Thursday, April 6, 2017


50-Book Challenge


7 mysteries
3 romances
1 women's fiction
1 memoir

Total for January: 12


6 mysteries
10 romances
2 memoirs

Total for February: 18


7 mysteries
1 thriller
4 romances
2 writing books
1 unpublished book-length ms.

Total for March: 15

From the above bare facts, you might conclude my favorite reads are romances. The ones listed are all re-reads of books I've collected over the years. My best time for reading romances (or any re-reads) is when I'm pressed for time and need something to read while I eat my meals.

My actual favorites are mysteries. The thriller mentioned in the March list is an oldie but goodie by Graham Greene, The Human Factor, and is actually a spy story. The draw for me is the author.

Several on the list of mysteries are by Dick Francis, a British jockey turned author at the end of his riding career. Since Dick Francis's death in 2009, his son Felix has been writing. The books are not a series, though there are a handful with recurring characters. 

Other authors in the mysteries are Anne Hillerman; Rex Stout; Patricia Moyes; Ellis Peters; and Jacqueline Winspear.

Non-fiction is also high on my list, though not everyday fare.

Roger Angell's Let Me Finish is about his growing up in New York City and his life as a journalist (he wrote often about baseball). Heather Lende's If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name chronicles her life in Alaska.

Frederick Buechner's Now and Then is part 2 of a 3-part memoir. This one is subtitled A Memoir of Vocation. (Buechner is an ordained Presbyterian pastor and has written a number of books on faith.)

I've read several books on writing memoir, but none has reached me like Marion Roach Smith's The Memoir Project; the content is taken from the classes she taught in New York. 

Dennis Palumbo's Writing from the Inside Out is also a re-read. Much good advice and encouragement there.

The unpublished ms. is my own, called The Growing Season, a story set in the Great Depression of the 1930s. I have notes about the story going back to the early 1990s, though much of the writing was done after 1999. Happily, the story holds up for me, and I still like it.

The above are the books I've read. There were also magazines, small booklets of devotions for Lent and for everyday use.

Not to mention: texts; emails; snail mails (letters!); and cereal boxes. I don't read many cereal boxes nowadays, because I have beaucoup books. But there are blogs, articles, how-to advice on making/doing nearly anything you can imagine.

Of the 16 authors represented in the books I've read, 9 are American, 7 are British. The books by the Brits outnumber those by the Americans 31 to 14. This surprises even me!

Hope your reading life suits you and your lifestyle.

Read on!

from Frederick Buechner


  1. Wow, you're much more detailed than I am! I've read 19 books, plus started five or so that I couldn't finish. It's not my best reading year, but not my worst, either.

    1. I've kept a list for each month, then couldn't resist analyzing it. That's what comes of having kids with Ph.D.s in sociology and research!

  2. Wow, quantity and quality. Nice analysis. Watch you mailbox for more reading material. ;)

    1. Thanks for the kind words! It wasn't much of a project, so the report isn't what you might expect. But I'll submit my bill! :-)
      Always eager for more reading material. (I must be a little crazy.)