Can you believe we are already more than halfway through 2016? Personally, I cannot. I made a bunch of goals for this year, and the time has flown by so fast, I haven’t even checked in on them in months.
But one thing I have been keeping on top of is my 2016 Book Challenge. I decided I wanted to read 36 books this year, after about a year and a half of reading less often than I’d like. Now, halfway through July, I’m on my 21st book, so I’m ahead of schedule! I think I’ve struck a pretty good mix of fiction and nonfiction overall, though in the last few months, I’ve skewed heavily towards the fiction side. I am also realizing, now that I see all of the books together in one list, that I’ve definitely renewed my interest in cozy mysteries. Though for the sake of diversity, and trying to catch up on what’s hot right now, maybe I should lay off those for the second half of the year!
Originally, I’d intended to read only new books (that is, books I haven’t read yet), but I didn’t write that down or really commit to it in any way…and thus, I am now rereading the entire Harry Potter series. I haven’t read a HP book in years, and given that this is sort of the summer of Harry Potter, with the new film and play debuting, I thought now would be a perfect time!
Check out what I’ve been up to below, and some selected mini reviews, as well as my first check in on books 1-8 here. And of course, please feel free to leave suggestions on books I should check out! Whenever I finish one book, I’m always at a loss as to what to start next!
9. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin–I really wanted to see Brooklyn in theaters, but I almost never watch a movie before I read the book, unless I have no intention whatsoever of reading the books (um…James Bond….). By the time I finished this one, the movie wasn’t in theaters any longer and I still haven’t seen it, but from the reaction of others, this might be the first book in by experience where the movie is actually better (I know…blasphemy). I just couldn’t get in to Ellis’ character, she felt too emotionless and robotic for most of the book, and then just sort of a jerk at the end. She didn’t deserve either of those guys!
10. 5 AM Miracle by Jeff Sanders–I’m just one of those people that is very interested in productivity. If you are as well, this is a quick, interesting read.
11. The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks–I haven’t read a Sparks book in years and this book reminded me why. No Sparks book will ever top The Wedding.
12. Death by Diamonds by Annette Blair–a cozy mystery. A decent one, if you’re into cozy mysteries too.
13. Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight–this is a parody of Marie Kondo’s book, but a very funny and helpful one. I really enjoyed the author’s sense of humor and writing style, but I also appreciated her message–we can’t all care about all the things. We each have a limit to the number of different things we can devote time to, and we have to choose which ones make sense for us. But, more importantly, there should be no shame or judgment in what you choose to prioritize.
14. Emmi’s Pride by Jill Denton–This is a book written by one of our very best contributors, Jill Denton. It’s the first of a series called the Second Saga, which follows the lives, careers, and romances of the women in the fictional rock band, Second. For more on this book, and Jill, check out the author interview we did with her here!
15. Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins–Finally read it, and I, too, compared it to Gone Girl, but thought it was sooo much better. Even if I did find the ending a bit predictable, the rest of the story was so much more engaging and suspenseful, in my opinion.
16. Murder of a Bookstore Babe by Denise Swanson–another cozy mystery. I’m not a huge fan of the Scumble River series, but it’ll do in a pinch.
17. The Defining Decade by Meg Jay–this was only one of two nonfiction books this time around. The book was written by a practicing psychologist with years of experience working with twenty-somethings. I get so frustrated by all of the millennial bashing I see everywhere–how young people are entitled and lazy–it was nice to get a professional’s opinion on what’s really going on with twenty-somethings, and some insight into why. It’s a bit self-helpy at times, and a bit “pop psychology” but as a twenty-something myself, I found the psychology and cultural examination very interesting.
18. Three Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell–as a book nerd and a book editor, a book about the golden age of the book industry is directly up my alley. Though this book was very long and took me a while to get through, I loved the peek into my chosen industry during a time so much different than the one I know. The book follows three twenty-somethings in New York City during the age of lavish publishing parties and three martini lunches, when Greenwich Village was the ultimate hipster hideout. The stories of Cliff, Miles and Eden twist and weave together, telling three very different stories in the same setting. If you’re a book nerd, and NYC nerd or a historical fiction nerd, I think you’ll enjoy this book.
19. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J K Rowling–because, duh.
20. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J K Rowling–blowin’ through ‘em.
There are also at least two books I’ve started, but haven’t finished. The first, One More Thing, by BJ Novak, I just couldn’t get into. I don’t think I’ll be picking that one up again. But the second, The Lake House, by Kate Morton, was just a result of having to return it to the library before I could finish. I’ve got a beach vacation coming up and that will be first on my read list! If you haven’t read Kate Morton before, I highly recommend her. If you love period fiction, you’ll love her. Many of her books weave multiple story lines together, and they usually bridge between present day and the World War II era. I’ve always loved that period for fiction, so her books are a slam dunk for me. I recommend starting with The Secret Keeper!
What are you reading this summer? Let us know below, or by using the #BEdigitalbookclub hashtag on social media!