Tuesday, July 24, 2018

What I'm Reading This Year

My Goodreads goal for this year scares me a little. I bumped it up to 50 books, almost a book a week. With church events, kids, work, family plans, and more, it's a tough goal. But I have a reading list that's 200+ books strong and growing, so I knew I needed to step up my goal this year. 

My go-to genre is mystery/suspense. It's been my favorite since I was a kid reading every Trixie Beldon and Three Investigators book my hometown library had on the shelves. Lately, though, I've been making an effort to branch out a bit more, and I've found some really amazing authors. The Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge is also pushing me to go outside of my reading comfort zone, with categories like "a classic you've been meaning to read" and "a book in translation."

Just over halfway through the year, I'm on track with a total of 28 books read so far. I'm reading a combination of print books and ebooks, with some audiobooks thrown in for my commute. I've found some new genres I love and rediscovered a love for others. Here's what I'm reading a lot of this year:

1. Classics

I love the LibriVox and Audible apps, and for the past couple of years, I've used them to listen to a lot of classics. This year I listened to Pride and Prejudice on Audible (my "classic you've been meaning to read"), and Emma on LibriVox. I'm not sure how I lived almost forty years and never read Jane Austen until this year, but it happened. At least I'm fixing it.

I'm also hooked on classic mysteries. I've read two Agatha Christie novels so far this year and watched two movie adaptations as well. I'd forgotten how much I love classics.

Next on TBR list: undecided. Maybe another Jane Austen, or maybe Little Women, the book that made me want to be a writer--I have an Audible version that would be perfect for my drive to and from work.

2. Split-time stories 

I started 2018 with a bang and read Jaime Jo Wright's The House on Foster Hill. Wow! It's a mystery, but with a unique twist: two mysteries in two time periods, woven together into one amazing story. I just finished her second novel, The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond, and it was just as good as the first book.

Last year I was introduced to split-time stories with two Kristy Cambron books - The Butterfly and the Violin, and The Ringmaster's Wife. I really enjoyed both! I have all of Kristy's books on my Kindle app. I'm looking forward to reading more.

Next on my TBR list: The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck. This fills a category on the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge - "a book recommended by a librarian or indie bookseller."

3. Deep women's fiction

The cover of Elizabeth Byler Younts' The Solace of Water grabbed my attention first, but when I read the description, I was already hooked. This historical/women's fiction set in the 1950's tackles deep issues like race, grief, and friendships that cross boundaries. The fact that one of the main characters is a pastor's wife was a plus, too. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time and may end up being my favorite of 2018.

Last year I read The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell, another book that fit this category. It's a deep, heartbreaking, hopeful story that stayed with for a long time after I finished. I love books that aren't afraid of hard topics and grim realities.

Next on my TBR list: The Space Between Words by Michelle Phoenix

4. YA fairy tale retellings

After a really deep, heavy book, I have to balance it out with something light and fun. I love YA fairy tale retellings! I've spent the past few months reading The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Melanie Dickerson is another favorite. I'm in the middle of The Princess Spy right now.

Deep, realistic fiction is my favorite - heavy hitting books that tackle life's most difficult issues head on. But sometimes life itself is too heavy and difficult, and I want a fairy tale. I want to know that the good guys win, that the princess finds true love, that the good guy gets the girl he loves. I want a guaranteed happily ever after. Fairy tales are a natural fit! And for the record, Beauty and the Beast is still my favorite story ever.

Next on my TBR list: finishing Melanie Dickerson's series (I'm on book five)

What are you reading now? What books would you recommend for me in these categories?