I went two years without a reading challenge. Better do something about that.
I have no rules for myself this year except that I want to read the books that I promised myself I would read before I die. I know that I won’t get through the hundreds of books on my bookshelves and kindle before I can no longer read, but I really should read those that I’ve heard are wonderful.
Right now that list is short, but I expect it to grow:
- The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
- The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
- A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
- House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
- You’re Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation by Deborah Tannen
Otherwise I will read book group books (present and past) and things that interest me. I also need to finish the two books I started last year (Braiding Sweetgrass and The Hidden Life of Trees)
My Goodreads challenge this year is only 36 books.
- The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. This was a book group read and a book that many people I know have said it was one of their all-time favorites. So far I like it a lot, but December got in the way so I put it down to finish other books.
- Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Alex gave me this book for Christmas last year. It is one of her favorites. I am enjoying it very much, but it is taking me a very long time to read it.
- The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore. This is a bookgroup read. It’s fine, compelling even, but I don’t like how the author bends the timeline and adds untruths (as far as I can tell from Google searches).
- The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian. I watched part of the series, but found it too disturbing. Started watching again and when I learned that Chris Bohjalian wrote the novel, I decided to read it before watching the series.
- The Rose Code by Kate Quinn. This was a book group read. It was compelling enough to keep me up at night, but not perfect by any means. It is not something I will remember much about in five years.
- The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. I picked this up in Olympia several years ago and began reading it right away but put it down. I picked it up a few more times and always found something else to read. Finally, after reading The Overstory I realized I needed to read this. At least five and a half years after starting this book, I have finally finished it.
- Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. At one time I was a devoted Barbara Kingsolver fan but then stopped reading her books. When we read The Lacuna for book group I bought it but never read it. I’ve recently begun following her on social media and thought I might get back into her writing. I am so glad I did. Review Soon
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. I’m embarrassed to say that I had not heard of this book until I received a copy of Jesmyn Ward’s The Fire This Time and read the back cover. I wrote on Goodreads, “Wow. Why wasn’t this required reading in high school? I learned so much, including the origin of the Black Muslim movement. Still processing this…”
- We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates. This was a bookgroup choice and I was not at all excited to be reading a Joyce Carol Oates book. Mostly because I had her confused with Danielle Steele and refused to ever read a Danielle Steele. Review soon.
- Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. This was a bookgroup read, but I would have read it anyway. Not right now, perhaps, but I would have read it. It was hard to get into only because the time and places shift a lot. I ended up loving it though. Review soon.
- Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter. I watched part of the first episode of the Netflix series (loosely) based on this book and thought it would be good to read it first. It was fine. Kept my interest.
- With Love from London by Sarah Jio. This was offered at a hefty discount as an e-book for Kindle and the description was right up my alley (woman inherits a bookstore in England and moves there to become a bookseller). I read it in about a day, even though I am behind on two library books (one of which is for book group next week). It was exactly what I needed, though.