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)