Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Read Reads Read

Have you ever heard of the website called Goodreads?  It's a place for tracking detailed information on the books you've read, that you're reading, and that you want to read.  It also allows sharing of this information with friends you set up.  It allows you to search for books that may interest you.  It has blog postings by authors whose books you've read in the past.  There are numerous reviews for most books. If you are a reader, you definitely should check it out:  www.goodreads.com.  I love it personally!

I've been slowly but surely tracking all the books I've read, but since I'm such an avid reader, I'll never get an accurate list - I've been reading voraciously since I first learned to read.  I remember one Christmas when Nancy Drew was my book of choice.  My parents gifted me with five new Nancy Drew books, and I had them read halfway through Christmas break - they were amazed!  I also had a real love-hate relationship going on with our neighborhood public librarian.  In the summer I was permitted to ride my bike to the library to check out books - this was probably the summer between 3rd and 4th grade.  But the problem was that the library had a policy that children could only check out one book at a time. So, I'd go first thing in the morning, check out my one measly book, go home and read it, then go back to check out another one to read that night.  Of course, the librarian refused me for the longest time - this was back in the days when books were checked out by removing and stamping a card inserted into a pocket affixed to the inside cover, and the librarian couldn't be bothered to find my card from earlier in the day (apparently all alphabetizing and filing of the day's cards happened after the library closed to the public).  That didn't stop me though, I continued, day by day, to go back to the library to try to get a second book, sometimes even taking along my mom or dad so they could check something out for me.  At some point the librarian threw up her hands and just let me check out a second book in the morning - I remember how happy I was when that happened!  No telling how many books I read that summer.  And I promise there was not one single late book!

So anyway, it's enjoyable for me to peruse lists of books and mark ones I've read, and for the last several months I've kept a record of my readings.  Shortly after the first of the year, the website had a prompt asking what your reading goal was for the year.  I thought about it, and I didn't want to set it too high, so I chose 52 books.  And here it is the 24th, and I'm already at 6 books - I don't think I'll have any trouble reading 52, and it will be interesting to track just how many I do read.

Here's the list of what I've read so far:

Note:  The first two books on this list were ones I checked out as E-books from the library through a new program they have called Freading - books are always available for checking out, you don't have to wait until a copy is returned.  The books I checked out probably are not ones I would have chosen from the regular selection of E-books, but I was interested in the Freading concept.  I have two other Freading books checked out as well.

Blue Boy by Rakesh Satyal - Story of a 12-year-old Indian American boy who feels very different from the other kids his age.  As a way of explaining his differences to himself, he decides he's the reincarnation of Krishna, the blue-skinned Hindu deity.  The book shows many vignettes of how Kieran is different from his peers, and moves toward the conclusion where he actually dresses up as Krishna for his school's talent show, plays the flute, and dances with wild abandon - with surprising results.  I liked this book - I very much enjoy Indian novels, and this one was both fun and insightful.  I give it four stars.

Golfing With God by Roland Merullo - The title pretty much describes the story line - the main character is in heaven, and is assigned the task of helping God learn to putt better.  He is taken on a journey that teaches him much about life and about spirituality.  I'm not a golfer, and I'm sure that someone interested in both golf and spirituality would eat this book up, but just the spiritual references were enough to make it worth my while.  I give this one four stars too.

The Moment by Douglas Kennedy - Let me start out by saying, Five Stars for sure!  This is a novel about a man and a women in Germany in the 1980s when the Wall was still up.  They both lived and worked in a neighborhood on the West side, but the woman's life had always been in East Germany.  It's a powerful love story with tragic consequences and an interesting ending.  Although I've read a whole lot of sad books in my reading life, it's rare for a book to actually make me cry, and this one made me cry three times in the last 30 pages or so.  I loved this and will likely read it again.

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin - I checked this one out because the title was intriguing.  It is exactly what the title says it is, and is based on historical fact.  It was interesting in many ways, but I think only a tiny person could actually portray how the world looked from their unique perspective.  I did enjoy it, but this one only gets 3 stars.

Blood Fever by Karen Moning, #2 in the Fever series - This series was recommended to me at a Breaking Dawn party last November, as another supernatural series that was interesting and well-written.  I read the first and second ones, but I don't think I'll go on from there.  I loved Stephenie Meyers's Twilight series, I certainly love Ann Rice's books, but Ms. Moning is nowhere near their caliber, and I found myself slogging through the last pages.  Three stars.

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin - I almost didn't finish this one because it was pretty light-weight, but got into it enough to finish it off.  It's the story of a woman in the 1800s who married a British Duke, of her life before and after her marriage.  It was pretty predictable, but it was decently written, and if I were the author of the book I would certainly want my reader to see it through to the end, so I did.  One of the biggest problems I had was that there was conflicting information in the story about a letter that was written, but it later said it wasn't written, then went back to saying it was written.  That drove me nuts.  Not the tightest writing for sure.  Three stars.

So, there you have it - I'm 6 books into my quota of 52.  And I definitely won't stop reading once I hit the target.  One characteristic of a good writer is that she is an avid reader, so I have that one down for sure - now all I need to do is start writing.

That's it for now - Santa and I are going to Old Town in Kissimmee tonight to give me more iPhone photo ops, so maybe there will be more pics tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Peace and love to everyone!

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Orlando, Florida, United States
"If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you...I came to live out loud. [Emile Zola.]
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