This blog is dedicated to my sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Tina Banks of Burke School Elementary, who gave me the gift of literature.

This blog is about reading and writing. It was originally about my quest to read the 100 Greatest Novels of all time – a quest I completed in June 2018. Now it is about my continuing reading experience with a bit of my own poetry, prose, or nonsense thrown in as well.

The blog name is derived from poems by John Newton and J.R.R. TolkienLike Newton, I once was lost but now am found, but as Tolkien puts it, not all those who wander are lost. Though no longer lost, I still like to wander: through the secret places of Middle Earth, or the courts of Imperial Russia, over grand plantations of the antebellum South, or the inner sanctum of a mad scientist’s laboratory, through deepest seas, farthest planets, and the occasional insane asylum.

The image in the Title/Banner, is original artwork, created by my son. You can see more of his work at Jonathan F did an art on Facebook.

About me: I am happily married; my beautiful wife and I have three wonderful children (son, son, daughter), two marvelous daughters-in-law, four adorable grandsons, and two beautiful granddaughters. It's not hyperbole; they really are beautiful, wonderful, marvelous, adorable, and again beautiful.

Me? I'm humble and lovable...which is an allusion to Shoe Shine Boy, the humble and lovable undercover identity of Underdog.  I see myself a little like Linus of peanuts as well. Two cartoon references ought to tell you something.

I share a birthday with Millard Fillmore. Though, we don't really share. It's all mine now. He's finished with it.

I have a job...a career even. I like what I do, and I'm good at it. That's a blessing.  I'm on my second career. I haven't been unemployed a single day for over 30 years. I tend to take having a job for granted, so let me acknowledge what a blessing that is, and thank the Good Lord for steady employment. I'm a writer of sorts professionally, though it's boring day-job stuff and not accessible to the public. I hope to write the great American novel someday. If that proves too difficult, I may slow my roll and shoot for the fairly decent Hoboken novel, giving myself a better statistical probability of success.

I've eaten over 30,000 pieces of toast. I love toast. I've heard you should write about what you know about, so my novel will probably be about toast.

I was born in Michigan where I spent the first 20+ years of my life. I graduated from the University of Maryland...Fear the Turtle, though I have never lived in Maryland. I currently live and work in Northern Virginia. I have also lived in Japan, Nebraska, Hawaii, the Netherlands, Italy, Canada, and Texas. I've also traveled to South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, and the U.K. Don't get me started on states. Not all of em. Most of em. Including the two tough ones.

These are the places I’ve lived:

I am told I have a quirky sense of humor. I prefer the word aloof.

I'm not a cat person....though for most of my adult life I've had a cat. This is because I am a wife and daughter person. 

I am a cat video person though. After an extensive personal inventory questionnaire that we both took, this was found to be the one and only thing I had in common with Ozzie Osbourne. His answers were unintelligible, but we just figured cuz...who doesn't like cat videos?

I once met Bobby Kennedy...sort of. He was right there...I coulda touched him, but he was sort of scary, so I didn't. My brother touched him, shook his hand, and I was touching my brother...so yeah, me and Bobby were tight. May he rest in peace.

I love words. I'm a logophile or word nerd. I love to know the origin, subtle meanings, common misuses, etc. I'm a bit fussy about words. I'm interested in names too, because names are words. My name is Joseph; it is Hebrew for: he shall add. Not as in math, but as in he shall be of benefit.

I collect quotations. One of my favorites, by the only President from the Great State of Michigan: 
Things are the way they are now, more than they ever have been before. ~ Gerald R. Ford
By the way, it's a quotation not a quote. Quote is a verb; quotation is a noun. What I did (verb) was quote President Ford. The actual saying (noun) itself is a quotation. Fussy remember?

I enjoy reading, writing, eating toast, golfing, poking things with sticks, fishing, avoiding political discussions, confusing people, cheering for my teams, thinking deep thoughts, hating Windows 8, collecting quotations, and handicapping horse races.

Thanks for reading my blog. I love to see new page views. I love comments even more. For other book bloggers, I will gladly place a link to your blog on the blog roll and invite you to do the same.

Live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God!


  1. Hello, Joseph. I clicked over from The Classics Club, and I'm really glad I did! I can see I'm going to have fun exploring your blog and following your posts.

    I wish you all the best with your dream of writing the 'great American novel'. And I must thank you for the tid-bit on 'quotations' and 'quotes'. Come to think of it, I shouldn't have made this mistake. Thing is, I never thought about it. ^_^

    Happy New Year!

  2. Hello there, I just found your blog through the Classics Club! You have one of the best "About" pages ever, and now I'm off to see what sorts of books you've reviewed! I'm glad to make your acquaintance, fellow word nerd. My obsessions also include correct pronunciation and the French accent marks.

    1. Thank you Manette, what a sublime compliment. I'm pleased to make your acquaintance as well, and look forward to comparing notes where our reading may intersect.

  3. Hi there, and thanks for following my blog. Yes, you really have an excellent 'about' page. Mine is quite dull by comparison - perhaps I should 'sex it up', as they say these days.

  4. Great blog, great resources! :-)

  5. Hello Joseph:

    I've nominated you for the Premio Dardos Award because I enjoy visiting your blog and reading your posts. https://zezee112.wordpress.com/2015/07/13/premio-dardos-award/

  6. Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting. After reading your bio I shall now think of you as Toast Man to distinguish you from the others ;-)

    1. Ah well, alrighty. I prefer my given pseudonym...The Wanderer, but whatevs :)


    That is all...

  8. It's great to find your blog, Joseph. We have a few reading challenges in common and I look forward to reading more about the books you read. I'm a year into my first round of the Classics Club, and I'm just about done with the 2017 Back to the Classics Challenge. Though I've been blogging a long time, I have only recently discovered reading challenges, and I've really enjoyed this first year or participating in a few. Cheers!

    1. You've certainly jumped into a hefty dose of challenges now...Wow! Yep...let's compare notes where we overlap. Cheers.

  9. Hello Joseph,
    It is such a pleasure to pass a blog as yours; my fellow classics and Tolkien fan: I am very delighted to read your old posts and looking forward to your future writings.

    1. Thanks Neveen. I look forward to comparing notes in the future.


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