Another Turn of the Page: A New Year

“She remembered one of her boyfriends asking, offhandedly,
how many books she read in a year. “A few hundred,” she said.
“How do you have the time?” he asked, gobsmacked.
She narrowed her eyes and considered the array of potential answers in front of her. Because I don’t spend hours flipping through cable complaining there’s nothing on? Because my entire Sunday is not eaten up with pre-game, in-game, and post-game talking heads? —- Because when I am waiting in line, at the gym, on the train,
eating lunch, I am not complaining about the wait/staring into space/admiring
myself in reflective surfaces? I am reading!
“I don’t know,” she said, shrugging.”
Eleanor Brown, The Weird Sisters

I know, that’s a long quote. (And don’t you just love the word, gobsmacked?) But for the beginning of the year when we all start making resolutions for losing weight, getting organized or taking a class on candlewicking –  reading more, is usually the only one that I can keep. I belong to Goodreads, a site where you can keep track of the books you have read. Every year they offer a “Reading Challenge”, where you set your own personal goal for the year. In 2016, I said I would read 50 books, I read 51. In 2017 I challenged myself with 60 books, I read 66. Surprised myself. This year I got conservative again. We have a lot of travel planned and I just wasn’t sure, so for 2018 I have set 55 as my goal. I think I can change that as the year rolls on, so we shall see. But the reason some people can read 50, 60, 70..100 books in a year is just what the gal in the quote says, she reads everywhere. I always take a book with me to doctor’s appts. hair appts, waiting for the oven to heat up, waiting for the clothes to wash, long rides on planes, trains, cars. I have even read while also watching TV. Not easy, and the book has to be light fiction and the TV show has to be light as well. But it can be done. So set a goal and start reading, it’s only the end of January, you’ve got 11 more months. ( Btw, I am signed up for a candlewicking class).

Here are the books my group read in January:1. Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (2017) 307p. When Michael Wright, a black lawyer from Chicago, stops in the small East Texas town of Lark, he never makes it back home. His body is pulled out of the nearby bayou, and his fancy car has disappeared. A short time later, the body of Missy Dale, a local white woman is also found dead. The possibility does exist, considering how small this town is, that the two deaths are connected.
Darren Matthews, a black Texas Ranger, currently on suspension because of a different case up in Houston, is asked by the FBI to casually check out the incidents and see if they are related. A compelling mystery.

2. Two Kinds of Truth (Harry Bosch #20) by Michael Connelly (2017) 417p. Harry Bosch is back as a volunteer working cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department and is called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been murdered.

3. 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help that Actually Works – A True Story by Dan Harris (2014) 256p. After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris decides to make some changes and investigates research that suggests meditation can help the body and mind recover. More a memoir than a discussion of meditation.

4. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld (2008) 555p. A “biographical fiction” tale of the life of Laura Bush. This cannot really be considered historical fiction since names and places have been changed. (Note: The author Curtis Sittenfeld is a woman)

5. The Runner by Christopher Reich (2000) 512p. Set in Germany immediately after the end of WWII, this thriller concerns an ex-Olympic sprinter, who is awaiting a war crimes investigation. He finds himself sprung from the POW camp where he is incarcerated, to join a plot to assassinate both Churchill and Truman on Russian territory.

6. Unbelievable: My Front-row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur (2017) 291p. Tur lived out of a suitcase for a year and a half, following Trump around the country.  She visited forty states with the candidate, made more than 3,800 live television reports. This is her account of how America sent a former reality show host to the White House. It’s also the story of what it was like for Tur to be there as it happened, inside a no-rules world where reporters were spat on, demeaned, and discredited.

7. Personal History by Katherine Graham (1997) 642p. This is the autobiography of Katharine Graham, whose family owned the Washington Post. She was the publisher and President of the Washington Post Companies from the 60’s through the 80’s. A very timely book considering the recent release of the movie, The Post, which covers the newspaper’s involvement in publishing the Pentagon Papers.

8. The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash (2017) 384p. This novel is based on the true life of Ella Mae Wiggins, a poverty-stricken mill worker at the Loray Mill in North Carolina, 1929. She helped to try to form a union, especially an integrated union, in a time when people didn’t accept blacks.

9. There Your Heart Lies by Mary Gordon (2017) 320p. This is a novel about an American woman’s experiences during the Spanish Civil War, the lessons she learned, and how her story will shape her granddaughter’s path.



4 thoughts on “Another Turn of the Page: A New Year

  1. I love your quotes AND your book recommendations. I blame college for knocking the joy of reading right out of me…and I was an English major. In September I joined my neighborhood book club and managed FOUR books for 2017, unless you count travel guides (my preferred reading material these days). Woo Hoo. Anyway, my goal for 2018 is six … don’t want to burn out!

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