A Look at April’s Reading List

April is National Poetry month and the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club team has chosen to focus on poetry for our book club’s reading selections. They have curated a selection of poems for our main selection and paired that with 5 different poetry collection books as flight picks. In addition, they have two poetry classes on the schedule and I am really looking forward to them! Poetry has not been something I have always enjoyed. I have a handful of poets I enjoy reading: Emily Dickinson, Mary Oliver, some of Robert Frost, and a couple of others. But by and large, it is not something I pick up to read on a regular basis simply for enjoyment.

Honestly, some poetry intimidates me I think. I have especially struggled with epic poetry. Things like The Iliad, The Odyssey, Beowulf, Paradise Lost – these have all been works I have had on my list of things to read because I feel they are good for me to read but not because I necessarily just would love to read them. 🙂 I can now say I have read The Iliad and Beowulf both in their entirety. The Iliad….well…..yeah, no….didn’t enjoy it. But the translation of Beowulf I read this past year I found I actually did enjoy! I still need to tackle The Odyssey and Paradise Lost though.

Anyhoo….

Setting aside epic poetry, there is so much more to look at in the form of writing called poetry. I think that maybe I just don’t know how to read poetry well if it doesn’t rhyme. A little embarrassing to admit, I think, but there it is. Thanks to the nudge from the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club team, I’m going to take the opportunity this month to really dive into the art of poetry and try to learn how to better read various different types and styles of poetry; and maybe, hopefully then, enjoy it even more.

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With that in mind, I am planning to pair up our book club reading(s) with a couple of books I have on my shelf:

  • How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch
  • A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver

I am fairly certain I won’t be able to get both of these read by the end of the month. But that’s okay. The goal is not to get them completely read in a certain time frame. The goal is to begin reading them and let them teach me. Let them help me learn more about poetry and maybe even fall in love with it. (Here’s hoping! 🙂 )

Along with these two books, I will of course read the specially curated collection of poems from the MMD team, as well as try to read some of the flight picks (I’ve already read one and it was phenomenal!) as well as any other poetry collections I may like to give a try. And as I already mentioned, I plan to join in for both poetry classes offered this month in the book club.

Aside from the deep dive into the realm of poetry, I have two other books I plan to read. First, I have been feeling in the mood to re-read The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. This book was my first time reading a Steinbeck novel and honestly, I didn’t care for it a whole lot. But after reading East of Eden last year and finding it to be a phenomenal book, I decided I wanted to give The Grapes of Wrath another try. And so I think I am going to begin that this week.

And second, my IRL book club has chosen A Moveable Feast by Hemingway for our read this month. I am so excited to read this! It’s on my classics TBR and I’ve heard very high praises of it. I will probably try to start that about mid-month. If I can wait that long! LOL I may just spread it out over the whole month. We’ll see!

Being the mood reader that I am, there could of course be adjustments to these plans. I’ve got the month pretty scheduled with very little room for reading on a whim. But I will try to listen in to my reading mood throughout the month and adjust if I feel the need to. 🙂

What do you have in your plans for reading this month?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Length: 182 pgs.
Genre: Fiction, Classics
My Rating: 5 Stars

From the Goodreads description:

Jay Gatsby is the man who has everything. But one thing will always be out of his reach. Everybody who is anybody is seen at his glittering parties. Day and night his Long Island mansion buzzes with bright young things drinking, dancing, and debating his mysterious character. For Gatsby—young, handsome, and fabulously rich—always seems alone in the crowd, watching and waiting, though no one knows what for. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel.

The Great Gatsby has been on my classics TBR for quite some time. And when my IRL book club began discussing what we might want to read next, I was excited that this book was picked! One of the members talked about Fitzgerald’s wonderful writing and I couldn’t wait to dive into the book. Well, it did not disappoint! I annotated the heck out of this book! 🙂


See what I mean? LOL I noted illusions to direction, dust, the overseeing “eyes”, things that stood out to me, and more. The last part of this edition I have is actually the short story Winter Dreams that Fitzgerald wrote. I read that it was the inspiration behind The Great Gatsby. And I definitely saw whispers of the novel in the short story.

Fitzgerald’s writing in this classic is beautiful, skillful, deep, smart. Truly phenomenal! There is so much that can be discussed. So many layers. Themes, motifs, connections to other literature. So. Much. There. In. These. Pages. In fact, our book club discussion went really long!

Fitzgerald wrote some very complex main characters. Gatsby, Daisy, and Nick all were so much more than they seemed on the surface. He also managed to really capture the spirit of the Roaring Twenties with all the grit and glamour. And his descriptive writing? Amazing! Here’s just a sneak peak at some of the beautiful descriptive language:

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees – just as things grow in fast movies – I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” (p. 3)

We walked through a high hallway into a bright rosy-colored space, fragilely bound into the house by French windows at either end. The windows were ajar and gleaming white against the fresh grass outside that seemed to grow a little way into the house. A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in at one end and out the other like pale flags, twisting them up toward the frosted wedding cake of the ceiling – and then rippled over the wine-colored rug, making a shadow on it as wind does on the sea.” (p. 6)

This novel is a glittering, stunning achievement in my opinion and one I will be reading again (and maybe again and again….)

Bookish Chat – Reading with Others and Re-reading

The other night, my IRL book club met. We started meeting virtually when the pandemic began and have kept it virtual ever since. It works well for our group. So, we had our Zoom meet-up to discuss our February book, Brideshead Revisited. Now, I already posted my thoughts on this book HERE. But if you read that post, you know that I chose not to give the book a star rating and that I felt like I’d missed things when listening to the audio.

As we were discussing the book last night, various things were brought up. Things like symbolism, how society was at that time, and so much more. I learned so much from hearing the other group member’s thoughts and insights. And our discussion brought out so much more in the book that I didn’t see in my own reading of it. We also talked about the benefit of re-reading and how that can help the reader make more connections in the book, see more insights, peel off more of the story’s layers. As the discussion progressed, I found myself saying more than once – “Gosh, I want to read this again right now!” There’s just so much to ponder with this book!

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This is why I love reading with other people. Being able to talk about what we’ve read…hearing other people’s thoughts and perspectives….hashing out confusing parts to see if we can understand them more….learning more about connections or the storyline or the characters that maybe we didn’t pick up on in our own reading of the book….and so much more.

But often other sideline topics might come up in relation to the book. Take re-reading for example. We were talking about how Brideshead Revisited could definitely stand up to multiple readings. And that led to discussing the benefits of re-reading. Many classics definitely seem to be ones that, dare I say, need re-reading in order to plunge the depths of the layers in the stories. Of course, I think we will all have different books we want to read more than once. And some books may not be ones that will stand up well to a re-read.

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I think Adler was on to something when he talked about inspectional reading in his book How to Read a Book:

“Most people, even many quite good readers, are unaware of the value of inspectional reading. They start a book on page one and plow steadily through it, without even reading the table of contents. They are thus faced with the task of achieving a superficial knowledge of the book at the same time that they are trying to understand it. That compounds the difficulty.” (How to Read a Book, pg. 19)

Oftentimes, I think we read books finding out the storyline and what happens but also trying to understand everything about it as we go. Like Adler said, “that compounds the difficulty.” Choosing to re-read allows us to see our first read differently. We can come to the first reading of the book from the start knowing we aren’t going to concern ourselves with trying to understand every little thing. We are just going to read. Find out what happens. Learn about the characters. Then, when we come back to the second reading, we already know what happens. So we can focus in on making more connections, understanding the characters more, peeling off more layers of the story.

I went into Brideshead Revisited with this mentality – I wouldn’t get hung up on things I might miss. I would just read for the story, picking up on whatever I pick up on along the way. And even though I wish I had stuck to reading it just in print instead of switching to the audiobook like I did, I still got a general idea of the storyline. And what’s interesting is that, when we discussed the book last night, I discovered that I didn’t miss as much of the storyline as I thought I might have missed! Still, when I read the book again, I will read it ALL in print. 😉 And thanks to my wonderful bookclub friends, I was able to see so much in this novel which made me even more excited to read this book again.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately – January/February 2022

I feel like I’m still lagging a bit after getting sick towards the end of January. I am not sick anymore and feel fine. But my energy levels are up and down. So I am behind in posting. I kept looking at my laptop thinking – I need to write a post. I need to get a video made. And it felt too daunting. But here I am now. And here’s to hopefully being back to more regular posting now.

I got quite a bit read in January but not much read this month. Part of the reason for that is because I’ve been working on some projects. But another reason is because I’m in the thick of reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King. And I am taking my time. I am finding that it’s a book that I want to read quickly to find out what happens; but I want to read it slowly to make it last. Ever have a book you felt that way about? I am sticking with the read-it-slowly inclination. Some days only a few pages; other days more than few pages. I also have taken time to do a bit of research along the way as well. That’s what I love about reading historical fiction; you can go down rabbit trails looking up all sorts of events and people and just information in general that make the novel come even more alive.

Anyhoo….Here’s what I’ve finished reading in January and in February so far.

I’m sure you know by now that I am a fan of Fredrik Backman’s books. I had not tried to read Beartown until this year when it became an option to choose for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club Pick-Your-Own month in January. It did not disappoint! Solid 5 stars. Many reviews I’ve read talk about how this series felt like a departure from what most are used to in Backman’s books. Maybe it is. But to me, the qualities of human connection, of how he writes realistic characters, that is very present. I feel Backman is a very skilled writer who has the ability to evoke the readers emotions with his brilliant writing. Click HERE to read my review of Beartown.

Hiroshima by John Hersey tells the story of six people who survived what has been called the greatest single man-made disaster in history. The edition I have is an updated edition that includes a section where the author went back 40 years later to see what had happened to those same six people. This book not only chronicles their lives, but gives you a look at what exactly happened and the impact it had. This is one book I think everyone should read. Click HERE to read my full review.

All of the Kazuo Ishiguro’s novels I’ve read so far I would describe as quietly written, but very reflective and meditative. An Artist of the Floating World is largely focused on the narrator, Mr. Ono, and his looking back and reflecting on his life and the choices he made. But, in my opinion, it is also a great deal about the dynamics of family and friendships. I think that Ishiguro executed the skill of writing in this novel well. Click HERE to read my full review.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde was my pick for the February Classics Club Challenge. For what Wilde intended this play to be, a satire and farcical comedy, it is successful. For me, though, I didn’t particularly love it. It was just simply okay. Click HERE to read my brief review.

This was the February selection for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club. The Unseen World is both a coming-of-age story and a family saga. Ada and her father, David, have had a peaceful life. But then things start popping up that cause Ada concern. She eventually is made aware of David’s hidden diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and little by little, she unearths things about David and his past that turn her world upside down. This was such a good read! Click HERE to read the rest of my review.

This was February’s flight pick for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club. It had been on my TBR for a long while so I was excited to finally read it! Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore has mystery, intrigue, and an odd bookstore that stays open 24 Hours. It’s definitely a plot-driven novel. It’s fast-paced, fun, and easy to read. If you love books about books and bookstores and are looking for a lighter read, this might be a good pick for you.

This was the February pick for my IRL book club (that has been virtual since the pandemic started). Brideshead Revisited was my first Waugh novel and it had been sitting on my classics TBR for quite some time. In my opinion, this novel is largely a sweeping family saga. Click HERE to read my thoughts on it.

I have been slowly working my way through the A Series of Unfortunate Events books. I haven’t read one in quite awhile. And now that my daughter has picked up the books to read for the first time, I need to get a move on it and get the rest of the series read before she snags the rest of them off my shelf. LOL The Vile Village is #7 in the series and the village is just that, a weird, “vile” village that the Baudelaire children end up at. I have to tell ya, I’ve really enjoyed this series so far. What I particularly like is the clever, witty writing. And I just have to say, having Patrick Warburton play the narrator/Lemony Snicket in the Netflix series is absolute perfection! We are watching the series as my daughter reads. So when she finishes a book, we watch the episodes that take us up to the next book.

And that wraps up what I’ve read so far this year. What have you been reading lately?

Books I Have My Eye on for Reading in 2022

Do you remember in the movie You’ve Got Mail when Kathleen Kelly gets sick? Joe Fox goes to visit her and she has a bad cold and says her head is feeling fuzzy. Yeah….that’s been me the last few days. I have my ups and downs – points where I can sit in bed with my Kindle and read. And then points where I’m like – please don’t ask me to think! LOL

When my head doesn’t feel all fuzzy as Kathleen Kelly put it, I’m thinking about books I want to read.

—-And she goes to lay down for a bit.—-

And it is now the next day. Ha! This post is taking me time to write. But thankfully, I woke up feeling better today and am very optimistic that I will get this post finished and published. 🙂

I am not laying down any fast rules here for my reading in 2022 when I share books I am looking forward to reading this year. This is just a simple list of books that I have my eye on, but no problem if I don’t get to them. But I like lists. Lists are nice. Lists are good. Lists must not dictate what I read. Yes, I am quite a conundrum aren’t I? Anyhoo….here’s what I have my eye on for 2022.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

This is happening. My friend Kayla and I are going to buddy read this starting in February. I am so excited about this! This will be my first Stephen King novel — and likely my only Stephen King novel — unless he takes to writing more historical fiction or something other than horror. I don’t do horror. Nope. I have heard King is a phenomenal writer and can tell a good story. So I’m excited that he’s written a historical fiction novel. Really looking forward to this one!

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

I knew this one was a classic and was on many classic books to read lists. But it really came onto my radar more several years back when I heard Anne Bogel talk about it. In a post she wrote years ago, she lists it as one of the novels she reads over and over again. Plus, I just recently read that they are making a new movie of it! So I am eyeing this book for 2022.

The Marvels by Brian Selznick

I read this middle grade novel several years ago in ebook format. So I am tickled to finally have it in print and am looking forward to re-reading it!

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I have not read anything by George Eliot before and this is the title I have my eye on for 2022. I have heard it is an excellent read and am looking forward to diving into it.

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

I have heard such glowing reviews of this book that is called a great historical epic. It is set in Norway in the 14th century and centers around the character whose name is reflected in the title. If I decide to prioritize a read, this would definitely be one I choose. It comes in at a whopping 1144 pages.

There are, of course, so many more books I want to read. But I am trying to go with the flow as they say. I do also have authors I want to read more of their backlist titles which I hope to be able to work in some of those in 2022. Some of those authors would be Amor Towles (I’m looking at you Rules of Civility!), Fredrik Backman (I still have a handful of books left of his to read), and Ruta Sepetys, to name just a few. I think I will make a note of this in my reading journal. And speaking of my reading journal, as I mentioned in THIS post, I always try to read widely. So I’m thinking in my reading journal I may make a list of a variety of genres and then jot down a few titles that have caught my interest for each one.

What books do you have your eye on for reading in 2022?

Setting Reading Goals/Intentions for a New Year

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It’s a new year and many people are reflecting and making goals. To be honest, I’m not one for setting New Year’s resolutions. But when it comes to my reading life, I do look back over my year of reading and then think about if I want to set any reading goals for the new year. And this is what I’ve been doing the last week or so. In my post Reflecting On My 2021 Reading Year, I shared some questions that we can ask ourselves when looking back over our year of reading. So I have been asking myself:

  • Is there anything I’d like to do differently with my reading next year?
  • How did I do this year in reading widely? (This is a continual goal for me.)
  • Do I want to participate in any reading challenges or projects?
  • Do I want to set any reading goals for next year? If so, what kind of goals?

As I’ve thought about these questions, I think that by and large, I had a great reading year. I have one on-going reading intention that will continue – and that is to read widely. I will map more specifics of that for myself in my own reading journal. Also, one of the things I love about the MMD Book Club is that Anne and the team do a fantastic job of choosing diverse books. So I know I will get variety with the books we read there each month.

As far as if I’d like to do anything differently. As I looked back on last year, something I realize is that because I love reading with other people, I think I just got caught up in all the group reads and read-alongs over in the Bookstagram world and it got to be a bit much. I want to be more intentional about how many books I take on and make sure that I pace myself. I want to make sure I don’t let the sheer amount of group reads and read-alongs sidetrack me and hook me in to over-committing to books to read.

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I also want to make sure to take the time to write about the books I’m reading. I am getting more consistent about doing that, especially in 2021. I was planning to do another bullet journal style reading journal. But I am thinking maybe not. Here’s why. It seems easier for me to type out my thoughts on a book versus handwriting them. As much as I love the aesthetic element of the decorated reading bullet journal, when I sit down to handwrite in my journal, if it gets lengthy my hand gets tired and my writing gets sloppier. And I think that has been a factor in why I don’t always write out all my thoughts on the books I read in my journal.

So I am thinking about moving more digitally for my book journal this year. At the very least, type out all I want to write about and then print it off and glue/tape it in a reading journal or go back to making a reading binder. I have been thinking about maybe a disc bound reading notebook. It just seems more practical, even though it does mean ditching the bullet style reading journal that I’ve enjoyed creating the last two years. Honestly, though, every time I have sat down to create my reading journal for this year, I have had very little motivation or creative inspiration for making the journal spreads. So maybe the the disc-bound notebook or binder will be a good alternative to house the digital reading journal.

As far as reading projects and challenges, for now I am just participating in the Japanese Literature Challenge. It’s one I participated in back in 2020 and really enjoyed it. Other than that, I really just want to stay focused on reading what interests me along with my reading for the MMD Book Club.

And that’s my thoughts for now. Of course, reading intentions can flex as we need them to. But overall, I think it can be helpful to take a look at the past year and think about what we’d like our reading lives to look like in the new year.

What would you like your reading year to look like this year?

Reading Year In Review 2021

I am going to do my breakdown of the books I read in 2021 a bit different than I did last year. I’m still working on how to categorize the books I read. For the most part, it’s pretty straight forward. But what happens when you read a children’s contemporary book that’s also historical fiction? Do you categorize it as children’s, contemporary, or historical fiction? See what I mean? Certainly a bookish conundrum. LOL So I created a category I’m calling “Crossovers”. It will be a category just for books that I just can’t narrow down to one category. 😉 Without further ado, here’s a look at my 2021 reading year.

Contemporary Fiction

General – 14 books
Historical – 3 books
Children’s – 1 book
Middle Grade – 2 books
Gothic – 1 book
Dystopian/Apocalyptic – 1 book

Total Contemporary Fiction: 22 books

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Classics Fiction

General – 14 books
Fantasy – 1 books
Children’s – 4 books
Gothic – 1 books
Mystery – 1 book
Short Stories – 1 short story collection
Essays – 1 essay collection

Total Classics Fiction: 23 books

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Non-Fiction

General – 6 books
Children’s – 4 books
Travel – 1 book
Memoir/Biography – 2 books

Total Non-Fiction: 13 books

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Other

Poetry – 5 books
Play – 1 play

Total Other: 6 books

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Crossovers

1 Children’s Contemporary Historical Fiction
1 Middle Grade Contemporary Historical Fiction
1 Middle Grade Contemporary Mystery Fiction
1 Middle Grade Classics Historical Fiction
1 Children’s Classic Historical Fiction

Total Crossovers: 5 books

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Re-reads

Total Books that Were Re-reads: 13 books

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Overall Total Books Read: 82
Total Pages Read: 25,757

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Highlights from the Year

I had a pretty good reading year in terms of liking books I read. I gave 4 stars to a whoppin’ 34 books! I gave 10 books a 5 star rating and 2 books received 4.5 stars. I am pretty generous with 4 star ratings. However, I am definitely more sparing with 5 stars; I don’t give them out nearly as much. So I consider it pretty stellar to have read 10 books this year that I gave 5 stars! All my highlights from this year’s reading will be my 5 star reads.

5 Star Reads

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

One of my re-reads. Les Misérables is a story about injustices. About poverty and unfairness and cruelty. It is also about heroism, forgiveness, love, and mercy. It will break your heart more than once; but redemption and hope can be found within the pages of the book too. This novel is beautifully and brilliantly written. It will stay with you long after you finish reading it. This is one of just a small handful of books that I want to tell everyone to read. 🙂 Click HERE to read my full review.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Edmond Dantés is a kind-hearted, loving person who one day finds himself imprisoned. He has no idea why and is completely innocent. What unfolds is a complex, nuanced, intricate plot. Dumas managed to create a narrative that the reader can get lost in. It is very atmospheric with descriptions that pull you into its world. This epic masterpiece joined the ranks of Les Misérables in my list of favorite books of all-time. Click HERE for my full review.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Another one of my re-reads. I read this book aloud with my daughter earlier this year (we actually started it at the end of 2020 I think…). It was her first time experiencing this magnificent fantasy adventure; it was my second time reading it. I loved it just as much as the first time. Well, maybe even more. And I love that my daughter absolutely loved it too. I’ve read The Lord of the Rings series as well and let me tell you…it is no wonder that Tolkien is considered the father of modern fantasy. He has masterfully crafted a whole world, complete with it’s own history.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Again, another re-read. Little Women is a coming-of-age story about four sisters; but it’s so much more than that. It’s about sisterhood, family bonds, respect for oneself and for others, and being true to oneself. Click HERE to read my full review.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim

And yep, another re-read. This story is about four women who decide to share a villa in Italy for the month of April. It’s all about how this holiday helps them learn more about themselves, helps them grow personally, and helps them each find needed healing in their lives. Click HERE for my full review.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Richard Adams managed to represent the nature of life in this story of rabbits. There are themes of friendship, respect, honor, duty, loyalty, perseverance, fear, and courage. There are wars, fighting, and a great deal of drama. It is a story of survival, triumphs, and growth. The characters have depth and the story is full of beauty and richness. I can’t recommend this book enough! Click HERE for my full review.

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus

If you are looking for a beautiful, heartwarming read, look no further. This story exhibits the power of family AND the power of books. It is an absolutely delightful, wonderful middle grade novel that both my daughter and I enjoyed immensely! Click HERE to read my full review.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Backman’s writing in this novel is witty, clever, brilliant, perceptive, and many times down right hilarious. I can’t tell you how many times I laughed out loud. Yet amidst all the humor, Backman deals with some heavy topics. Anxious People is absorbing, thought-provoking, captivating, and compelling. It is definitely one of my favorite reads of this year and one I am sure I will read again! Click HERE to read my full review.

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Sepetys once again crafted a phenomenal historical fiction novel. It is a page-turner! It is rich in detail with vivid descriptions. The story is told with great compassion. It is powerful, insightful, heartbreaking, and evocative. Click HERE to read my full review.

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

I am a fan of Selznick’s work. This novel is wonderfully magical and mesmerizing. It is beautifully and compassionately written. Click HERE to read my full review.

Honorable Mention

Ok. I have to also mention The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman. I gave this one 4.5 stars but it may very well get upgraded to 5 stars upon a second read. This novella is a story about what is important in life. A story between a father and his son. A story about a girl who is fighting for her life. A story about love, forgiveness, and redemption. Click HERE to read my full review.

Reflecting on My 2021 Reading Year

The last week of December is usually a week where I actually read less. I typically spend this week looking back over my reading year – logging my reading stats, wrapping up my reading journal, getting my new reading journal set up. I will be doing my typical Reading Year Wrap-Up in a separate post. Today, I am taking time for reflections.

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This week, I am taking time to look back and ask myself questions:

  • Is there anything I’d like to do differently with my reading next year?
  • How did I do this year in reading widely? (This is a continual goal for me.)
  • Do I want to participate in any reading challenges or projects?
  • Do I want to set any reading goals for next year? If so, what kind of goals?

I have been considering what I want to do differently while thinking what I want my 2022 reading year to look like. There are a few things I have learned about myself as a reader over the years:

(1) I love to read with others.

(2) I am a mood reader but also a scheduled reader.

(3) Pushing myself to finish books I’m not enjoying can quickly send me into burn-out.

(4) I actually enjoy participating in a reading challenge. However, I don’t like to let a reading challenge dictate my reading life.

(5) I like to read widely. Even though I do read a lot of classics, I do like to read from a wide variety of genres from contemporary to classics to non-fiction to middle grade novels.

(6) I like to include reading for knowledge – whether it’s a book on philosophy or science or poetry or history… whether it’s a more challenging book (in any genre) that increases my understanding simply by attempting to read it… (Adler speaks about this in his book How to Read a Book)

I can take this list of things and use it as the foundation for setting reading goals or intentions for the new year ahead. So, it’s this list of things I’ve learned about myself as a reader that I will be thinking about when mapping out this coming reading year for myself. I will likely share more details about this here on my blog. But for now, I’m reflecting, considering, pondering.

If you’d like to reflect on your reading year, it’s easy. Simply take some time to think about what you enjoy. You can ask yourself the same basic questions I am asking myself:

  • Is there anything I’d like to do differently with my reading next year?
  • How did I do this year in the goals I set for my reading? (For example, reading widely is a continual goal of mine. So I would look at that goal and assess how I did with it.)
  • Do I want to participate in any reading challenges or projects?
  • Do I want to set any reading goals for next year? If so, what kind of goals?

I’d love to hear how your reading year has gone! I will be sharing more about mine in upcoming posts. 🙂

Bout of Books Readathon January 2022

I just learned about the Bout of Books Readathon this week and decided to find out more about it. Here is what it’s all about:

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 3rd and runs through Sunday, January 9th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are reading sprints, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For all Bout of Books 33 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

So this is a very nice, relaxed no pressure readathon. You can visit the page to find out more about it. But basically, as long as you are reading, that’s what matters. How long, how much is completely up to you.

This kind of readathon is just my style. I like that it’s relaxed and laid back and I can make the schedule of how and what I read. The challenge starts at 12:01 Monday January 3rd and will end Sunday January 9th. So most likely, I will probably either be picking one of my Japanese Literature Challenge books or Beartown by Fredrik Backman. In the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club in January, it’s pick-your-own-title month. The MMD team presented a list of 6 titles that have been previously read in the book club and each member gets to pick whichever title(s) they want to read or re-read, whichever the case may be. I have chosen to read Beartown because I am a huge Backman fan and I haven’t read this one yet. I also may re-read This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell for a second choice. We’ll see!

Happy Reading!