Eleven in 2017

Although I read more than eleven books this year, many of them were “oldies but goodies” – where I hung out with book friends I already know, rather than meeting anyone new. I didn’t set a goal for myself in 2017, and I think it shows.

  1. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston
  2. What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell
  3. A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Ghokshi
  4. The Call of Earth by Orson Scott Card
  5. The Memory of Earth by Orson Scott Card
  6. The Ships of Earth by Orson Scott Card
  7. Homecoming: Earth by Orson Scott Card
  8. Fractured by Catherine McKenzie
  9. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  10. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  11. Managers As Mentors: Building Partnerships for Learning

I have just one book checked out from the library, none on hold, and a ridiculous 572 that I’ve listed as something I’ll want to read later.  Since I increased my “later” list by a cool 150 titles, but only managed to read eleven new books this year… It must be time to challenge myself to get more reading done in 2018.

More Reading 2016

With 2017 breathing down my neck, I don’t think I’ll finish any other new books in 2016.  You’ll notice that I read a lot fewer per month over the last few months than I did in the first few months.  I did keep up with my reading, but I had some of those tough times where you just want to hang out with the book friends you already know.  Y’all have times like that, right?  It’s not just me?

ANYWAY… Here’s what I read recently:

  1. The Haters by Jesse Andrews – I was entertained by this book, and even more entertained by imagining my friend, Chris Blount, working as hard as these characters to actively hate all around them.
  2. The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney – entwined stories bring characters together in a web of unpleasantness.  There wasn’t anyone in this book that’s likely to become a friend, but it was fascinating peering into their lives.
  3. At Hawthorne Time by Melissa Harrison – I felt wistfully that most of these characters were within reach of a better life, but that none of them seemed to have the gumption to change it.  Some of the description and imagery was really nice – worth the read, but you might feel frustrated at the choices the characters are making.
  1. The Magicians by Lev Grossman – I loved the beginning of this book.  If the kids had stayed in school forever, I think I would have been extremely happy.  I basically felt dissociated from them once they were out in the world… and made their way to other worlds.  I see that you can watch the Syfy show on Netflix… we’ll see if that idea catches hold for me or not.
  2. The Dive from Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer – I loved this book.  A section of the novel involves the main character frequenting my favorite haunts in Manhattan.  I was transported back to my time there and I luxuriated in those scenes.  I didn’t love the end… but I guess the author gets to make her own choices for her characters, right?
  3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – I haven’t seen the movie, but I did know (just from being alive in 2016 with an internet connection) that it involves a love story between teenage cancer patients.  So I was expecting some tears.  I wasn’t expecting how the numerous losses of 2016 would pour out of my eyes in huge, racking sobs.  But I probably should have known that would happen.  I liked this book, and have passed it to another reader, so she can cry big, heavy tears of her own.

And an update on my reading list?

Of course, since you asked… I have just 4 books checked out from the library, 29 on hold, and a ridiculous 422 that I’ve listed as something I’ll want to read later.  Seems like I should be able to at least manage to read 23 new-to-me books in 2017, right?

I’m very glad that I challenged myself to get more NEW reading accomplished this year.  I look forward to meeting new book friends and travelling different places in 2017!

Sixteen Books in 2016

Earlier this year, I happened upon a Buzzfeed article – The 27 Most Exciting Books Coming In 2016 – and thought, “huh… I guess I could take these recommendations and see where they lead me.”  And then I came across 20 Incredible Books From The Past Year That You Need To Read Right Now and thought, “yeah – I probably do need to read these RIGHT NOW.”  Then there were 16 YA Books You’ll Want To Read This Spring.  And 15 Books To Read If You Love A Shocking Plot Twist, 9 Books You Should Read Now That The Oscars Are Over, and 15 Book Series To Read If You Enjoyed “The Hunger Games”

Before I knew what was happening, I had books on hold, books stacked by the bed, and books I couldn’t possibly finish before they were due back at the library.  I paused for a moment, took stock of my situation, and realized that I’ve already read sixteen new (to me) books in 2016.  Although I didn’t make that a goal for myself, it seems like the sort of resolution I might have made, if I’d been trying.  Here’s what I’ve managed to read so far this year:

  1. The Lost Time Accidents by John Wray – I had a hard time staying involved in this book. I think my mind wasn’t ready to follow the plot spirals through time.
  2. Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson – ballet in New York City in the 70s – with an inappropriate relationship thrown in for good measure.
  3. Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa – I think my only problem with this book was wrapping my head around the concept that the WTO riots were the setting for a historical fiction novel.  That was rough to swallow, but if you can get past your own ego on that one, this is well worth the read.
  4. The Lightkeepers by Abby Geni – as the second book in my book-club-of-one with some disturbing interpersonal situations, I started wondering what I’d gotten myself into.  Well-written, but I would recommend spacing the heavy reading out a little more than I did.
  1. Ruby: A Novel by Cynthia Bond – this book is so, so, so well done.  Gorgeous imagery, wonderful characterization, and it fully draws you into the world of the novel.  It also is so disturbing that I have trouble recommending it to others.  It’s a hard read because of the horrible truths it portrays and the deep damage it does to characters you care about.  It’s still on my mind, after reading it months ago.  I see that there is a second book in the Ruby trilogy, and I am rejoicing that I’ll get to read more of Bond’s writing.  And frightened of what else might happen to these book friends of mine.  If you’re up for dealing with traumatic plot points set in the South over several decades, I encourage you to check this book out.
  2. The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter – this was the first book from the YA list, and I probably should have known from the title that it was going to have some dark content.  Again – I’d encourage you to read it, but take this as your trigger-warning.
  3. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh – in spite of the murder, magical curses, and political posturing in this book, this one turned out to be the first light fare I’d set myself up for.  Finally – a book I could relax with and just enjoy.
  4. The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah – back to tough subject-matter including a murder trial, death row, and race-relations in Zimbabwe.  Highly recommended.
  1. Whispers Through a Megaphone by Rachel Elliott – I loved this book.  It took me away from some of the darkness on my list – perhaps because it is set in our modern world of social media.  Although, I should admit that the plot centers around emotional damage done to the main character.
  2. Divergent by Veronica Roth – this is the first I read from the Hunger Games list, and it fit my expectations exactly.  It’s the sort of fast-paced read that makes it easy to stay up all night, with a strong female lead that you cheer for nearly right away.
  3. The Anatomist’s Dream by Clio Gray – this was another one that was difficult for me to stick with.  I loved the descriptions throughout, but felt slightly removed from the plot.  I didn’t feel that the main character’s thread kept me engaged in his transformation, but I could easily blame that on my attention span rather than the writing.
  4. The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh – this is the sequel to The Wrath and the Dawn, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first.
  1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – I enjoyed reading this one.  I found myself lost in plot points on occasion, but the author quickly caught me back up.  With the subject matter at hand, I think this was probably intentional.
  2. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – this one felt like a light read until about midway through the book.  Then it suddenly became heavier and stayed that way throughout.  Good read, but I probably wasn’t prepared for it to be so intense.
  3. Still Alice by Lisa Genova – the frightening world of alzheimer’s, from the sufferer’s point of view.  Beautiful, difficult, and intense.
  4. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – as my third book in a row about death, dying, and incurable disease… this was a great read, but was nearly as emotionally difficult for me as the run of heavy books toward the beginning of the year.

At this point, I have 6 books checked out from the library, 25 on hold, and 241 that I’ve pegged as something I’ll want to read later.  Doesn’t seem too ambitious, right?  All that is before I dive into 21 Books By POC Writers That You Should Definitely Read At Some Point33 Celebrity Books That Are Actually Really Good, and 21 Books Every Woman Should Read In Her Lifetime

Wish me luck!