This year I set a reading goal for myself. In the past, although I love to read, I’d only enjoy three to five books per calendar year. It’s not that I don’t love to read, it’s just that I mostly do it at night when I am already tired. Thus, it takes me a while to get through the works that I choose. But, since I’ve been “retired” I noticed that if I really enjoy a book, I take time to read during the day. My other issue with getting books read for pleasure was that I was a graduate student from 2014 -2018 and while I was doing a great deal of reading, it was for school not pleasure.
This year, I set my pleasure reading goal at 20 books. Last week, I realized when I finished my last book, a poetry handbook by Mary Oliver, that I was only two books away from my goal. On the same day, I walked with a friend and asked her for book suggestions. She and her three girls (I have three boys) are voracious readers. We exchanged some recommendations and off to the library I went later that same day.
I came home with three books by Alan Bradley, all mysteries involving a precocious eleven year old named Flavia de Luce. The first I chose to read had nothing to do with the story (I think), but the fact that there was a monarch butterfly on the cover! I am a long time monarch conservationist, so the inclusion of the butterfly drew me to that story first. Have you read any of Bradley’s books? The story, The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag (2010), is charming and imaginative, in addition to being well written. While I borrowed three of Bradley’s books, this is the only one I will read before the end of the year. I will probably return for more in the future, however!
I also borrowed a book by Mary Doria Russell, She is one of my favorite historical fiction writers. If you have never read any of her works, I would highly recommend you do. My favorite is A Thread of Grace, based during WWII and the complexities of Italians helping the Jewish people during the war. Her character development is outstanding – really second to none, in my opinion. Another novel she wrote that I enjoyed was Dreamers of the Day, which has Sir Laurence of Arabia and Winston Churchill as central characters. I’ve also read The Sparrow, which is another type of book – I’d say more science fiction – and somewhat to very disturbing depending on your belief system. I would not recommend that book unless you are ready to read some unsettling scenes. In any case, I borrowed The Women of Copper Country which was published in 2019. As a Russell fan, I am anxious to add this book to my list of accomplished reading for this year.
I am a slow but invested reader. I read every word and usually attach myself to a character to whom I can relate, comprehending the story to its fullest extent. Since I am a goal oriented person and having set myself a reading target, I worked towards it all year. I’ll do it again.
As far as the other books I’ve read, that will be the topic of a future post! So, stay tuned! There is a wide variety!
What great books have you read lately?