For the love of books

At the beginning of 2017 I noticed that many of my Good Reads friends were setting reading goals.  Even though I’ve been a lifelong reader I had never tracked my reading before but I set a goal to read 24 books for the year.  Two a month sounded reasonable for me.  Well, I hit 24 books by June and wound up reading 63 books in 2017.  I also used a spreadsheet to track my reading so that I could determine what percentage of books I checked out from the library (63%), what percent I read on my e-reader (72%- actually fewer than I expected, I read A LOT on my Kindle) and how  many books I read by diverse authors (19, but I could certainly do better in 2018).


(photo:: horse lovers )

When looking at my 2018 goals I did not want to pick a certain number of books to read because I wanted to focus on quality over quantity and stretching my reading life.  So as part of my 18 for 2018 I decided to read 12 classic American novels.



Last month I read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and this month I will be reading Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.  This book has been recommended to me by countless people (including my mom) and is the story of two marriages so I feel it is appropriate for Valentine’s Day.  In addition it is set in Wisconsin and Vermont, very wintery destinations to read about.

Another reading goal of mine is to try theme months for my reading.  I have always loved the idea of reading on a theme for a month but have never done it because I am easily distracted by shiny new books that come into the library.  But this month I am going to try to read all books on the theme of LOVE.


My Book of the Month Club pick is An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (also Oprah’s book club pick as of last night) about a young couple separated when the husband is incarcerated for five years for a crime he did not commit.  I also want to read The Wedding Date, a screwball romantic comedy about a long distance relationship (I hear this one is pretty steamy if you’re into that). If I’m in the mood for science fiction I will read Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, a love story set in a not-so-distant New York. The Light we Lost by Jill Santopolo is Reese Witherspoon’s latest bookclub book about first love, lost love, and coming back together. Finally in nonfiction I have All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister for a little insight into self-love or The Rough Patch: Marriage and the Art of Living Together by Daphne DeMarneffe for some advice on how long term love can survive common pitfalls.

So that is the lineup for the month. Let’s see how many I get through but I’m excited to try this idea of immersing myself in one idea for the month.

So, if you want to get into a Valentine’s state-of-mind, here are some suggestions of love stories that I’ve loved in the past.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfield is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice in modern day Cincinatti.  In this retelling Mr. Bingley is a charming but slightly air-headed ER doctor who is back in town after appearing on a TV-dating show called Eligible. One thing remains the same- how ever will Mrs. Bennet ever get her daughters married off.  This book was hilarious and charming when I read it a few years ago and would highly recommend to any Bachelor fans out there.

How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer is an odd little novel that examines what it means for love to be predestined. Irene is an ambitious scientist who has always loved the stars more than any man.  But when she meets George their attraction seems written in the stars.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgensten, it is one of my all-time favorites books and deals with loving the wrong person and the question of soulmates and destiny as two magicians battle for superiority at The Night Circus. I would describe this book in one word as luminous and may in fact read it again this month.


What are your reading goals for 2018? Reply in the comments and you will be entered in Tuesday Text’s first reading giveaway!  Prizes will include a bookweight to keep your book open to the right page without causes nasty creases in the pages with dog ears (guilty party here), a sheep or rabbit bookmark lovingly handmade by Kathy B, and surely a skein of yummy yarn too. We will pick a random winner tomorrow!

On my shelf:

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister

Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives by Thomas French (this is not exactly on the love theme but I haven’t finished it yet!  If we want to stretch we can call this about loving animals)


21 thoughts on “For the love of books”

  1. My only real reading goal is to read from A BOOK every evening before I go to sleep. I’ve been pretty good about it ………….I didn’t last night. I fell asleep around 9.


  2. My goal this year is…….read every night before sleeping. I always loved to read as a child but somehow got out of the habit in my adult years. I now am reading fictional books with knitting themes to satisfy both of my interests. I have found some great “series” books in this genre and am having fun with them.


  3. I’ve been looking for a good romance for February but I hate romance as a rule. You’ve given me some good suggestions….now off to Audible.


  4. My reading goal would be…to read a few pages at night before I nod off 😁
    I used to read much more – but since I fell into the ‘crochet trap’, it’s considerably less.
    So maybe that’s another goal …get better about dividing my time equally between crochet and books 😍


  5. Setting goals doesn’t work for me. It feels like I’m being pressured into reading when I might not be in the mood. I find I do better when I just let the natural reading rhythms roll.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not one to set goals either – never works for me. I do read quite a bit – not as much as I used to, but daily and almost always when I crawl into bed for 20 or 30 minutes. I sleep better if I do that. Currently reading “The Woman Who Smashed Codes” and am really enjoying it. Stegner was an amazing writer. “Crossing to Safety” is one of my all time favorite books. I hope you enjoy it. All the Single ladies…sounds interesting – please let us know how it is.


  7. Right now on my Kindle carousel: Moral Defense by Marcia Clark, Midnight Exposure by Melinda Leigh, Thomas Jefferson And The Tripoli Pirates by Brian Kilmeade, Fifth Night by Kati Daley, and Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson, .

    Thanks for your great list! There are a few there I want to look up. Sorry for the recent lurking!! Tax season seems to be starting early for us.


    1. I also tracked how much “Backlist” I read last year (books I own but haven’t read) and I think I read 3. Oops. Kindle deals are just too good sometimes!


  8. I don’t set reading goals either with the exception of vacation beach reads! Thanks to you , Al, I read about 6 books in the Outer banks with you a few years ago. Just finished “SWEET REPRIEVE” . It is a friend’s family story about how her father got a liver transplant over 20 years ago. Frank Maier and his Wife Ginny co wrote the story. Frank was a writer by profession for A Chicago paper and Newsweek;his ease with words and ability to tell his story is evident from the first page. Im glad I read it.


  9. Your love of reading is admirable! I am a bit like Dee, but even less ambitious, I just want to read more. I think time is just my biggest issue, but I’m finding a tidbit here and there. I’ll take it! I like the concept of theme reading, but I think I just need to find some solid fiction that I enjoy that isn’t too evocative of college world lit or something, class wars and unrequited love.

    I love the Jane Austen, especially Pride & Prejudice and I do love the Night Circus, I can’t find my copy of it. I thought my son might enjoy it… something else to look for this weekend.


  10. I used to read at least 60-70 books a year until I became a knitting/crochet addict. Now it’s much, much less. I had a goal to read every evening this year but I’ve already fallen off of that wagon! I am keeping up with reading the Bible through twice this year. So far I’m on track with that.


  11. I get my books on my iPad and read them there.. one cool thing is all my titles are in one place so I can keep track of them. I don’t have goals, just reading some is a good thing. I went years without reading a book. Now I always have one on the go. ((hugs)), Teresa 🙂


  12. I don’t really set reading goals either but do track the titles I’ve read each year. I printed off a ‘Book Bingo’ page early last spring, and although I didn’t really play along, it gave me some great suggestions for different book categories that were lots different from my typical choices. My book club usually comes up with some different (for me) titles as well. I love being able to check out library books on my Kindle; it’s especially great for travelling. Have a great day!


  13. I, too, loved The Night Circus (enough so that I wrote a thank you note to the author moments after finishing it) and have been thinking about listening to it as a reread sometime this year. I just read a review of The Wedding Date which raved about it, so I might check that one out, too. I’m first in the holds line for Meet Cute, a collection of YA romance stories, so I’m hopeful it will come in sometime this week.


  14. I’d like to reread The Night Circus; it would certainly make an interesting movie. There are many fun challenges among book bloggers to encourage the reading of more classics or to read different genres. I usually have to read a different genre after finishing a book but I’m always drawn back to fantasy.


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