Why I Hated Good as Gone by Amy Gentry

Well, this is a first for me.

why-i-hated-good-as-gone-youtube

I know that Good as Gone by Amy Gentry has some really glowing reviews, so my opinion isn’t the majority. But, it would feel really odd to simply ignore this one on my Goodreads account so along with the 1-star review there, I wanted to talk about WHY I hated this book so much.

If you watch my video and have read the book, I’d love to know what YOU think about the book!

Library Sale Book Haul | November 2016

It was a gorgeous day in Tallahassee for an outdoor book sale. So of course, I had to go…

library-sale-book-haul-1

The sheer volume of books they had was pretty overwhelming. I could probably have spent about three hours looking, so it was almost a good thing that free parking was only one hour. Sometimes limits can be a good! Or I can at least pretend…

Either way, this turned out to be a fun vlog so feel free to check out what I got!

library-sale-book-haul

Talking Books on Youtube (Yay for Booktube)

You’ve heard of Youtube, but have you heard of Booktube?

new-to-booktube

Not familiar with the term? I’ve been using the phrase for so long it’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t know about it, but I know it’s still not commonly used. So… let me explain.

It’s really, really simple. Do you ever watch someone on Youtube who has a channel focused on one particular topic, such as fashion, or makeup? Well, how about a channel dedicated to talking about books? See where I’m going? Welcome to the concept that is Booktube!

I’ve wanted to have a dedicated space on Youtube for years to join the book related conversations that happen and finally jumped in the water.

Here is my New to Youtube introduction video! If you want to follow my videos on the channel directly, just head over to https://www.youtube.com/c/sharonrosen and subscribe.

Are you on Booktube? Let me know, I’d love to check out your channel!

If You Build It… They Will Come.

Little Van Library is Open

Our Little Van Library is officially open! We could definitely use more books, so today we will let folks know this is here and we’ll see if word-of-mouth will fill the gaps.

I still can’t believe we have actually pulled this off. But hey, where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Little Free Libraries are like handing out smiles. I’m very happy to be able to take part!

Want to more about our Little Van Library? You can read more about how this all came together by checking out: The Makings Of…A Little Free Library

Current location: Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

The Makings Of… A Little Free Library

Today was an amazing day. I accomplished a handful of things that made me extremely, joyously happy. For one thing, I now have a library card for the local library in Lake Havasu (as a full-time traveler, most counties will not provide such a gift, but as I’ve said before – Lake Havasu is a very special place). And, as I left the library, I left with an amazing book haul of purchased books – as much as I could carry in my arms. Yes, I did this. Yes, I still live in a van. But no, these books are not for me, they are for my library. Yes… my library.

This is how many books I can carry at once.

Little Van Library Book Haul

Shopping for our Little Free (Van) Library was so much more fun than shopping for myself! And since I purchased these in the “Friends of the Library” room, the money I spent goes directly toward supporting the local library. Besides, this amazing book haul cost me $6. Local Libraries are one of the best used bookstores ever that everyone forgets! 

Okay, let me back up a little bit now and give some background. What is a Little Free Library you ask?

A Little Free Library is a book trading zone, usually setup in front of someone’s house, or place of business. The person who establishes the Little Free Library buys or builds a location to house the books, and then will usually collect some books to kick things off, or donate from their personal collection. After that point, it should be fairly self-sustainable with people following the rules of the slogan, “Take a Book, Leave a Book”. You can take a book now, leave one later, pass along the book you picked up from one Little Free Library and return it to a different one (which Pays it Forward), or give to a friend to read. Basically, you share the joy of reading. It’s very simple really. 

I first heard of Little Free Libraries years ago and have wanted one ever since. I love sharing books with people, and I love talking books. Once we decided to travel, I figured there was no way we’d ever have one of these. I mean, who ever heard of a Little Free Library that moves? Well, you have. Now YOU have. Because we are making this happen.

A few months ago I mentioned to Dave that as crazy as it would be, I would still love to have a Little Free Library. I told him I knew it wouldn’t be possible, we most certainly do not have the room for it! But his response was priceless. His eyebrows shot up, and he told me the idea was brilliant. That’s pretty much all it takes for me to start brainstorming solutions. So that officially kicked things off.

The trick is, we live in a 22′ foot van. What would we use to store the library? They’re often pretty bulky (see examples here), and they need to be able to sustain being outside in the wind and rain. And for us, they need to be able to be transported on a regular basis.

At this point, we were committed to figuring out some way to do this, and some way to make it fit in a cargo box. So, we moved forward with obtaining a cargo box, which added 16 cubic feet of storage to our van. Wohoo! It was like adding on a basement! Do you know how LARGE 16 cubic feet of storage is when you live by way of spare inches? It’s ginormous! But I digress…

As much as I would love to have a super cute, adorable Little Free Library, like this one we saw in Columbia, Missouri – we knew we needed to be more creative.

Little Free Library

It’s taken me months to figure out a solution, but now that we have, we are just a few days away from having this fully setup!

Storage BoxOur Little Free Library will be housed in a Sterilite Storage Box, and available for use outside our van on a portable camping table that rolls up and fits in our cargo box.

This covers the weather issue, and the portability issue. Because the box is see through, books will be visible from the outside. Before you think I’ve abandoned the cuteness, don’t give up! I have absolutely not!

People will need to know that this is not just personal property, but something that is there for THEM to use and enjoy!

I have made some colorful attention-grabbing flyers for display next to the library box. I’m still working on the final touches, but I’ll go ahead and show you a sneak peek:

LFL Fliers

No, don’t bother trying the domain name, it doesn’t work yet silly! (Edited to add: The domain works now – yay!) I’m still working my way through my to-do list, but I am just too excited about this to not blog about it.

Anyway, the flyers. I’ll have a few of those printed next to the box of books so it’s clear, the books are meant to be touched, taken, and read.

This has been an amazing project to pull together, but now that we have the cargo box, the book-storage box, and an idea of what to do – I am very excited. It makes perfect sense to me to have a shareable bookshelf just outside my van door, ready for one and all to take, borrow, share – and talk books.

Our Little Van Library is almost here! Just a little more yet to do… stay tuned!

2015 Year in Review: 3,872 Miles Traveled & 53 Books Read!

If I had to describe 2015 in one word, I’d probably call it busy. If you grant me two words, I’d say life-changing. Can I have two words please?

We kicked off 2015 as new residents of Asheville, North Carolina. Not long after settling in we experienced the Asheville Snowmageddon 2015. It was fun… at first. Much better after we got a snow shovel. Though, I have to say the Fall of 2014 was a lot more fun – especially for Frodo.

Asheville 2015 Pisgah National Forest

We experienced the joy of living in a National Forest, definitely an experience I’ll never forget. This also included fighting a little bit with the creatures that lived near our house. There were the birds, and the spiders. And Dave protecting our house from critter invasion…

Dave on a Mission

I finally had a chance to photograph our bedtime routine with Frodo. Yes, we still brush his teeth every night. He loves it, and so do his teeth! You can tell from the photos he has a good time.

In May, we watched a life-changing documentary, and have been vegans ever since. It’s been almost 8 months now and I only wish we had made the change sooner.

Early in July we decided to take our life on the road, and began the process of downsizing our belongings. In a few short months we sold most of our stuff, our house, our car, and purchased a truck and a travel-trailer. It was a whirlwind of activities.

We hit the road October 17th, officially house-less, beginning our journey as nomads. After leaving Asheville, we traveled very quickly to South Dakota to get our driver’s licenses. On the way, we stopped through some pretty areas I look forward to re-visiting. Columbia, Missouri was gorgeous! 

Stephens Lake Park_The Lake

Rock Port, MO had a lot of character. I wouldn’t mind going back for a few days, especially during warmer months.

We were only in Amarillo, Texas for a short time, but long enough to see some interesting things. Like a donkey. And an emu.

And then, we got crazy with it. It was at this point we further downsized and sold our truck and travel trailer, and switched to a van. Once comfortably settled in our new van, the race was on to get somewhere warm. We headed to Arizona, yet at the same time, experienced a month without hot water. Go figure.

Now we are wrapping up 2015, living in a van, living a vegan life-style, and currently chilling out in Lake Havasu City, Arizona – while we recover from the whirlwind that this year has been. And it’s been a doozy. With only traveling the last portion of the year, we still managed to cover 3,872 miles. The speed was purely insane and I hope to never need to travel that far at that pace ever again! But, we managed to get our domicile squared away, improve our travel setup, get our van repaired, and… rest in the quiet of the southwest. I’d say the travel part of this year was smashing, though speedy. But, it was worth it. Every crazy minute of it.

2015 - 3872 Miles Traveled

There’s still one aspect from 2015 I haven’t had a chance to address yet, and that’s my reading life. I set out to read 52 books, and did it (read 53 books actually), and though some were good, and some were great, many were fantastic. I figured I would highlight my favorites from this year and tried to narrow down my selection to a Top 5. I couldn’t.

Out of the 53 books I read this year, here are my Top 8 Favorites:

2015 was a great year, and 2016 will be even better. I wish everyone a happy, healthy new year!

Colors! My First Brandon Sanderson Book…

Warbreaker For years my husband has told me how amazing Brandon Sanderson is, but I hadn’t read any of his books until recently. We selected his book Warbreaker, as a book to read together – even though it was Dave’s second read-through. The story definitely lends itself to be read multiple times, so I can see why he chose it – aside from FINALLY introducing me to his favorite author!

So finally, I get it! And yes, I agree, Brandon Sanderson is extremely creative.

What makes Warbreaker so amazing, is the unique world-building and entirely original magic system Sanderson creates. The story itself is great… two sisters, one marries the God King they fear (who has never taken a living breath, so the fear is justified), and the other who… well, I don’t want to spoil anything. Let’s just say, the story is interesting and an enjoyable adventure.

But the world? It’s captivating! Who would have thought of having a way to bring objects to life by way of using color, have a city and its inhabitants who views this as normal – and a warring city who views this as blasphemous, ostentatious, and vain.

And, all the intricacies that go along with such a system… I’m not sure which I enjoyed more, the story, or the magic system upon which it was built. All in all, it may have been my first Brandon Sanderson book – but it won’t be my last!

Growing Up Amish by Ira Wagler and the Ex-Amish

Growing Up AmishIf you’re looking for insight into why Amish become ex-Amish, you won’t find it in this book, Growing Up Amish by Ira Wagler.

There is an excellent documentary (on Netflix) called “Amish: Out of Order” that has 10 episodes which highlight the challenges people face when raised Amish, and, the difficulties they encounter if they choose to leave. But back to the book at hand…

Growing Up Amish by Ira Wagler is tedious to read. His memoir doesn’t shed any light on why he decided to become ex-Amish. Instead, you are carried through each exodus as though it’s a massive change in his life, and it would be, except that it’s temporary, and repetitive. He leaves – and returns – to the Amish four or five times. He finally decides to join the church, asks a young woman to marry him, courts her, and as the wedding time nears, breaks things off with her and leaves – AGAIN. Not long after he is out, he decides he doesn’t want to be excommunicated after all, and requests forgiveness and is accepted back into the Amish church – only to leave AGAIN.

Once through about 75% of the book I couldn’t wait to finally be done with it. I hoped to have some answers about how or why he chose to leave the Amish once and for all, especially after the clear turmoil he went through with each decision-reversal, but that is not provided to the readers of his memoir. No, he simply leaves yet again, and the book ends with him back in the world.

I’m slightly curious what made his final exodus “final” but I doubt he knows. He didn’t seem to know why he was so indecisive.

If you’re interested in the ex-Amish, definitely check out the documentary “Amish: Out of Order” and skip this memoir.