As 2015 started, I set a goal on Goodreads to read 40 books during the year. Somehow, I managed to complete 49 books by the time the year ended. It was interesting to look at the stats compiled in that reading. For 2016, I have set a goal of 44 books – when I look at several of the titles on my bookshelf that I want to complete this year, I know that they will take some time to devour.
A few quick Christmas stories:
The Christmas Pearl by Dorthea Benton Frank is the tale of a Southern family that has drifted into chaos and the magic that ensues when a favorite, departed cook appears at the front door on Christmas Eve and mixes up some mystical menu items en route to bringing the family back together.
The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado is the tale of an English village and the candlemaker’s family that is visited throughout the generations by an angel on Christmas Eve who blesses “one” candle that will answer the prayers of the recipient.
If He Had Not Come by David Nicholson is a thought provoking illustrated children’s story from the 1930s about what the world would be like if Jesus had not come on Christmas morning.
As I played Santa on Christmas Eve and was stacking presents under the tree, Mom brought out 1 bag and said “these are all the books, put them at the bottom of all the gifts” because she knew as they were unwrapped we would all begin to dive into them. Among the books under the tree, some great reads so far:
Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science – and the World by Rachel Swaby: The first read from under the tree and one that I have been sharing with so many friends. In 3-5 page vignettes, 52 women from so many facets of science, medicine, math and engineering are profiled. Those profiled are beyond the “standard” list – some of these women I was familiar with and others were new to me. I have been recommending it to friends with daughters as a way to expose their girls to women in STEM. Within the pages of this book are endless research subjects for girls and boys of all ages.
Bad Luck, Hot Rocks: Conscience Letters and Photographs from the Petrified Forest by Ryan Thompson: I saw a write-up of this book around Thanksgiving and knew it would be perfect for Rebecca…she has a history of testing the limits of “do not touch” when in museums and around antiquities and we had visited the Petrified Forest in 1985 on our family move from California to Kansas…so this was under the tree for her but I read it while in the ‘Ville, too. A fun and quick read from the archives of letters at the Petrified Forest National Park – people who illegally took pieces of the forest away have returned them with tales of bad luck and misfortune while they possessed the rocks.
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell: This is the first book I’ve read by this author but I will definitely read more of her American history narratives. When I read about this book releasing last year, I knew it was one that I needed to check out. Growing up in one of the myriad “Fayetteville” towns across the country (where our high school marching band hosted the LaFayette Classic competition) and now living in the Philadelphia area (just down the road from Valley Forge and where Washington crossed the Delaware) it was a great read to learn more about the Marquis LaFayette whose name is so ingrained in our history and lexicon.
Every Crooked Path (The Patrick Bowers Files #8) by Steven James: A just published prequel to a favorite series. It provides more detail to the back story of Patrick Bowers and also delves into the world of child exploitation. It was a good read – a bit intense – but I was also impressed with how the author didn’t overwhelm with details of the “underworld” that was at the crux of the story.
Rounding out this month’s round-up is a cute fiction read that was my airplane reading on the way home to the ‘Ville for Christmas: Vintage by Susan Gloss. I picked this up through a Kindle deal and chuckled at the praise that compared it to The Friday Night Knitting Club since I had ties to that book launch (and others from Kate Jacobs). Centered around a vintage clothing shop in the Madison, WI, the story of the shop owner who is working hard to give her new life “a go” after escaping an abusive marriage – entwined with a cast of characters including with a recently orphaned high-school senior who finds herself alone & pregnant, a Indian women trying to figure out “where to go from here” as her marriage dissolves and her daughter has married, a doyenne of town and many more. Each chapter starts with the description of a vintage item in the shoppe and the item is woven into the “action” within that chapter.
As January keeps marching forward, I’ve got several Christmas books in rotation, including When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II and 7 Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness. So far this year I am making a more concerted effort to end each day with some reading before turning out the light.
What are you reading these days?
What reading goals do you have for 2016?