internet. It’s such a good source of information, and you can learn most anything you want to if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to judge your sources. I could spend hours on YouTube. After reading and getting some background, actually watching demonstrations or explanations help make the new skills your own.

I read and follow recipes – trying to fill our lives with good-for-us low-carb food. I’m a lousy cook and have no talent for coming up with things on my own, but using the creativity of others, I can find a good recipe to try (low-carb peanut butter cookies will be tried soon), get whatever ingredients I need, and make the recipe that day (often to the delight of my husband).

I read to try to find out what’s going on in the world. I’ve learned that there is a lot of mis-information out there provided by really biased folks with axes to grind, but if I keep looking, I can find more reliable sources and then can judge for myself what is important for me to know and what the facts are.

Mostly, though, I read for FUN. I am the happy owner of a lot of books that I enjoyed reading, and now enjoy re-reading. I also love ordering new books for my Kindle. I can dive into a world that allows me to leave whatever might be bothering me behind, immersing myself in a world of interesting people doing things I’d never dream of doing personally. I emerge, feeling rested and happy.

I don’t want to believe the statistics above. I feel sad that so many people are missing such a rich source of learning and happiness.  This would be something I would want to try to change – if I had the chance.


Filed under Hobbies, Reading is FUNdamental

Ends and Beginnings


I’ve just finished re-reading all the books by Robert B. Parker – there are 40+ books in the Spenser series, plus the Sunny Randall series, the Jesse Stone series, a couple of books for youth, and then the “western” series of 3 books. I’ve had a wonderful time immersing myself in his world for the past few weeks and now – I have to admit – I’m feeling a bit bereft. I love his world, no matter the series or characters.

I’m reading an interesting book now called, “The Residence – Inside the Private World of the White House “- covering the Kennedys through the Obamas through the memories of the huge staff that not only works there, but feel an intense loyalty to whomever is living there, as well as the house itself, and all it stands for. The book is by Kate Andersen Brower.

The next thing I’m going to dive into is a re-reading of all of the Lee Child books in the “Jack Reacher ” series. He has created a fascinating, smart character confronting complex issues.


My husband and I laughed when the first movie made from the series starred Tom Cruise. Jack Reacher is supposed to be 6’4″ and lanky, kind of scruffy looking. And then there’s Tom Cruise. I have to admit that once we got over the appearance of the character we had in our heads, Tom Cruise did a good job of playing him in the movie.

I’m looking forward to re-reading the Lee Child books. It has been several years, and he has one that we just bought in paperback to add to the list!

Leave a comment

Filed under Favorite Authors & Books, Hobbies, Reading is FUNdamental

Cure via books rock my world via cathy ruggiero

Leave a comment

Filed under Hobbies, Reading is FUNdamental

SuperPower via Cathy Ruggiero

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading is FUNdamental

Cold Front and Riches

The Owl Report via Cathy Ruggiero -peace-thatwastheothernameforhome-Kathleen Norris-illus-Johanna Wright

A cold front is due this afternoon. It’s 60 degrees F (!) outside right now. By mid afternoon, it’s supposed to be freezing with “wintry mix” and trickle-the-water-in-the-sinks time tonight through the middle of next week, at least.

Happily, we’re rich in books around here. I already told you that

  • I bought and read the 44 books in the J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts “In Death” series with the strong female detective, Eve Dallas.  When I finished those, I switched to re-reading
  • The 40 Robert B. Parker “Spenser” series books. When I finished those recently, I found that book # 45 in the “In Death” series had finally come out in paperback, so I bought and finished that a couple of days ago. (#46 in the series, “Dark in Death,”  comes out in hardback sometime this year, but I’ll have to wait quite awhile before IT comes out in paperback)
  • Now I’m happily re-reading the Robert B. Parker “Jesse Stone” series. There are 9 books in this series by the author. Several other authors are trying to carry on each of the series, but I’ve tried a few and they are just a pale imitation.

So the weather can do what it will. We have hot apple cider for my husband and coffee for me, two dogs, two cats, 4 fish, comfortable recliners and throws, and lots of books to enjoy!


Filed under Family, Mother Nature, Reading is FUNdamental


Marguerite Duras via World Literature Today via Cathy Ruggiero

Leave a comment

Filed under Favorite Quotes, Reading is FUNdamental

Virtual Travel

books rock my world via cathy ruggiero

I’m reading book number 35 of 40 books I have in the Robert B. Parker Spenser series. Even while I’m comfortable enjoying being in this wonderful world he created, I’m sad that soon I will have re-read them all again. Another writer is trying to provide more – and I guess that is the most sincere form of flattery – but the books just don’t ‘make it’ for me. He tries, but it’s a really pale version of what Parker seemed to create effortlessly.

I’ve decided that when I finish the last book in the Spenser series, I’ll re-read his Jesse Stone books. I have all the movies made from these, so I can really dive in and enjoy.

Since it’s really cold for Arkansas – a low of 10 this morning with a high of 26 – making low carb comfort food and curling up under my throw with a good book is a nice way to spend some time today. :0)

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading is FUNdamental

Virtual Vacation

Mary Balogh via Cathy Ruggiero

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading is FUNdamental

Lost and Found

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading is FUNdamental

The Worth of a Book


Leave a comment

Filed under Reading is FUNdamental


J.D. Salinger via

There are two authors in this category for me – Nora Roberts, both for her romances and her J.D. Robb/Eve Dallas In Death Series; and Robert B. Parker. I’m now in the process of rereading his Spenser books, of which there are 40. I’m on #13 “Taming a Sea-Horse.”  Some of them have been read so many times that they’re falling apart, so I’m ordering ones in better shape to keep my collection intact.

Both of these authors have given me countless hours of pleasure with interesting characters I feel I know and care about. I can dive into a book and leave current worries behind. I feel so lucky to be able to read for pleasure.

When I was about 3 my family was all together one day in the living room. My mom was working a New York Times crossword puzzle and the daily cryptoquote. My dad was reading a book on archeology. My older brother was reading a comic book. I was sitting on the floor in the middle of the room looking at each of them in turn. I suddenly shocked everyone by saying, “I wish to HELL I could read!” There was silence after my brother’s gasp at my language. My parents were torn between washing my mouth out with soap and listening to the desperation in my voice. The desperation won, and my mom sat down beside me and began teaching me to read.

The school system tried to kill my love for reading and almost made it. By the time I got my Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was read something. For years I read as if I would be tested on it, or would have to write a paper about it. There were a couple of years where I read in order to prepare for teaching, but couldn’t read for pleasure. When I realized what I was doing, I made a conscious effort to get back the gift my mom gave me so many years ago.

I tried to give the gift to others, in the classroom and then in my own reading clinic. I only stayed in the public school system for eight years. I was constantly in trouble for using unorthodox methods, such a playing the guitar to teach phonics to my first graders, or giving out paper certificates under a tree on the playground on Fridays for good work that week. The clinic was a joy. My partner and I changed a lot of lives. We had children cry because they realized they weren’t ‘stupid,’ that they had just missed something they needed in order to make sense out of what they were seeing. We convinced one wonderful young man to go to college. He came back, several years later, thanking us for helping him become a park ranger. We did everything but make a profit, and so we had to shut the clinic down after three years. I feel lucky that we touched several lives.

I find it hard to imagine a life where reading isn’t an integral part, whether learning how to do something on the net, finding out about something interesting, following directions to cook a new dish, figuring out how to put something together, or the simply joy of escaping into different worlds, vicariously visiting places, meeting fascinating people!

I’m not sure what I would SAY to Nora Roberts or Robert B. Parker. I would probably be tongue-tied, trying not to sound like an idiot. Suffice to say, I would say a very sincere, “Thank you” for making my life so much richer.

Leave a comment

Filed under Hobbies, Reading is FUNdamental

Will Work…

books rock my world

I’m having a really good time reading lately. I’m in the middle of enjoying two authors that were new to me, plus re-reading books of a long-time favorite:

  • I just finished book 2 in a trilogy by Christopher Nutall called, The Zero Enigma Trilogy. Now my husband and I have to wait for Book 3 to come out.
  • I just downloaded book 3 of the Andy Carpenter series by David Rosenfelt. It’s called Bury the Lead.
  • In-between, I’m re-reading all the books by Robert J. Parker, starting with the Spenser books.

I feel rich, being able to enjoy the work of three great authors at the same time!

Leave a comment

Filed under Favorite Authors & Books, Reading is FUNdamental



Leave a comment

Filed under Reading is FUNdamental

Works of Art


Leave a comment

Filed under Reading is FUNdamental

Lovely Place

Leave a comment

Filed under Favorite Things, Reading is FUNdamental

The Best Washing Machine Ever!

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading is FUNdamental

Author Recommendation #2 of 2 Today

The second new author recommendation came from my husband, who is a Science Fiction connoisseur. He didn’t like this author’s science fiction books, because he says his books are “weak on physics”  but he loves this author’s fantasies. Any time my husband recommends a series based on a 12-year-old girl, describing her as strong and gutsy, you know this is a unique recommendation.


The Zero Blessing is the first book in a trilogy called The Zero Enigma Trilogy by Christoper G. Nuttall.  I finished book 1 last night.
“Caitlyn Aguirre should have been a magician. Her family certainly expected her to be a magician. But by the time she reached her twelfth birthday, Caitlyn hadn’t even managed to cast a single spell! In desperation, her parents send her – and her magical sisters – to Jude’s Sorcerous Academy, her last best chance to discover her powers.”
Reminiscent of the Harry Potter books, but only because it’s set in a world where magic is a given, you’re immediately immersed in Caitlyn’s world. I almost felt as if I’d been ‘dropped down a rabbit hole’ in a world where kids are kids, except armed with the ability to hex each other, make potions, cast spells, and more.  I didn’t want to come out of her world to do the mundane stuff in mine, such as cooking, working in the yard, cleaning, taking care of my animals….
I’m going to start book 2 of the trilogy, called, “The Zero Curse” soon. The author is writing book 3 now.
My husband has read about 25 of Nuttall’s books, saying that if I liked the first one in this series, I would love the rest of his books, so again I feel as if I’ve won the lottery!

Leave a comment

Filed under Favorite Authors & Books, Reading is FUNdamental

Author Recommendation #1 of 2 Today


I feel as if I’ve won the lottery with people recommending authors new to me.

I’ve just finished Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt, recommended by my sister-in-law, Mary Lou.

“Whether dueling with new forensics or the local old boys’ network, irreverent defense attorney Andy Carpenter always leaves them awed with his biting wit and winning fourth-quarter game plan. But Andy prefers the company of his best friend, Tara, to the people he encounters in the courtroom.”

After about a third of this book, I really liked the main character, Andy Carpenter. He’s a smart, very real character with whom you can identify.I love the way his mind works. He has a sense of humor that at various times caused me to smile, smirk, or snort. And he loves his dog, Tara, above everyone else in the world. This book kept my interest, making me want more when I finished. Thankfully, there is a whole series of Andy Carpenter books! I’m getting ready to read the 2nd book, First Degree.


See why I feel I’ve won the lottery?

THANKS, Mary Lou!!!


Leave a comment

Filed under Favorite Authors & Books, Reading is FUNdamental

Finishing a Book

i love reading books via cathy ruggiero

I told you that my friend, Marsha, recommended the “In Death” series by J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts. I now have and have read all 44 available in the series (I’m waiting for #45 to be available in paperback, and #46 won’t come out in hardback until January of 2018.)

Now I’m re-reading my collection of Robert B. Parker books –

  • Spenser series
  • Jesse Stone series
  • Sunny Randall series
  • Virgil Cole/Everett Hutch series
  • Young adult books

There are 39 books in the Spenser series. I have all of them and am re-reading book # 5,  Judas Goat.  I’m in a world now where the books ARE just as good or better than the last. How lucky is that?

I’m again impressed at the writing. It’s simple and direct, making it seem as if anyone could write it. Ace Atkins is trying to write more books in the style of Robert B. Parker. I tried one, but it’s a pale imitation of the real thing.  I love the wry, sarcastic sense of humor of the Spenser character. You learn of his strong character bit by bit. He’s no Goodie Two Shoes for sure, but his ethics are strong and unbreakable. His love for Susan makes me laugh and cry. It’s so real and unshakable. Susan is lucky to be loved by Spenser.

His dialogue makes me laugh out loud. His attention to detail shows you that Robert B. Parker would have been a great detective, too. Persistence and bravery are other traits of the character. Spenser grows on you. So do the other characters. You find yourself immersed in his world, always wanting more.

I’m waiting for delivery of a book by a new author recommended by my sister-in-law. I’m totally spoiled now to have several authors I love. Could I be lucky enough to have found another?


Leave a comment

Filed under Favorite Authors & Books, Reading is FUNdamental


I Love Reading Books via Cathy Ruggiero

I’m still working on moving a whole bunch of my library upstairs to the guest room. We have some nice built-in shelves that will help me organize stuff, rather than just trying to cram yet another book into my overflowing shelves. I’m trying to move all of one type of book each day.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading is FUNdamental