Picking a reading goal this year went like this:
Me: How many books did I read last year?
My Brain: 75.
Me: Huh. But I was super depressed and didn’t read a lot during some periods…
Brain: Right, so, you think you can do more?
Me: Oh, yeah! I can! But I was going to do this 52 books in 52 weeks list…and I liked the idea of having to read books with themes from the list…so, how could I meld…
Brain: Double it.
Me: Double it?
Brain: TOTALLY! You got this! DOUBLE THE LIST – 52 books times 2.
Me: Yeah. Okay, how about, I’ll mostly double it. How about 100 books in 2020. All nice even numbers.
Brain: Love it. [pause] But also…you know the most you’ve ever read in a year was 86 books and remember that you thought it killed you? That you felt like you were just reading all the time. You fell asleep in the bathtub reading that Mary Doria Russel book?
Me: I was teaching. And I had a one-year-old. And I was writing Virulent.
Brain: Kinda busier now, actually. And you know it.
Me: No, I can do it. I can. I already wrote 100 books in 2020 in ink on my new planner’s goal setting page, so it’s done.
Brain: Omg. Like you can’t just cross it out. [pause] No, I agree. You’d have to rip out the whole goal-setting page and start over. Keep it. I was just mentioning that it seems like a lot. Two books a week, basically. And all the writing goals? You are forgetting 12 hour editing days…you’re forgetting the depression. It’s January. January isn’t bad. Why do you do this to yourself?
Me: You really ramped up there. Look…YOU. You did this to me. You got me all invigorated! And screamed, “Double it!” Did you forget that?
Me: You wanted to give me an impossible goal to torture me?
Me: I hate you.
Brain: You love me…and I think you can do it. That’s why I said it. I really do! Be realistic but set that goal up there!
Me: Those seem contradictory…
Brain: No! Set reasonable goals but reach for the stars…you can be anything! But you suck at a lot of things, so you probably can’t be anything related to those things….unless you wanted to! Then you could do it! Learn to tile to prove something to yourself! Or know that you can do it…and pay an expert and use the time to write…but you’ll never know if you could do it unless you tried…
Me: Please, please shut up. I need to read.
January 1 – 13
I have read three books in the first thirteen days of January, which according to my Goodreads profile puts me maybe one book behind my 100 books goal. Because I am following the 52 books in 52 weeks theme with a pre-ordained list of book requirements, these first three books will head to the following categories: Books in a Series & Book With Multiple Authors.
*Side note: I have an epic number of books on my bookshelves that have quite literally gathered dust waiting for me to read them. I’ve made a deal with my brain that the only books I am allowed to buy are books picked for my respective book clubs. All other reads must be borrowed or already owned. My library hold list is all full…not buying books will be very hard. I can do hard things.
Books reviews (sans any currently unforeseen ranting) will be short and sweet. No star awards. My opinion about my opinions has changed a bit since the Around the World blog – as an author myself now, I’ve realized I don’t want a platform where I am critical of authors and their work in a public forum unless that book is causing harm. Everything else just comes down to preference.
Books in a Series: The Thunderhead and The Toll by Neal Shusterman
The Arc of a Sythe Trilogy is one of the best YA dystopian books out there right now, and I highly recommend visiting this post-mortal world where death and the arbiters of death are around every corner. In the future, disease and natural death is gone and humans are immortal. But to control the population, agents of death are trained and taught how to glean people off the planet when needed.
It has all the sci-fi themes I love to write about and, also, love to read about. The second book does end with a gnarly cliffhanger, but at least the full series is out, so binge away.
The Man From the Train by Bill James and Rebecca James
Jolabokaflod (Christmas book flood) is an Icelandic tradition that has gained some expanded popularity in recent years. In my own little family, we draw names and buy that person a book to open on Christmas Eve. Then after our sob-fest to It’s A Wonderful Life, we turn down the lights, gift our books, and read by the tree until we all fall asleep.
The last two years, my sons have drawn my name and purchased me True Crime fiction to fall asleep to on Christmas Eve. This year, Ike picked up this gem about ax murders of full families along train routes in the turn-of-the-twentieth-century. The facts in this book are overwhelming and I loved the crime details. The book, however, does not read like True Crime! The author writes a bit too much like he’s writing a persuasive term paper instead of spinning a narrative…and so the tone takes a bit of adjustment depending on your expectations.
Evvie Drake Starts Over
Juliet Takes A Breath