Tag Archive for: #earlyreading

Crazy About Socks?

Recently I read that during the pandemic online shopping spree, socks became a hot item. Socks? Really? Must have taken some pretty bored people to shop for socks!

I wondered if socks had ever been written up in literature. As a mystery writer, I immediately thought of possible book titles: Murder by Socks, The Sock Strangler, or Forensic Socks.

Next, I researched books with “socks” in the title and found the expected “how to” category teaching you to knit socks. Children’s stories have a surprising number of titles with socks, starting with Dr. Seuss’s famous Fox in Socks.

In Battle of Hogwarts, the Harry Potter book/movie, Harry tricks Lucius Malfoy into freeing the house servant Dobby. Harry uses one of his socks to gift-wrap Tom Riddle’s Diary before giving it to Lucius. When Lucius throws away the unneeded sock, Dobby catches it, thus freeing himself from Lucius.

My personal experience with socks was during my corporate days when I racked up millions of airline miles flying all over the globe. At that time, business and first class gave an amenity kit that included a cheap pair of socks that were supposed to be used once and discarded. Well, I collected and used those socks. For over twenty years I never bought a pair—I had all those airline ones. And they never wear out! Though my husband disagrees; he’s thrown away the ones with the comfortable holes in the toes.

My stream of consciousness led me to research the sock market. Every theme you can think of can be printed on a pair of cotton, stretchy, or wool socks. The most expensive, so expensive in fact that the price was not listed, are those made from Cervelt, a fiber from New Zealand’s Red Deer. Only 20 grams of fiber can be collected per deer per year making it one of the most exclusive fabrics in the world.

In my search I discovered an organization in the Netherlands, Sock by Sock, whose mission is to keep overproduced socks from ending up as waste. After seeing the availability of socks on the Net, I can assure you that organization has plenty of work to accomplish.

Do you have a sock story? If so, sock it to me!


Kathryn Lane is the author of the award-winning Nikki Garcia Mystery Series. Nikki Garcia, the protagonist, is a private investigator based in Miami. She does work in foreign countries, including countries where private investigators are forbidden by law.

Kathryn’s early work life started out as a painter in oils. To earn a living, she became a certified public accountant and embarked on a career in international finance with a major multinational corporation.

Two decades later, she left the corporate world to create mystery and suspense thrillers, drawing inspiration from her Mexican background as well as her travels in over ninety countries.


Photos are taken from the public domain. They are used in either an editorial or educational manner.

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Scouting for Good Reads

by Saralyn Richard


One of my most memorable activities from childhood was being
a part of the Girl Scouts. My Girl Scout troop was phenomenal. Our leaders,
Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Martin, made sure every meeting was a learning experience
and a social experience worth our time and effort. We went on several trips,
including one to the Alamo in San Antonio, the State Capitol in Austin, and to
a dude ranch in New Braunfels. Many of the girls in our troop are still among
my close friends today.

The scout program encouraged each girl to select an area to “specialize”
in, with the goal of earning a badge in that field. I earned many badges in my
time, but my favorite was—no surprise here—the reading badge. The reading badge
didn’t require me to go out into scorching hot, mosquito-infested campgrounds.
I didn’t have to prove proficiency at knot-tying (although I recall doing
something like that anyway), sharp-tool-wielding, or fire-starting. All I had
to do was chill with a book in the comfort of my house, which was my favorite
activity anyway.

The reading badge turned out not to be that easily obtained,
however. If memory serves me correctly, I had to read a hundred books, most of
them required. Lots of these books were Newbery Award winners. Many of them
were classics. Most were long. Some of the titles I remember were Hittie:  Her First Hundred Years, Desiree, King of the
Wind, Johnny Tremain, Adam of the Road, Caddie Woodlawn, Little Women, Black
Beauty, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Pippi Longstocking, Robinson Crusoe.
remember sitting in the elementary school library, reading every chance I could.

Even though I was an avid reading before I decided to work
on the badge, I benefitted in numerous ways from reading so many excellent books. My vocabulary increased, as did my understanding of diverse cultures and
themes. Most of all, my love of reading grew exponentially. The more I read,
the more I craved clever story lines, exquisite descriptions, fascinating

I’m sure the reading badge contributed to my choosing to
major in English and to teach high school English. More than likely, it inspired
me to try my hand at writing, too.

I decided to see what the requirements are for the reading
badge today, and here’s what I found out. Girl Scouts has modernized its “curriculum.”
The options for badges, awards, and pins include more practical topics, like
saving the environment, becoming financially literate, becoming a space science
researcher, and leading in the digital world. See
for a complete list. A scout can earn a reading diva patch (see here),
but so little is required that one could earn that in a week’s time.

At the risk of sounding like an anachronism, I’m sad that
the opportunities afforded by the rigorous reading badge no longer exist for
young girls. At the same time, I’m extremely grateful that I earned mine when I

Were you a big reader when you were younger? What were some
of your most memorable books read?


Richard’s award-winning humor- and romance-tinged mysteries and children’s book
pull back the curtain on people in settings as diverse as elite country manor
houses and disadvantaged urban high schools.
 Saralyn’s most recent release is Bad Blood Sisters. A
member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America,
Saralyn teaches creative writing and literature at the Osher Lifelong Learning
Institute, and continues to write mysteries. Her favorite thing about being an
author is interacting with readers like you.
here, on her
Amazon page 
here, or on Facebook here.