Reading books is a great pasttime of mine. I always find time to read a bit. I posed a challenge to myself about a year ago to start keeping a book journal, and I’ve kept one on my computer with notes on each book I’ve read. I am happy to report that I read about 24 books in the space of 12 months, and they cover a wide arrange of subjects from non-fiction to bubblegum fiction. I am now posing myself a new challenge this new year, to read books of the genre and type that I want to write myself and keep a book journal on those books.
Way back when I was younger, I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write kid’s books for kids of about age 8 – 14. I actually feel more strongly than ever that it is important to write for this age group now that I have a kid of my own. Most kids are reading less as they have more access to electronics with video games and other passive, time eating activities. It echoes in my head “be part of the solution.” The more books that are out there that kids want to read, the more likely they are to get into the habit. Because in the end, reading is a habit and we are all creatures of habit to some extent.
Here are some of my favorite books of the year. In no particular order:
Bounce by Matthew Syed. This is about the myth of talent and the importance of practice. I am a strong believer in working hard. This book is quite empowering, and Syed has a very engaging back story. I still can’t shake the belief that there is an element of talent – I could never have been a champion ski jumper! But I really did enjoy this book.
Evensong by Gail Godwin. This is an extremely dense book with complex characters. I found the ideas of this book particularly strong, and enjoyed the humor as well. My favorite quote from a very transient character is “At some point you have to decide whether you want to live dying or die living.”
Kinsey and Me by Sue Grafton. I am a big fan of Sue Grafton, as this is her autobiographical work. In it she writes about Kinsey who is the main character of her alphabet mysteries and her relationship to her own fictional character. I found it fascinating to see how Sue and Kinsey are different yet alike, and how she actually feels the presence of Kinsey in her life.
Kate Shugak series, numbers 5 and 16 by Dana Stabenow. I discovered this mystery series set in Alaska a few years ago and have read through to 5, and then I found 16, skipping 10 books. This was probably not the best idea because characters die and change over the course of those books! However, I love the writing and small town Alaska comes alive for me, it’s a different world. I find the character of Kate Shugak very likeable even though we have next to nothing in common – the mark of a terrific writer!
I love reading books. Perhaps some day there will be a book out there that I have written, that kids will love reading. I will work very hard to make this happen, as Syed’s book shows, everything worthwhile must be worked towards, and the harder you work, the more likely you are to succeed.