Spell the Month in Books is a linkup hosted here on Reviews From the Stacks on the second Saturday of each month. The goal, inspired by a hashtag I first encountered on Instagram, is to spell the current month with the first letter of book titles, excluding articles such as ‘the’ and ‘a’ as needed. That’s all there is to it! Some months there are theme challenges, such as “books with an orange cover” or books of a particular genre, but for the most part, any book you want to use is fair game! To participate, simply make a post, comment, or picture of the books you choose. They can be books you physically own or simply titles you have come across. Most of the time I create a virtual bookstack from titles on my Goodreads shelves. If you make a list, please share a link to your post in the comments so that I and other participants can see! There is also a Spell the Month in Books button which you can use in your posts. To use it, copy the code from the box below my list and paste it into your blog editor in HTML mode (for WordPress users, insert a “Custom HTML” block and paste the code there).
N – A New Day Dawns by Terry Lister
Nonfiction – Travelogue; Published 2021
In A New Day Dawns, the second installment of the Travels With Terry Series, he takes us to the edge as he ventures into Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Ghana. This highly anticipated release is both amusing and historical, as Terry guides curious explorers beyond the tourist traps and pushes the proverbial and literal boundaries in search of adventure. Old and new experiences collide to create the perfect maelstrom of confidence and trepidation as he navigates the African coast.
From pristine beaches and hectic markets to dense forests and ancient castles, Terry delivers an unforgettable adventure that is guaranteed to spark a soul-stirring experience for his readers.
Comments: This book is a fascinating and quick read! Highly recommend for anyone interested in travel or a brief introduction to the countries and cultures of this corner of the west African coast. You can see my review here.
O – (A Poetics of) Orthodoxy by Ben Myers
Nonfiction – Poetry/Theology/Art Study; Published 2020
What makes one poem better than another? Do Christians have an obligation to strive for excellence in the arts? While orthodox Christians are generally quick to affirm the existence of absolute truth and absolute goodness, even many within the church fall prey to the postmodern delusion that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This book argues that Christian doctrine in fact gives us a solid basis on which to make aesthetic judgments about poetry in particular and about the arts more generally. The faith once and for all delivered unto the saints is remarkable in its combined emphasis on embodied particularity and meaningful transcendence. This unique combination makes it the perfect starting place for art that speaks to who we are as creatures made for eternity.
Comments: I’m stretching the rules quite a bit for this one, but this book is so unique and worth revisiting!
V – Vintage Christmas by Marlene Campbell
Nonfiction – Memoir/Short Story Collection; Published 2016
Travel back in time to when Christmas was a simple affair: children were content to receive an apple, an orange, or a piece of barley candy in their stockings; clothes, meals, and decorations were all homemade; and it was time spent with family, not expensive gifts, that warmed hearts during the holiday season.
This nostalgic collection recalls Christmas celebrations of the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, transporting readers to the unheated farmhouse bedrooms and cozy barn stalls of rural Prince Edward Island, and the thrilling big-city department store visits to nearby Summerside. It turns out one thing has not changed: the most memorable part of any Christmas cannot be bought and sold.
Comments: I talk about this book a lot, in part because it’s about the only one I have read that starts with the letter V, and in part because it is so pleasant to read. I’m so glad I stumbled across this book while shelving one day! You can see my full review here.
E – Elements of Style by Strunk & White
Nonfiction – Writing; Published 1918, my favorite edition published 2008 (50th anniversary ed)
Making “every word tell” is what The Elements of Style is all about. This famous manual, now in a third edition, has conveyed the principles of plain English style to millions of readers. It is probably the only style manual ever to appear on the best seller lists.
Whether you write letters, term papers, or novels, the “little” book, as it has come to be called, can help you communicate more effectively. It will show you how to cut deadwood out Of your sentences: enliven your prose with the active voice; put statements in a positive form; approach style by way of plainness, simplicity, orderliness, sincerity.
The original “little” book was written by William Strunk, Jr., late professor of English at Cornell, for use by his students. Years later, one of the most illustrious of those students, E. B. White, prepared an edition of the book for the general public, revising the original and con- tributing a final chapter of his own that sought to lead the reader beyond mere correctness toward distinction in English style.
Comments: You know I’m stretching when I include The Elements of Style! This is a very useful book, and not the driest I have ever read on the topic, but it’s also not terribly entertaining. Useful, but not fun.
M – Metaliteracy by Thomas P. Mackey & Trudi E. Jacobson
Nonfiction – Literacy; Published 2014
Today’s learners communicate, create, and share information using a range of information technologies such as social media, blogs, microblogs, wikis, mobile devices and apps, virtual worlds, and MOOCs. In Metaliteracy, respected information literacy experts Mackey and Jacobson present a comprehensive structure for information literacy theory that builds on decades of practice while recognizing the knowledge required for an expansive and interactive information environment. The concept of metaliteracy expands the scope of traditional information skills (determine, access, locate, understand, produce, and use information) to include the collaborative production and sharing of information in participatory digital environments (collaborate, produce, and share) prevalent in today’s world. Combining theory and case studies, this cutting-edge approach to information literacy will help your students grasp an understanding of the critical thinking and reflection required to engage in technology spaces as savvy producers, collaborators, and sharers.
Comments: This is a dense book that I really appreciated while wrapping up my MLIS. I recommend it to anyone who teaches literacy in any capacity: all levels of school teachers, homeschool parents, librarians, and those who help with technology along the way.
B – Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Nonfiction – Memoir/Environmentalism; Published 2013
As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these lenses of knowledge together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings are we capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learning to give our own gifts in return.
Comments: Unlike the books I’ve mentioned previously, this is one that I have not yet read. It’s on my “eventually” TBR, and my library highlights it from time to time so that it stays in my mind.
E – End of the Spear by Steve Saint
Nonfiction – Biography; Published 2005
Steve Saint was only five years old when his father was brutally killed by Waodani warriors, men from the most savage culture ever known. But in a story almost too amazing to be true, Steve eventually comes to know—and even love—the very ones who drove the spears into his father’s body.
Decades after their lives were changed by learning to walk God’s trail, the Waodani asked Steve to return to the jungle with his family to live among them again and teach them how to interact with the encroaching outside world. Striving to mesh his two very different worlds, Steve must face the tragic events of his past and learn to fully trust God through terrible danger, great loss, and remarkable joy.
R – Radium Girls by Kate Moore
Nonfiction – Biography/History; Published 2017
The Curies’ newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.
Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.
But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women’s cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America’s early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that will echo for centuries to come.
Comments: This was a very hard book to read because of the nature of the content. It gets a bit graphic, although it’s not undue. This isn’t a book that one can say they enjoyed reading, but it is an important part of American history.
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Have you read any of these books? Do you read much nonfiction at all?
If you make a Spell the Month in Books post during November, please share the link in the comments on this post so that we can all check out your list!
December 10: Books about Christmas, winter, or general coziness
January 14, 2023: TBR or books to read while snowed/iced in
February 2023: Red or Pink covers
Until the next chapter,
This is my first time taking part. I hope to join in again!
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I also put my list with links to my reviews of the books at my site. And his is my first time participating, too.https://mybecky.blog
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Thanks for that. I’m always a tad late. I post my list at the beginning of the month and then don’t always think about it daily to check when you do your linkup. Sorry for that. Is there a special date when we should do this?
Here is my post.
I’m a little late this month! http://perfectretort.blogspot.com/2022/11/spell-month-in-books-november.html
Braiding Sweetgrass has really taken off since it was published! It was the “community reads” book at my library although I never got around to reading it.
Jana, I saw The End Of The Spear movie. Very good!
Great list of books