Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 Reading Goal & 1st Book Reviews

At the beginning of the year, I chose five books from the To-Read pile beside my bed, plus a sixth book that I downloaded to my Kindle, to read in January. (In all honesty, if I don't read some of the books from my To-Read pile soon, it is likely to topple over and cause some major damage!)

The Ride of a Lifetime by Kitty McGregor
Barbara Bush: A Memoirby Barbara Bush
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Texas Stories by Craig Savoye
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Hannah's List by Debbie Macomber

I've seen some interesting reading challenges in the blogosphere (like this one that Susanne posted about) and was very tempted to join in with one two, however with the new job and my crazy busy schedule this spring I've simply decided to choose six books each month to reach of goal of 72 books for the year. So far I'm doing great as I've completed two books and am almost done with two more (one I'm reading as I ride the stationary bike each day and one I'm reading right before turning out the lights for the night). Here are reviews of the two I completed.

Robbie introduced me to Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank early in our marriage as it is one of his favorite books. This was my third time to read it - yes, it's that good, definitely worth re-reading every few years! The setting of this novel is a small town in Florida; a town that becomes completely isolated after a nuclear war begins and many areas of the United States are completely decimated and others are designated Contaminated Zones. The story focuses on a small group of neighbors who ban together to survive as most commodities that we take for granted quickly disappear. This book was written over 50 years ago, however it is still relevant and paints a picture of what could happen if our world returned to one without electricity or communication or gasoline or indoor plumbing, etc. For example, the library, which did not have much patronage before the disaster, once again became a popular place when competition from movies and other forms of electronic entertainment were gone. If you've never read this book, I highly recommend it.
Last year I read and enjoyed Debbie Macomber's non-fiction book, One Perfect Word(see my review here), however she is primarily a fiction writer. Hannah's List is one of her many fiction books; it centers on the story of Dr. Michael Everett whose wife passed away from cancer. On the one year anniversary of her death, he receives a letter (delivered by his brother-in-law) from her. In the letter she shares how much their life together meant to her and then goes on to say that she wants him to remarry. She includes a list of three women she wants him to consider! He is reluctant at first because he is still grieving her death and isn't interested in someone else. However, he does finally meet all three women. The book follows him as he struggles with learning to date again and includes subplots following the lives of these three women. While it was occasionally hard to keep the timeline straight and I thought things moved very quickly, the story was an enjoyable read with excellent themes about love, loss, reconciliation, communication, grief, and marriage. While the topics are deep, the book felt "light" and optimistic. I highly recommend it.

These two books provided a wonderful start to my 2013 reading! Have you completed a book this year? Are you setting a reading goal for the year?


  1. Glad you enjoyed Hannah's List, I did when I read it many years ago. I enjoy her books - yes light and occasionally things move wayyy too fast but I remind myself it's fiction ;)

    Thank you for the other book recommendation - I'm off to the library today and there is a copy of Alas Babylon there according to the online catalogue. Always happy to find new science fiction.

    Never manage to keep track of what I read - my daybook summary is about it. Good luck with your goal of 72.

  2. still plugging away on Marmee and Louisa... it's such a slow read! I may have to slide a light one in before I finish it. I don't know how you read more than one book at once! I can't do it.

  3. I don't have a reading list or a goal - but thinking I should have a look-see at my "art" bookshelf. Lots there that I've never really delved into fully!

  4. I'm still compiling my list of books read in 2012! I have a Kindle Fire with about 200 books on it that I must read. In addition, I listen to a lot of books on my MP3 player while I take my walks. What I read and listen to is not necessary on any best seller lists; it's what I get from free from Amazon. In all, I figure I read and listen to about 100 books a year. Not too shabby!

  5. Alas, Babylon sounds like one I'd enjoy. I am working on some of the classics this year, right now it's Little Women. I am sure I won't come close to 72 this year but I do love the idea of having one I can only read while I am exercising. At our gym some of the equipment has individual TVs, when you stop working they turn off ... a bit of extra motivation lol

  6. Haven't read anything yet this year. Little Bee is a book Iwant to read.

  7. I don't have a reading goal per se - though I have discovered that my library is constantly adding new kindle books to the collection so I can download and read for free which makes me wish I read faster. But my MAIN goal is to finish my own novel that I've been so busy writing. 2013 is the year it will be done! :)

  8. Great list of books Melissa. I like Debbie MacComber reads too. The Alas, Babylon and the Barbara Bush Memoir look VERY interesting to me. Think I'll check out my library as well. It's just down the street! .
    I read a little everyday on either my Kindle or the Nook but like Ellyn said, I just can't read more than one book at a time. LOL
    Good luck on your reading goal and congratulations on your new job! That's so awesome!

  9. I'm so impressed! I have a list of books to read as well, and have gotten a good start on a couple of them this month. I usually get through about 30 books a year. If I got off the computer, I'd be able to read more! I like Little Bee very much, but it got mixed reviews from my friends.

  10. I am so impressed by your about-to-fall-over book pile, Melissa! I haven't read either of these and think I might enjoy the first one in particular. I always enjoy reading your thoughtful reviews.

  11. I've heard of some of these but not read any. I'm impressed that you can read two books in parallel - that would confuse me! Might give the reading on the static bike a go though ...

    Off to check out Alas, Babylon in our local library catalogue!


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