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52.80 Books in 2016

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If you know me and know my family, you know that we are a tribe of addicted readers. My grandma recently stayed with us for three weeks, during which time she read 5 books. She estimates that she reads somewhere around 150 books a year. (Gah, goals!) My aunts, uncles, mom, and cousins are all fanatics. I’ve started working on my older son too. And although I would rather do almost nothing more than sit in a beautiful, cozy spot and read an entire day away, with a full time job, full time kids, and full time husband and house to keep up, my reading passion was often pushed to the back burner. But there was a book light at the end of that sad and desolate tunnel. Since I retired from my full time job back in October, my reading time has skyrocketed. So I decided to challenge myself to read a book a week in 2016 – 52 books in 52 weeks. (Maybe I’ll read 52.80 books just to be consistent!) I did not do well in January. Or April. At all. But I figure if I blow through some awesome YA fiction I can get relatively back on track in a jiffy. Here’s a sampling year to date:

Someone: A Novel, by Alice McDermott

The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

The Giver Quartet: The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son, by Lois Lowry. (This counts as four books, right? I vote yes.)

Primates of Park Avenue, by Wednesday Martin

11/22/63, by Stephen King

Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin

In reviewing my list so far, I realize I’m all over the genre map: literary fiction, YA, chick lit, sci-fi. My usual focus is literary fiction and YA, and particularly where those two categories meet. (Think The Fault In Our Stars.) Around the beginning of the new year I found a fun reading challenge put out by my local library. The goal is to read a book in each of the following categories:

A book originally published in the year you were born

A collection of short stories

A retelling of a myth

A book with a strong female lead

A book that has been translated into English

A book about a family saga

A book you loved as a child

A political biography

A book with an animal narrator

A book written about or by a person with a disability

A romantic comedy

A hard science fiction novel

I love this list because it pushes me outside my comfort zone. I would typically never read a political biography or a hard science fiction novel. I’ve absolutely no idea what was published in my birth year, but it’ll be fun to research. I’m not a short story lover, but I know there are some wonderful compilations out there. (As an aside, I love listening to “Off the Books” on Entertainment Weekly satellite radio. They’ve given me some truly excellent reading suggestions. Recently they highlighted American Housewife: Stories, by Helen Ellis, which I think sounds fantastic.) So I’m incorporating this challenge into my own 52 book challenge to broaden my horizons.

As I finish each book I’ll update you on what I thought of it and what’s coming next. I’d love for you to join me in this goal and share your reading list with me!

One thought on “52.80 Books in 2016

  1. Short Stories: anything by Alice Munro or William Trevor. The collection Bobcat (can’t recall author). Olive Kittridge (Elizabeth Strout)

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