Reading in 2014

This morning I finished a book. That’s not new news, but when I went to mark it as read on Goodreads I saw that I have read 60 books so far this year. That’s as much as I read in all of 2013, and we’re not even halfway done with the year yet.

I set a goal at the beginning of the year to read 100 books in 2014. At the rate I’m going, I’ll be done around October. One one hand, it’s pretty cool. I’m lucky that I can read at work and listen to audiobooks while running errands and commuting. A lot of people can’t do that. So I’m definitely not complaining.

However, I don’t think I’ll set such a high goal for myself in 2015. No way. It’s not that it takes away from my social life, which is pretty lame to begin with, but it’s been taking away from my writing. I’ve been so focused on the goal, so into reading that I neglected my writing. I know, it’s a bummer. Also, kind of a stupid situation, really. “I have no time to write because I’m reading too much.” Wow, just typing that makes me hate myself a little more.

I’m all for reading. It’s the best way writers learns how to write and improve their craft. But when that, or anything else, takes away from writing, I know it’s time to take a step back. I just get in a groove and can’t stop!

So lesson learned: set a mild reading goal. If you exceed it, great, and if you don’t, well, it’s not the end of the world.

On a happier note, I read some very, very good books. Nothing that would make it onto the sacred ‘Favorites’ shelf, but definitely some great reads. Below are the books I gave five stars to and why.

White Oleander by Janet Fitch 

image courtesy of Goodreads

Why I gave it five stars: I loved the writing and the truly amazing journey Astrid went on, even if she made some dumb decisions. I loved the conflict in the book, too. The mother as the antagonist? I haven’t read much of that. I also like the very symbolic ending.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry

image courtesy of Goodreads

Why I gave it five stars: It had the whimsy and mysticism of books I liked when I was younger, and the deep metaphor and allegory of stories I grew to appreciate when I was older. It was a lovely take on spirituality and growing up.

St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised By Wolves by Karen Russell

image courtesy of Goodreads

Why I gave it five stars: You either hate or love Karen Russell and I fall on the love side because everything is just so wonderfully bizarre and it opens up all new avenues of thinking. Plus, she’s such a fantastic writer and a whiz at the short story.

A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout

Why I gave it five stars: I found Lindhout, though a flawed protagonist, to tell a very interesting story. It amazes me that it’s true and she survived to tell the tale.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell 

image courtesy of Goodreads

Why I gave it five stars: This book was just a delight; funny, sweet, and well-crafted. I loved Cath and I loved that she clearly has anxiety, but still manages to have interpersonal relationships with people. I also loved the story line about her writing.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Why I gave it five stars: I found the plot, even though I already knew it, enthralling, and the themes of fate and free will came across in such an enjoyable way. I also loved the bits with the witches and the gruesomeness that comes from wanting power.

Well, that’s all from me! Until Thursday, I’m out.

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