YEARbooks

I set the goal in 2015 to read 130 titles, and surpassed it by nearly 30. You’d think this would make me comfortable enough to shoot for 150 in 2016, but I’m the cautious type. I’m the girl fingering the chip at the roulette wheel while the dealer glares at me to make up my effing mind, then I walk away. Yeah, I aim low because I’m less disappointed in the end.

So I’ll set the bar at 135 and see where the year takes me reading-wise. I anticipate reading a fair number of novellas by virtue of my day job, but otherwise I have a nice TBR built up of new releases and I can’t wait.

2015 wasn’t a bad year for books, either. For me, anyway. A few stats for the number lovers out there:

  • 156 titles read
  • 40 titles by male authors
  • 19 non-fiction titles
  • at least 16 titles authored by people of color

Next year I’m aiming for a more diverse reading list. I see a number of bloggers have rolled out their year-end lists, so here are my favorites published in 2014/5:

gr1A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott:  Stardust doesn’t focus on just one conflict, and anybody up on their Gone With The Wind history knows the making of the film alone could fill many books. Author Kate Alcott balances the tensions behind filming the American Civil War with the looming war in Europe, which filmmakers are discouraged from touching. As Carole’s assistant, Julie deals with scandalous Gable/Lombard publicity while diving headfirst into a relationship with an older, Jewish man determined to do his part for the cause.

I Must Say by Martin Short (audio): I figured eventually I’d read Short’s book, but I’m glad I opted instead for the audio, which is unabridged and enhanced by the parade of voices woven throughout – not just his creations but dead-on impersonations of Larry David, Nick Nolte, etc. I don’t listen to audiobooks because I am visual reader and prefer to have the words in front of me. I don’t think I Must Say would lose anything if read, but if you have a choice get the audio.

gr4The Virgin’s Daughter by Laura Andersen: The Virgin’s Daughter follows Andersen’s excellent Boleyn Trilogy, which is now styled as The Tudor Legacy series to accommodate more stories. You really should read the first three books before this one, though as it stands by itself you won’t be too lost. It’s best, though, to start from the beginning to get a better sense of the alternate history Andersen writes.

The Scent of Secrets by Jane Thynne: Clara Vine has successfully hidden her Jewish roots in order to work in Germany, but throughout the story she worries if she’s able to conceal her involvement as a spy. She’s charged with getting closer to Eva Braun and find information useful to the British government. A subplot involving a secretary for a high-ranking female minister in the Nazi party ties into an early mystery.

gr6The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig: I wanted to read this book because I enjoy historical fiction, including stories set in the post-Edwardian era. The Other Daughter hints at romantic entanglements, but I read it more as hybrid of drama and suspense. Imagine if a later season of Downton Abbey introduced a character who turned out to be Lady Mary’s half-sister, born to Grantham’s “first love.” I read about 80% of the book in one night to see what would happen.

The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery: Nicole, Shannon, and Pam are friends – each woman represents a different age and situation, and while there appears to be little in common they are bonded by loyalty and friendship.

gr7I’ll Never Write My Memoirs by Grace Jones: One will hear legends of Studio 54 where Grace walked around naked – this book has that feel. There’s no shame in revealing moments of shyness, anger (justifiable at that, particularly when people try to screw you come payday), and frustration (we can’t hire you because XYZ). Grace makes no bones about her influence in music, either – I’m still trying to figure out the mysterious “Doris” she speaks of, an entertainer wanting to emulate and collaborate. I have it narrowed to two possible suspects.

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Okay, 2016, bring it.

Photo courtesy of Jez Timms/Unsplash

 

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