2019 Reading Journal
added on 01.01.20
In 2019 I read 92 books, and a total of 32,059 pages. Here's my entire reading journal for the year.
BJ’s Top Reads for 2019
added on 12.31.19
Here are my faves that I've read in 2019. Let's fatten up your TBR list for 2020 with these
BJ’s Standout Reads December 2019
added on 12.31.19
This month I have a comedy and 2 thrillers that I could not put down. One of them I read in 2 days.
I Didn’t Have What It Takes to Be a Winner
added on 12.15.19
A funny story about a scam I was almost caught up in.
BJ’s Standout Reads November 2019
added on 12.10.19
This month I have historical fiction about former Cosmopolitan magazine editor Helen Gurley Brown, another historical fiction about women during World War II and then I have a unique story about a newly deceased mother trying to make things right for her family from the beyond.
I Tried the Toothpaste Tablets, Here’s How It Went
added on 12.09.19
I got a little obsessed with the idea of finding a less polluting alternative to toothpaste. Here's what I learned.
BJ’s Standout Reads: October 2019
added on 11.13.19
In October I read a fascinating memoir about a woman and her baby trying to ascend from homelessness, as well as a jump into February vacation 1984 as told from a 12 year old boy's perspective.
That Time I Went to a Korean Spa
added on 10.18.19
This should also be titled the time I got naked in front of my mother in law.
BJ’s Standout Reads: September 2019
added on 09.30.19
This month I have a memoir by an attorney representing the plantiffs after The Station Nightclub fire, a coming of age story, and a story of jilted love.
BJ’s Standout Reads: August 2019
added on 09.03.19
This month we have 2 thrillers that kept me swiping the pages and wearing down the battery on my tablet.
The Big Sailing Trip Part VI
added on 08.26.19
This is the last installment of the big sailing trip we took from Fort Lauderdale to Rhode Island. In this installment we hung out on Block Island for the 4th. I almost crashed a moped into an oncoming van. But we also ran into some more friends on the island--so it totally balanced out.
The Big Sailing Trip Part V
added on 08.20.19
In this installment we did Atlantic City, battled a swarm of flies, lost steering again and headed out to Block Island.
The Big Sailing Trip Part IV
added on 08.09.19
This leg of the trip started in Beaufort, NC and ended up in Atlantic City, NJ. This leg features a pink eye scare and a call to the doctor.
The Big Sailing Trip Part III
added on 08.02.19
This installment brings us from Charleston, SC to Beaufort, NC. We had to make our one and only call to our on call doctor, and bumped into an old friend.
The Big Sailing Trip Part II
added on 07.29.19
In this leg of the adventure we left Fort Lauderdale and did our first foray in overnight 24/7 sailing all the way to Charleston, SC.
The Big Sailing Trip Part I
added on 07.17.19
Todd and I recently set out on an epic sailing trip totalling 1,213 miles from Fort Lauderdale to Rhode Island. Here are the first few days of the trip--in these days we didn't leave the dock due to some unforeseen technical glitches.
What I Read on Summer Vacation 2019
added on 07.10.19
This year was an offshore sailing trip from Fort Lauderdale to Rhode Island. We traveled a total of 1,213 miles and I read a total of 10 books in that time.
added on 06.14.19
I am embarking on a very long boat trip, 1,100 miles to be exact. Here's what goes into taking a trip that long.
My Night with the Barenaked Ladies
added on 06.11.19
Then there was that night I sang with the Barenaked Ladies.
BJ’s Standout Reads: May 2019
added on 05.30.19
This month I have a story about pledging a sorority, a memoir by a Jewish woman who hid in plain sight in Germany during World War II and a delicious novel by Liane Moriarity.
Dear Governor Ivey
added on 05.24.19
I am appalled by the new legislation in Alabama. I wrote a letter to Governor Ivey, a woman who voted to restrict the rights of women in her state, and sent her a box of wire coat hangers. Here is my letter.
When Andrea Went Missing
added on 05.01.19
In college I had a roommate who had gone missing. And I still don't know where she went that day.
BJ’s Standout Reads: April 2019
added on 04.22.19
This month I have a crazy thriller, a book about improving your people skills and a novel about a woman who lost her memory. Mixed bag, but it's all good!
In a Past Life I Was a Lighthouse Keeper
added on 04.17.19
I am not sure whether I believe in past lives or not. I mean, it's something we all joke about. But a recurring dream and a visit to a lighthouse makes me wonder whether I have a past life and whether I was a lighthouse keeper in that life.
BJ’s Standout Reads: March 2019
added on 03.29.19
This month I've got 2 WWII themed books and a memoir about a woman caring for her brain injured sister.
Secret Facts about 80s Rock Stars
added on 03.19.19
I am a rock star memoir junkie. Here are the secret facts I've learned about 80s rockers.
My Mom the School Bus Driver
added on 03.05.19
Remembering Mom on what would have been her 82nd birthday. I miss you every day, Mom.
BJ’s Standout Reads: February 2019
added on 02.25.19
This month I have a few thrillers and a story about a family that moved to wilderness Alaska in the 70s. Overall, a great month of reading, check it out here.
The Last Roll of Film
added on 02.15.19
I recently developed a roll of film that had been sitting in a camera for about a decade. It was better than opening Al Capone's vault.
Fired Like a Clay Pot
added on 02.11.19
Early in my day job career I got fired. I was so embarrassed. I didn't tell anyone because I didn't want to look like a loser. But my biggest professional regret came the day after I got fired.
On Becoming a Complete Polish Woman
added on 01.26.19
Being Polish is more than a punch line to a joke. It's about learning to make pierogi.
BJ’s Standout Reads: January 2019
added on 01.26.19
I've got 3 I want you to check out this month. One is a memoir by Sue Klebold, the other is a more serious piece by the hilarious Jen Lancaster, and then the last one is a a very original story about a boy who is allergic to electricity.
The Girl in the Boating Supply Store
added on 01.06.19
Most of my hobbies are "male dominated." As a result I have oddly sexist experiences when shopping for parts in boating supply stores.
In 2018 I Read 82 Books-27,245 Pages
added on 01.02.19
Here's the list of everything I read in 2018. Looking for things to read? Check out this list.
BJ’s Top Reads from 2018
added on 12.31.18
Every month I've been telling you about my favorite books I've read. Here's a roundup of my favorites from the entire year. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.
BJ’s Standout Reads: December 2018
added on 12.28.18
December is a busy time. But not too busy to read. I read a murder mystery and a gripping tale about the issue of race in America. Check em out!
The Suite Life of BJ Knapp
added on 11.30.18
Looking out the window from the 26th floor of the Mohegan Sun Casino, I remember the time we visited this casino by boat. One of my favorite adventures ever.
BJ’s Standout Reads: November 2018
added on 11.25.18
Check out what I enjoyed in November. We have 2 thrillers and a delightful and funny story about women's friendships.
My Night with Keith Urban
added on 11.12.18
Remember that time I went to see Keith Urban with my Mother In Law?
BJ’s Standout Reads: October 2018
added on 11.02.18
This month I read a spooky stalker book, and historical fiction. Check out what I devoured in October.
BJ’s Standout Reads September 2018
added on 09.26.18
In September I have a rock star romance and a book about domestic violence. Polar opposites yet both were great reads.
My Obsession with the Mysterious Gould Island
added on 09.21.18
There is an island in Narragansett Bay that I am convinced is a secret underground lair for the military elite. If only I could get onto the island and explore. I've tried unsuccessfully a few times. Here's the story about my obsession with Gould Island.
Denny’s Parking Lot by Night
added on 09.12.18
When I was 12 in 1986 we went to the Grand Canyon. And then we slept in a Denny's parking lot.
Our First Ever Sailing Trip
added on 09.04.18
Todd and I love to travel on our sailboat. We've owned three boats together, and the first was on Lake Champlain in Vermont. We embarked on a 10 day trip together and got hooked. Check out some blast from the past pictures in this post.
What I Read on Summer Vacation: 2018
added on 08.28.18
This vacation was a bit unusual for us, and so were my vacation reading selections. The ocean we sailed on was dark and moody, and so were my reads.
BJ’s Standout Reads August 2018
added on 08.22.18
This is a short one only because soon I'll post my list of books I read on vacation this year too. But here are some juicy ones I read this month.
And Yet #MeToo
added on 08.01.18
The Me Too movement has been an incredibly powerful way to start the conversation about sexual assault and harassment. This is my Me Too story.
BJ’s Standout Reads: July 2018
added on 07.23.18
This month we have two rock star romances, and one by Jodi Picoult. One of the rock star romances is incredibly sexy.
BJ’s Standout Reads: June 2018
added on 06.27.18
Summer is here! Looking for something to add to your summer reading list? Check out what I read and loved in June.
I Get By with a Little Help From My Friends
added on 06.26.18
There is an army of people behind every great thing we do. Here's a few people in my little army.
My Last First Kiss
added on 06.20.18
First kisses are a very addictive part of getting to know someone. But how do you know when you kiss someone that it'll be the last time you ever get to experience a first kiss with anyone? Do you try to memorize every detail just in case, or do you just hope that you will?
BJ’s Standout Reads May 2018
added on 05.22.18
Looking for something new to read? Here’s what I devoured and enjoyed in May. I hope you like them as much as I did.
Help Me, Rhonda, Get into a Chevy Monza
added on 05.13.18
I am the youngest of five children. I was desperate to keep up with my older siblings, and did so through their music. I have these wonderful memories of the music they brought into my world--thank you all.
Why Yes, I Think I Will Be Your Guest
added on 05.11.18
I got the chance to do a TV interview with Jan Lewis on Be My Guest. TV interviews are great, but there was the whole question of what to wear?
Beside the Music Perfect Score in the 2018 BookLife Prize
added on 04.30.18
Beside the Music scored a 10 out of 10 on all categories in the 2018 BookLife Prize by Publisher's Weekly.
BJ’s Standout Reads, April 2018
added on 04.24.18
This month I have a memoir by a former Playboy Playmate and a thriller. I know I am mixing genres, but I promise they are both well worth the read.
How To Make Every Day Earth Day
added on 04.20.18
If we all change a few habits in our daily routine, we can make a huge impact for our planet. Here are some things I do to save the earth.
The Ballad of the Trophy Wife
added on 04.17.18
You can't call someone else a trophy wife, unless you call yourself one first. And you can only do it if you're joking with a friend you've known since you were 16.
BJ’s Standout Reads March 2018
added on 04.02.18
The path not taken? A mysterious man on the beach in the rain with no memory of who he is? Check out my standouts from March.
The Jug on the Counter
added on 03.29.18
The week before Easter my mom put out a ceramic jug on the counter. Here's what was in it.
Wicked Game of the Hunter
added on 03.26.18
My review of Tracey Ryan's Wicked Game of the Hunter
Lent Gets in the Way
added on 03.19.18
When I was a kid my parents observed Lent to the letter. I have to be honest, the last thing I ever gave up for Lent was the only thing I'd ever managed to be successful at giving up. What I had given up was giving up things for Lent. But when I was a kid Lent interfered with my social life in seemingly tragic ways.
How We All Escaped with our Lives
added on 03.12.18
The latest birthday adventure with my crew: escaping the rooms in Boston.
While You Were On Mars
added on 03.05.18
On March 5th my mom would have been 81. She died when she was 64, and she's missed out on so much.
BJ’s Standout Reads Feb 2018
added on 02.28.18
February was a short month. I also slept more soundly in February so I didn't stay up late reading as much as I normally do. Here are my standout reads, but there are only 2 this month.
Why Beta Readers Are Crucial to Making a Great Novel
added on 02.26.18
Writing a novel? Is it any good? Find out by having someone beta read it. Someone other than your mom or your spouse.
added on 02.05.18
Book recommendation: Second Guessing by Gail Ward Olmsted. If you're looking for a rock star romance with a bit of mystery and a page turner, check this out.
The Ghosts of Savannah
added on 02.01.18
Todd and I drove to Florida. We took 4 days to cover a distance that would normally be done in 20-something hours. We had a blast exploring the ghost ridden streets of Savannah, Georgia.
BJ’s Standout Reads Jan 2018
added on 01.31.18
Here are my faves from January, including one from my pal Gail Ward Olmsted.
My Trip Down Pneumonia Lane
added on 01.15.18
I don't understand how people can possibly function with walking pneumonia. I had it once, and I literally could not deal with anything. Here's my story of traveling to Seattle and getting diagnosed with walking pneumonia.
Writer’s Digest 25th Annual Self Published Book Award
added on 01.09.18
While I didn't win the prize, the comments by the judge were pretty awesome. I am beyond honored!
In 2017 I Read 27,562 Pages
added on 01.08.18
I love to read. Reading helps me to learn how to be a better writer, here's all that I read in 2017.
BJ’s Standout Reads: December 2017
added on 12.27.17
Looking for something new to read, here's what I read in December.
Songs from Uncle George’s Basement
added on 12.23.17
My Uncle George had this amazing vinyl collection in his basement. At Christmas time I always remember hanging out in his basement and listening to these gems.
Epic Cake Fail
added on 12.21.17
I tried to make a fancy cake for Todd for his birthday. It was supposed to look like a hedgehog.
Let’s Talk About All the Times I Hit a Deer
added on 12.04.17
Hitting a deer with your car is inconvenient, gross, and a complete bummer.
The Kindness of Strangers: A Thanksgiving Miracle
added on 11.26.17
There was that time when we were driving to Vermont for Thanksgiving, when the car died and we had the surprising good fortune of the kindness of strangers.
BJ’s Standout Reads: November 2017
added on 11.17.17
Here are my top 3 reads from November 2017.
I Am a Freak Magnet
added on 11.13.17
I am generally friendly. I even offer candy to strangers. But sometimes I swear people see the sign written on my forehead that says "Approach me and tell me your deepest, darkest and craziest."
So, How Much of the Story is True?
added on 11.06.17
I get asked all the time how much of me, my life and the people in my life found their way in to Beside the Music.
My First Time Trick or Treating—I was 12
added on 10.30.17
I went trick or treating for the first time when I was 12. I didn't realize it wasn't customary to tour the richest lady in town's mansion when you trick or treated at her house.
Symphony Not So Fantastique
added on 10.23.17
I had my own Julia Roberts Sleeping with the Enemy moment when the Barenaked Ladies started randomly playing when I was home alone and in the shower.
BJ’s Standout Reads: October 2017
added on 10.19.17
Here are my top three I've read for October. Go check these out, they were awesome!
When a Drama Queen is a 73 lb Male Chesapeake Bay Retriever
added on 10.16.17
Meet Potter, my 73 lb Chessie drama queen.
The Last Dot Com Job
added on 10.09.17
Early in the day job career I was a Dot Commer. This was my last go at a Dot Com before the bubble burst. Reading this, you'll know why it burst.
Did Stephen King Actually Have a Rabid and Murderous Dog?
added on 10.02.17
What happens when a group of readers makes up a story about the author of a novel, based upon novel. And what happens if it's untrue and they spread that story anyway? Asking for a friend.
To NaNo or Not To NaNo: That is the Question
added on 09.25.17
Should I do NaNoWriMo this year?
My Reading at the Elephant Room
added on 09.18.17
On August 31st I was fortunate enough to participate in a reading at The Elephant Room in Cranston, RI. Pics and video in this blog entry.
BJ’s Standout Reads: September 15, 2017
added on 09.15.17
I read a lot. Here are the top 3 I've read recently.
Where I Was
added on 09.11.17
We used to ask back then "Where were you when the 9/11 attack happened." This is where I was.
The Girl on the Bike with the Dog
added on 08.28.17
When I was 8 I had a paper route? Can you imagine letting an 8 year old on her bike go down the street and deliver a newspaper to drug dealers?
Restoring Dying Coral
added on 08.21.17
We volunteered at the Coral Restoration Foundation to help replant some endangered coral. Every diver should do this to fully appreciate the gorgeous reefs we love to explore, and give back to our underwater world.
Shipwreck Diving: The Spiegel Grove
added on 08.14.17
The first day of our 2017 scuba vacation was spent diving in Key Largo, Florida. Let me tell you all about diving the wreck of the Spiegel Grove.
What I Read On My Summer Vacation: 2017 Edition
added on 08.11.17
Looking for a vacation read? Here's what I read on my summer vacation.
Landing a Plane While the Pilot is Passed Out
added on 08.07.17
Do you think you could pack a suitcase for your husband? Easy right? Now, could he pack one for you?
added on 07.31.17
Normally I don't remember my dreams. But this one was a doozy, a reminder of a job I once had which was a nightmare I faced during the day.
Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card
added on 07.24.17
What would you do with $50 at Amazon--where you can literally buy anything? Read and review Beside the Music on Amazon.com and enter to win $50. Contest ends November 30, 2017.
It Must Be my Mediterranean Skin
added on 07.24.17
Driving around in a convertible has made my skin tan, only because I marinate in sunscreen before I leave the house. But being Polish must mean I tan easily, no?
A Bloody Nose in Abu Dhabi
added on 07.17.17
I was waiting for Todd in a restaurant in Abu Dhabi, and he walked in with blood all over his face and down the front of his shirt. Whaaaa?
My Fuzzy Little Time Bomb
added on 07.10.17
On Friday we just found out that Nemo, our beagle, has Cushing's Disease. I am not really sure what all that means yet, though.