Reading is hands-down my favorite past-time. I remember when I was in college and I couldn't wait to graduate so I could read whatever I liked - not just required text books, etc. Since then, I've read hundreds, probably thousands of books. The minute I finish one, I have to start another. Yes, it's true. Another addiction. But could there be a better addiction?
Back in 2004 I started keeping a list of all the books I read each year. It was interesting to see the different genres I was consuming, but I must admit the main reason for the list was so I wouldn't forget what books I'd read. Sad to say, I realized I was starting to read books that seemed vaguely familiar . . . only to discover I'd already read them. Ah, the mind is such a vapor these days. It's one thing to read a favorite book again by choice. Something else entirely when you don't remember one you've already read!
Since January of 2004, I've read 180 books, roughly around 25 a year. As much as I love to read, I'm actually a very slow reader. I can't skim books. I have to digest them. Or so I tell myself. I also rate them, giving them a 1-5 star evaluation. I've even started keeping a separate list of those I start and can't finish (five last year). Including those I hate so much I throw them across the room.
This year, I've read eight books so far. Here are a few of them:
2. First Family, by David Balacci. I love Baldacci and this is one of his best. Former Secret Service agents Maxwell and King are hired by the First Lady when her 12-year-old neice is kidnapped after a birthday party at Camp David. Couldn't turn the pages fast enough on this one!
3. Play for Pizza, by John Grisham. We laughed out loud listeing to this one on audio during a recent trip to Texas (yes, I count audio books). Grisham always gets hammered when he leaves the court room, but I loved this one. Here's the blurb from Amazon: Third-string Cleveland Browns quarterback Rick Dockery becomes the greatest goat ever by throwing three interceptions in the closing minutes of the AFC championship game. Fleeing vengeful fans, he finds refuge in the grungiest corner of professional football, the Italian National Football League as quarterback of the inept but full-of-heart Parma Panthers. I felt like I'd actually been to Italy, tasted their food, driven their tiny cars, and basked in those passionate accents. Fun read. Guys, you'll love this one.
4. The Heart's Journey Home, by Jen Stephens. My new friend and fellow Nashvillian Jen Stephens' debut novel from my publisher, Sheaf House! The story tells of Kate Sterling's return to her hometown of Harvest Bay, Ohio, along with her young daughter three years after her husband's death. Kate discovers a second chance at love - make that two chances at love. I'm not usually a straight-romance reader, but I really loved this story. Great job, Jen!
5. Tell No Lies, by Julie Compton. A little steamier than I usually read, but a story right out of today's headlines. I couldn't put this one down, even though I really hated the protagonist. Consider yourself warned if you grab this one off the bookshelf.
6. Marley & Me, by John Grogan. I already mentioned this one in a previous blog, but I have to say it may be one of my Top Ten all-time favorites. Haven't seen the movie, but I'm confident it can't come close to this beautifully written, hilarious story. Here's what Amazon had to say about it: "Grogan, a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and his wife, Jenny, were newly married and living in West Palm Beach when they decided that owning a dog would give them a foretaste of the parenthood they anticipated. Marley was a sweet, affectionate puppy who grew into a lovably naughty, hyperactive dog. With a light touch, the author details how Marley was kicked out of obedience school after humiliating his instructor (whom Grogan calls Miss Dominatrix) and swallowed an 18-karat solid gold necklace (Grogan describes his gross but hilarious operation)." The subtitle is "Life and Love with the world's worst dog." He may be, but any dog-lover will fall head over paws (sorry) for this lovable Lab. One of the funniest books I've ever read and one I'll definitely read again. I gave it 5 stars!
Now it's your turn. What's on YOUR bookshelf? What have you been reading this year?