Thursday, March 15, 2012

My reading list: January

This year I set a goal to read 100 books. I need to average between 8 and 9 books a month to reach this, which means I am constantly reading something.

I've been able to keep up by carrying a book with me EVERYWHERE. The bathroom, the kitchen, every time I leave the house. While the kids ride bikes, I sit on the driveway in a lawn chair reading. (As pictured above.) I read during quiet time, I read while I'm eating. I haven't yet figured out how to read in the shower. When we went to Disneyland a couple weeks ago, I read while standing in line and lounging at the pool. I read in the car, but only when Andrew's driving.

It's a goal I have thoroughly enjoyed striving for, which is more than I can say for my goal to lose 10 more pounds. In case anyone is interested, here is my list for January - I'll post February's soon.

 Cloak by James Gough. This book is written by the son of a friend in stake choir. It's his first novel, and she invited me to her book club where the author would make an appearance and answer questions and whatnot. I was thrilled to meet an author and her excitement about her son's book was contagious. I bought it on my Kindle and it was a fun, quick read. It's a story about a boy named Will Tuttle who lives in a bubble and comes to discover this whole other world of half animals, half humans. It's a YA novel, and the plot was imaginative and fun. The author himself is a very cool guy, and I'd recommend this to anyone who wants a fun book that feels like you're watching a movie as you read!
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. I read this book all the way through in one sitting while I was bedroom bound the day before a colonoscopy. (You may read between the lines to understand that one.) It's a memoir, and therefore the true story of the author's life. It was sad, but also illuminating. It made me think differently about homeless people. It had a strange hopefulness at the end that made it more refreshing than depressing.
 Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I bought this book in college (thanks to Trevor) and it has been sitting on my shelf unread since then. Over 7 years. I finally buckled down (my 100 books has to include 30 classics) and read it, and I was glad I did. It doesn't need much of a review from someone like me, but I'll say it was worth reading and I wish I'd read it 7 years ago. Although I did have a fresh appreciation for it after a life beyond college.
Digging to America by Anne Tyler. Oh, Anne Tyler. She is my absolute, number 1, all-time favorite author. She is my answer to that famous get-to-know-you-question, "If you could have lunch with one person, living or dead, who would it be?" I adore this woman and her writing. Every one of her books is my favorite. I can't say enough about her. Someday, I hope to be able to write a book that approaches her awesomeness. If and when I write a novel, it will be because of Anne Tyler. This particular one (I'll be reading one of hers every month - it's like candy that I'm trying to space out to savor more) is the story of two families who each adopted baby girls from China. One family is American, the other is Iranian. It's about what it means to be American and it's a fascinating perspective of a "foreigner" into American culture. Like all her books, this one is set in Baltimore. READ THIS BOOK. It's awesome.
 Private Life by Jane Smiley. Last year I went to the Vegas Valley Book Festival and dragged my children to a reading by Jane Smiley. She's a household name for us, and occasionally Eva will say, "Remember Jane Smiley?" I bought this book there but didn't get the chance to have it signed since my ticking-time-bomb-children ran out of steam before the end of the talk. This is her newest novel I believe, and the characters were vaguely based on Jane Smiley's grandparents. It was an insightful look at marriage through the eyes of the wife, Margaret. I also have A Thousand Acres on my list, which was a Pulitzer Prize winner by Jane Smiley.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This is a non-fiction book about Henrietta Lacks, whose HeLa cells have given rise to countless scientific discoveries. I read this one for my own book club. It was an interesting story, although parts of it were a little too scientific for me. It's manageable, though, for non-scientific types like me, and definitely worth reading.
Little Children by Tom Perrotta. This cover is slightly pornographic, so don't look too close. Sorry, it's the only copy Amazon had. It's not the one my library carried ,which was an innocent green with a flower or something. :) This book was recommended to me by my creative writing professor at UNLV - he said Tom Perrotta had a great way of writing about children, which was relevant to me in my pursuits. The writing was good and the story was interesting, but I wouldn't recommend it to many people just because of the subject matter. Basically, it's about adultery. I gleaned from it what I needed, so there you go. :)

I only made it to seven in January, so I had some to make up for. But I didn't set my goal until halfway through the month, so I wasn't in as big of a rush.

Also, I should make it clear that I'm not trying to do justice to these books through my poor reviews - just give a basic list of what I read with a few tidbits. I hope to inspire someone to read a little more with my efforts at putting all this info on the WWW, and that's about it.

You think you don't have time to read until you start looking at all the dead moments throughout the day. You'd be surprised how much you can read by cutting out some TV time and carrying a book with you.

P.S. This makes it sound like I neglect my children something fierce. I don't, at least not entirely. We still do preschool every day, they eat healthy meals, the house remains somewhat clean, and they seem to still be happy, well-adjusted human beings. Of course, I couldn't do this without the total and complete support of my awesome husband, who makes it possible for me to sit and read more than my fair share.


Cam said...

So glad you're posting what you read... I've been looking for recommendations!

Elise said...

Wow! 100 books is an impressive goal! My goal last year was 50 and I didn't quite reach that even!

You're taking classes at UNLV? That is so great!

Chels said...

Sweet I can use you as help when I have to choose a book for book club ;)

Kimberly said...

Are you kidding me?? My goal last year was 3 books. You definitely got the reader genes in the family. You've inspired me to read more if no one else.