Dec 14, 2016


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I read 25 books this year.

It was an (almost) even split of fiction and nonfiction - 13 fiction and 12 nonfiction.   I originally wrote that I usually have a much higher fiction to nonfiction ratio, but then I was looking back at a book related post from a few years ago and it seems that the 50/50 split is actually pretty typical for my recent years.

It was definitely a very sporadic year of reading .  I went through phases of finishing three or four books in just a week or two as well as months where I very slowly read one book or didn't even have one going at all.

I think brooke-circa-2008 would be pretty disappointed in this version of me.  At that point, I was reading 80-90 books a year.   This may not have been a great year, but 25 feels respectable considering how rarely I feel like I have time to do my own thing.  

My three favorites from the year:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

Runners up:

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

I've learned that I really dislike writing about books - my opinions on them, plot summaries, general themes - really anything.  I'm not sure what this says about me or about what I'm actually taking from the books, but it is what it is.  So, my list of favorites above is all you're going to get from me.
- - - - -

I decided to set a 2017 book reading goal for myself, which is something I haven't done for a few years.  Doing so is in alignment with my (not yet revealed) One Little Word choice for next year and also just feels good.  It is something that I can do for myself in a time of life when it feels like there aren't many of those opportunities.  Also, I do well with goals.  In many facets of my life, they are my driving force.

My magic book number for 2017 is 40.  It's a number that, again, just feels good.  Not too big, not too small.

As an addendum to the goal, I would love to read the majority of these books in book form.  Not via the Kindle app on my phone.  I don't hate reading on my phone, but it is not my preferred way to read.  It often happens, though, because it is the easiest way to get books as no trip to the library is required.  Also, I think it's important for the kids to know about my love for reading and when they just see me looking at my phone they have no way to know how I'm spending my time.

I would totally want to rebel if I had a set-in-stone list of 40 books to read.  But, I have been intrigued with the idea of having a list of books to work from - books that I can choose or not choose, but to at least investigate further and to pick from when nothing new is calling my attention.

To be clear, I pretty much always have a "books to read" list going, but it is usually only five or ten books long and it is revised often.

So, I made a list for my new goal that is a bit different.  It's a "full" list of forty books that I intend to work from, through the year.  Not in order and not with any sort of strictness, but I think it's a strong list and I don't think it would be unreasonable to guess that the majority of my 2017 reading will be pulled from this list.  I am confident this list (both the having of it and the invested time of making it) will help me to complete this goal.

Here she goes:

1 - The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah
2 - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
3 - Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner
4 - Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
5 - The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
6 - Fran Lebowitz Reader by Fran Lebowitz
7 - Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
8 - The Underground Railroad by Colsen Whitehead
9 - Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead
10 - The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer
11 - The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
12 - The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
13 - Children of Eden by Joey Graceffa
14 - The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson
15 - Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
16 - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
17 - Nurture by Lisa Bevere
18 - Deeper by Debbie Alsdorf
19 - French Milk by Lucy Knisley
20 - Displacement by Lucy Knisley
21 - Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider
22 - What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
23 - Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider
24 - Irena's Children by Tilar J. Mazzeo
25 - Quiet by Susan Cain
26 - How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen
27 - Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
28 - Moonglow by Michael Chabon
29 - Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens
30 - The MounStorytain  by Lori Lansens
31 - The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
32 - Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda Shilpi Somaya Gowda
33 - Self Help by Lorrie Moore
34 - Like Life by Lorrie Moore
35 - Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer
36 - Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall
37 - The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank
38 - Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
39 - Faithful by Alice Hoffman
40 - Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott

A handful of these will be rereads.  One is a book that I started reading - chapter by chapter with breaks in between - this year.  I intend to finally finish it in 2017.

The only glaring "flaw" I see in the list is that it is heavily fiction based.  I prefer to find nonfiction books more organically than looking through lists of best sellers or recommended reading, so the list is a bit short on nonfiction books.

Otherwise, I am excited to get started reading with renewed energy and enthusiasm.  ...but first, I need to call the library and pay my fine for a book that Eli ripped up, so I can start checking out books again.  

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