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text 2018-01-04 19:43
My 2018 Reading Plan
The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories - Anthony Marra
Not Without Laughter - Langston Hughes,Maya Angelou
The Bone People - Keri Hulme
Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight - Margaret Lazarus Dean
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration - Isabel Wilkerson
This Side of Brightness - Colum McCann
The Grass is Singing - Doris Lessing
Flying Close to the Sun: My Life and Times as a Weatherman - Cathy Wilkerson
The Sky Unwashed - Irene Zabytko
Hiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath - Paul Ham

 

Every year, I like to set a few reading goals for myself: number of books, specific titles, and so forth. Because my whims change with the days and new books always catch my attention, I have yet to have one year where I complete my intended goals. So, I've decided that this year I'm going to keep it simple. I intend to read less, to slow down and really focus on and enjoy what I'm reading.

 

...But I love lists too much. And I cannot resist the urge to make a list of books I “will” complete this year. It's a practice I began in 2012—to identify ten books that will be read by the end of the year. Guess what? I've never read all ten in a year. I still have four holdouts from 2017, plus two others from farther back. So my only concrete goal this year is to complete my 2018 list in its entirety and to read the books from prior years. Other than that, my only goal is to enjoy what I'm reading. I'll set a reading challenge of so many books like I always do, but I'll keep it low so I don't become consumed with it.

 

So what will I be reading in 2018? These are the ten books that I am committing to. I think I'll be able to complete my challenge this year, assuming the world doesn't go up in smoke first. This year's list has more non-fiction than any prior list because I've had a desire to read more non-fiction lately. I mostly read fiction and I'd like to branch out some.

 

The Bone People cover

 

The Bone People by Keri Hulme

My interest in New Zealand and its literature goes back many years. I've made it a point to read more works by New Zealanders, but despite good intentions, I have avoided this Man Booker winner. I'm expecting good things from this one.

 

Flying Close to the Sun coverFlying Close to the Sun: My Life and Times as a Weatherman by Cathy Wilkerson

In undergrad, I watched the documentary about The Weatherman Organization and was very intrigued. I told myself I'd learn more about them and would possibly write a novel focused on them. I've been saving these Weatherman memoirs until I began researching for that novel, but now I'm not sure I'll ever tackle that project. Project or no project, I've decided to stop putting it off.

 

The Grass Is Singing cover

 

The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing

I really want to like Doris Lessing, but my first and only experience with her so far (The Cleft) was so off-putting that I've avoided her for more than a decade. I never want to judge any author by one book, so I'm making a point to read her debut novel in 2018. I'm hoping for better results.

 

 

Hiroshima Nagasaki coverHiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath by Paul Ham

I have a strong interest in the WWII destruction of Japan, particularly the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I've read some of these historical accounts before and will likely come across much of the same information in this large volume, but it's time to brush up on the subject.

 

Leaving Orbit coverLeaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight by Margaret Lazarus Dean

Dean's previous work was a novel about a girl's obsession with spaceflight during the days surrounding the Challenger disaster. Her second book is this exploration of the rise and fall of NASA. I've had this one on the top of my to-read pile since its publication in 2015, but haven't made time for it.

 

Not Without LaughterNot Without Laughter by Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes is one of the more notable authors to have resided in my part of the world. I've always had the best intentions of reading local authors, especially those who were pioneers and helped shape the way for others, but I've never read more than the occasional poem by Hughes.

 

The Sky Unwashed coverThe Sky Unwashed by Irene Zabytko

When I first started working at the library more than ten years ago, I saw this book on the shelf and was attracted to its sepia cover, its gorgeous title, and its intriguing description. It was one of the very first books to be added to my to-read list at my new job. Ten years later I still work at the library and I still haven't read this short novel about the Chernobyl accident.

 

 

The Tsar of Love and Techno coverThe Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

We loved A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, didn't we? Yet I, like many readers apparently, did not transition well to Marra's follow up two years later, this collection of short stories. Even though I absolutely loved his debut novel, I just wasn't interested in this volume. Adding it to my list will force my hand, I figure.

 

The Warmth of Other SunsThe Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

There's been so much praise heaped on this book. It's time I give this historical gem a try.

 

This Side of Brightness coverThis Side of Brightness by Colum McCann

Last year, I read and absolutely loved McCann's Letters to a Young Writer. I'd spent some time with the author previously, but it was this slim volume about writing that made a big fan out of me. I told myself I'd make it a point to return to the author as soon as possible. And I figured I might as well start with the novel that launched his career.

 

And my unfinished books from prior years:

The Counterfeiters by Andre Gide

The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies

Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor

Union Dues by John Sayles

Weeds by Edith Summers Kelley

 

Seeing all sixteen of these listed, I'm already feeling overwhelmed. I've learned the key to completing my list is to not put off the list to the middle of the year. I really need to be checking off one or two of these titles every month. Intention set.

 

While I'm making an already long post longer, here are some of the top titles, old and new, I hope to get around to in 2018: The Temple of the Dawn by Yukio Mishima, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton, Erasure by Percival Everett, The Road Through the Wall by Shirley Jackson, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro, Winter by Ali Smith, Parnucklian for Chocolate by B.H. James, 1996 by Gloria Naylor, Hot Pink by Adam Levin, and... I can keep going forever. See how I get myself in trouble?

 

Do you set reading goals for your year? Do you find it helpful to do so, or imposing? What do you look forward to reading in 2018?

 

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review 2017-12-24 00:00
If Ever I Should Love You
If Ever I Should Love You - Cathy Maxwell Simple is never part of the equation when it comes to love. Nothing involving the heart ever is. However, the ballad of Leonie and Roman is like is like an onion. The layers run deep and the tears are no surprise. Cathy Maxwell has a talent for breaking a heart in the sweetest of ways. Leonie is stuck in the past, reliving her mistakes and punishing herself for them. It's hard to like her, but in time you will understand her. Her burden of guilt has flawed her soul. Roman was never meant to be a hero, but he ended up being a twofold one. He had the courage to listen to his heart and pursue the one woman he had to work the hardest for and the foresight to empathize and help mend an at times callous, but brutally broken heart. If Ever I Should Love You may run hot and cold, but it appeals to what makes us human.
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text 2017-11-10 18:27
The Bride Says No by Cathy Maxwel $1.99!
[ THE BRIDE SAYS NO: THE BRIDES OF WISHMORE (BRIDES OF WISHMORE #1) ] By Maxwell, Cathy ( Author) 2014 [ Compact Disc ] - Cathy Maxwell

What happens when a bride says no?

 

He is the bastard son of a duke, arrogant, handsome, a little bit dangerous, and, of course, one of the most sought-after bachelors in London. He is also about to be publically jilted by some chit of a girl! Blake Stephens' pride isn't about to let him be humiliated, so he charges after his bride to the wilds of Scotland, determined to bring her to the altar.

What happens when the heart says yes?

 

He is promised to one woman, but discovers his soul stirred by . . . the chit's sister! Lady Aileen Davidson's reputation was ruined ages ago, which is why she's buried herself in the country, but her fiery spirit and bold beauty threaten to bring Blake to his knees, making him wonder if he has proposed to the wrong lass.

 

And now he must make a choice: marry for honor . . . or marry for love?

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review 2017-10-31 16:08
A Path Less Traveled - Cathy Bryant

A Path Less Traveled by Cathy Bryant
Have read the prior books in this series so I am familiar with the characters but it can be read as a stand alone as you are brought up to date.
Starts out with Trish and her son and she's helping with her brother Steve, the mayor's wedding to Dani. Dani's friend Adam has returned as they were friends from college and he helped set up the money to revitalize the town, using her inherited money.
Like how the previous one is similar to this where things just go so wrong, all the time. Nobody can catch a break.
Like the last book anything that can go wrong will and then more... events occur that keep her in town and Adam wants to relocate.
Problems at school with Beau has her burning the candle at both ends...
Lots of quotes from the Bible and scriptures that fit into the real life tragedies that keep occuring to help them get over the turmoil.
Predictable but with many twists and turns.
Discussion questions included.

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review 2017-10-31 16:02
Texas Roads - Cathy Bryant

Texas Roads by Cathy Bryant This book starts out with other offers from the author to get another free book by subscribing to her newsletter. Starts with Dani, a school teacher and it's the anniversary date of her husband's death. She's financially set just some things you can't buy that are missing. She's on her way to her aunt's and runs out of gas, starts to rain. She's headed to Miller's Creek. Steve Miller picks her up as they head to town. He tries to cheer her up as she keeps putting her life down. She got under his skin and misunderstands he's not so forlorn as his appearance comes across as. Circumstances bring them together: he's lived at Momma Beth's ranch his whole life. Dani had called her aunt Beth for a ride... He is also the mayor but likes to help out with physical labor...I can see the firecrackers blaring from here! Love how the community welcomes her.... He has his secrets and has sworn off all women. She has sworn off all men due to her past life. God makes his way into the conversation Dani and her aunt are having and she has the right answers to sooth her often quoting from the scriptures. Like learning about the history of the town and how Steve answers questions about the town and how to improve it as he hopes to get the backers for the money the town needs... Dani wants a change, she's tired of living in the city and tells Beth of her plans... Predictable with twists along the way. Medical emergency brings her back to town and the matchmakers get busy... Love colorful detailed descriptions, would make a great movie Excerpt from the next book is included. Other works by the author are highlighted at the end. Lots of drama and mysteries and secrets. Would enjoy reading more from this author.

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