Why I Read

I don’t know when it started, my lifelong obsession with the written word, or why it never faded.

When I was really little, probably about 2 or 3, my mom recorded herself reading stories to me, ringing a little bell so I would know when to turn the pages.  I would plug in those 8-tracks, put on earphones that nearly covered my entire head, and sit for hours, enthralled by the world to be found in books.  Then I started reading to myself, Frog and Toad, Little Bear, the Sweet Pickles gang.  My favorite little Golden book was Nurse Nancy, and I doctored everything and everyone in sight.

Before long I was moving on to the “big kid” books, tearing through Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, the Bobbsie Twins, and Encyclopedia Brown, convinced that I was going to be the next great detective.  Or I had my nose buried in Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms, imagining life in a different time and place.  When I was alone and without a book to read, I created a world that I had found in my books – whether I was solving crimes or harvesting crops or doctoring stuffed animals.   When I played with other kids I even “played library”, checking out books to my siblings that I had neatly stacked (and alphabetized!) on the shelves in our attic!

Things haven’t changed all that much since then, I guess I am still “playing library”…  My reading tastes have grown and changed over the years.  For a while it seemed like I didn’t read anything other than engineering textbooks.  There was another period in my life when it seemed like all I read were picture books.  I no longer have patience for most of the books that I loved as a teenager.  I still love a good mystery and enjoy historical fiction, but I also have found myself reading more non-fiction, trying out new authors and new genres.  I never get tired of looking at amazing picture books and there are a plethora of wonderful books being written for middle-schoolers and teenagers.  I could start reading now, never stop, and I would never finish reading everything on my list.  And there are more wonderful words being written every day.

So why do I do it?  Why am I a reader?  I wish that I could say it was an intellectual or academic pursuit, that it makes me smarter, inspires me to greatness.  It probably does make me smarter.  And I believe that nothing is more inspirational than the written word.  But that’s not why I do it.  I do it because I love it, because it makes me happy – the way that the words sound in my head and on my tongue – the images and the ideas that they can convey in a way that nothing else can – it brings me joy.

2014 Reading Challenges

Well, my reading challenges in 2013 were not all successes.  You think that would cause me to be less aggressive in my challenges for 2014, but with the beginning of the new year I am focused and hopefully optimistic so I’ve taken on even more challenges!  As I work through these challenges I will post my thoughts on my blog and will also include the list of books on this page.  Do you have any reading goals for this year?

2014tbrpilerc

TBR Pile

The goal is to read as many books on your shelf as possible, those books that you haven’t started but that you had when 2014 started.  Since there are tons of books on my to-read pile that I’ve had for ages, this seemed like a good incentive to get me working my way through them!  I totally failed at this last year, but 2014 is going to be the year that I make it happen!  I hope…

I am choosing to participate at the Friendly Hug level, meaning that I am going to try to read 11-20 books that are sitting on my shelves right now!

classics2014

The Classics

The challenge is to read classics (must have been published prior to 1980) this year.  There are no levels, and I only read 2 out of the 3 that I signed up for last year, but I am signing up to read 3 – they will probably mostly be rereads of great books that I read in high school or college that I have always wanted to read again.  It will be interesting to see what some “maturity” (ok – aging) will do to my perspectives.

Nonfiction2014

Nonfiction

The goal is to read more non-fiction books.  I really enjoyed reading more non-fiction in 2013, so I’m looking forward to continuing to explore this genre.  I am signing up for the Explorer level, with the goal of reading 6-10 non-fiction books.

cozies

Cruisin’ Through the Cozies

I love cozy mysteries, they are a quick read and a great escape, a way to break up more intense reading efforts, and there are tons of fun series out there.  I am signing up for the Super Sleuth level and will try to read 13-20 books for this challenge.

chunkster challenge

Chunksters 

Chunksters are adult or young adult books that are over 450 pages in length.  I do read a lot of long books, but I honestly haven’t kept track of how long they are.  I’m going to make a goal of reading 10 chunksters this year and we’ll see how it goes…

 

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What’s in a Name?

This challenge is a lot of fun, and one that I was able to complete last year.  The goal is to read a book that has the following in its title (for a total of books):

  1. Reference to Time
  2. Position of Royalty
  3. A Number Written in Letters
  4. Forename (or names)
  5. Type or Element of Weather  (not yet reviewed)

i love library booksLibrary Books Reading Challenge 

OK, so I signed up for this one because it will be pretty easy for me considering that I work in a library and most of what I read comes from the library.  The goal is to read books from your local library.  I am signing up for the Just Insert IV level with the goal of reading 50 books from the library.  I might have to add books to the list that I have read but not reviewed, but I am going to see if I can make it with just those I review…

 

100 books in a year

100 Books in a Year

The challenge is to read 100 fiction books in a year – any genre and any format.  While I might not get a chance to blog about them all, and may just need to link to my Shelfari and Goodreads profiles to show the overall total, I do think this is a goal I can exceed.  I didn’t start tracking until mid-February in 2013 and managed to read 182 books last year, so as long as I don’t get sidetracked I should be fine!

how many

You Read How Many Books?

How many books can I read in a year – any genre and any format?  I am signing up for Level 3 with the goal of reading over 200 books in 2014.  While I might not get a chance to blog about them all, and may just need to link to my Shelfari and Goodreads profiles to show the overall total, I’m hoping this is a goal that I can meet.  The fact that I’ve started listening to audio books for those quiet times when I can’t focus on a physical book should help!

2013 Reading Challenges

Since this is my first year as a blogger, and I started fairly early in the year, I decided to sign up for some of the reading challenges that are available on other blogs. There is so much out there to choose from, and I wish that I could do them all, but I decided to focus on a handful – something that I can accomplish but that will also challenge me. Luckily I can use the same book to fulfill multiple challenges! As I work through these challenges I will post my thoughts on my blog and will also include the list of books on this page.  Do you have any reading goals for this year?

off-the-shelf-2013-badge

Off the Shelf

The goal is to read as many books on your shelf as possible, those books that you haven’t started but that you had when 2013 started.  Since there are tons of books on my to-read pile that I’ve had for ages, this seemed like a good incentive to get me working my way through them!

I am choosing to participate at the Trying level, meaning that I am going to try to read 15 books that are sitting on my shelves right now!

What I’ve Read So Far:
Thomas Jefferson : The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

classics

The Classics

The challenge is to read classics (must have been published prior to 1980) this year.  There are no levels, but I am signing up to read 3 – they will probably mostly be rereads of great books that I read in high school or college that I have always wanted to read again.  It will be interesting to see what some “maturity” (ok – aging) will do to my perspectives.

What I’ve Read So Far:
Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara
Call of the Wild by Jack London

nerdy

Nerdy Non-Fiction – COMPLETE

The goal is to read more non-fiction books.  I largely read fiction (for a number of reasons I will probably carry on about at a later time), so this will be a great challenge for me.  I am signing up for the Geek level, with the goal of reading 4-6 non-fiction books in 2-3 different categories.

What I’ve Read So Far:
With or Without You by Domenica Ruta (Biography/Memoir)
Thomas Jefferson : The Art of Power by Jon Meacham (Biography/History)
The Thieves of Book Row by Travis McDade (American History/Crime)
I Am A Man by Joe Starita (American History)
Hothouse by Boris Kachka (Business/History)
Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore (Biography/History)

irish

Ireland Reading Challenge

Although I am Irish by marriage only, I love Irish authors and books that take place in Ireland, so this should be a fun challenge.  I am signing up for the Luck o’ the Irish level and will try to read 6 books for this challenge.

What I’ve Read So Far:
Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy
Screwed by Eoin Colfer
City of Hope by Kate Kerrigan
The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern

South2013

Southern Literature – COMPLETE!

Maybe it’s living in a climate where the winter seems to last too long, but I devour books that are set in the south.  I am signing up for the Y’all come back now, y’hear! level with the goal of reading 4 books for this challenge.  Given what I have already read, I will probably end up reading more than that, but that was the highest challenge level available.

What I’ve Read So Far:
Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth
Sweet Tea Revenge by Laura Childs
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Dead, White, and Blue by Carolyn Hart
Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman
The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank

whatsinaname

What’s in a Name 6 – COMPLETE!

This challenge just seemed like a lot of fun to me.  The goal is to read a book that has the following in its title (for a total of 6 books):

  1. Up or down (or equivalent): The Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore
  2. Something you’d find in your kitchen: The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
  3. Party or celebration : The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan
  4. Fire (or equivalent): Inferno by Dan Brown
  5. An Emotion: City of Hope by Kate Kerrigan
  6. Lost or found (or equivalent): Loss of Innocence by Richard North Patterson
  • library

Library Books Reading Challenge – COMPLETE!

OK, so I signed up for this one because it will be pretty easy for me considering that I work in a library and most of what I read comes from the library.  The goal is to read books from your local library.  I am signing up for the Just Insert IV level with the goal of reading 50 books from the library.  I might have to add books to the list that I have read but not reviewed, but I am going to see if I can make it with just those I review…

What I’ve Read so Far (that I’ve blogged about):
1. Week in Winter  by Maeve Binchy
2. The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
3. Uniform Justice by Donna Leon
4. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
5. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
6. The Bookseller by Mark Pryor
7. Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale by Lynda Rutledge
8. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
9. Requiem by Lauren Oliver
10. Sweet Tea Revenge by Laura Childs
11. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
12. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
13. Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth
14. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
15. The Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee
16. Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara
17. One Shot by Lee Child
18. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
19. The Dinner by Herman Koch
20. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
21. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
22. Onion Street by Reed Farrel Coleman
23. Inferno by Dan Brown
24. Golden Egg by Donna Leon
25. Silken Prey by John Sandford
26. Dead, White, and Blue by Carolyn Hart
27. Screwed by Eoin Colfer
28. Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan
29. Deeply Odd by Dean Koontz
30. Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
31. The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan
32. Beautiful Day by Erin Hildebrand
33. Angora Alibi by Sally Goldenbaum
34. Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate Carlisle
35. 12th of Never by James Patterson
36. Body in the Piazza by Katherine Hall Page
37. Close Knit Killer by Maggie Sefton
38. City of Hope by Kate Kerrigan
39. The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern
40. The Thieves of Book Row by Travis McDade
41. The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank
42. Ladies’ Night by Mary Kay Andrews
43. Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver
44. Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
45. The Last Word by Lisa Lutz
46. Bombshell by Catherine Coulter
47. Never Go Back by Lee Child
48. The Whole Enchilada by Diane Mott Davidson
49. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
50. Storm Front by John Sandford
51. W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton
52. Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore
53. Hothouse by Boris Kachka
54. Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore