Book Reviews & Discussions, Character Development, reading, The Year of Gwendolyn Presley Flowers

Did reading bring you joy this year?

I was thinking today about how people react differently to a year’s end, and I decided most of us fall into one of two groups – those who are scrambling to make resolutions of what they’re going to achieve next year, and those who spend the end of the year reflecting on what has passed through their lives this year.

Making resolutions is something taught to most us as children. It’s fun then, mostly because we haven’t failed at too many things yet. As we grow up, we turn into someone who turns the habit into her own family tradition, or someone like me, who, by the age of 16 tossed it aside for something less daunting.

Of course, I think it’s human nature to contemplate what a new year will bring, and what we can do to bring ourselves more happiness, success, peace of mind etc. But wouldn’t it be nice to just spend these last few weeks thinking about what we enjoyed this year. Sure, accomplishments count, but think past that – what brought you JOY? What did you EXPERIENCE that made you think in a new way?

For me, books play a huge part. Whether it’s discovering a new story to love or finally reading a book that I’ve always meant to. When I worry about growing old, one of the things that bothers me most is realizing there may come a time when I can’t read anymore. Not being able to write will be bad enough, but losing the joy of reading will be worse.

Because of this love for books, the one goal I do try to set each year is a reading challenge. Like thousands of others, I use Goodreads to track my reading. This year, I set a goal of 25 books. It’s the first year I have surpassed the goal, with 31 and am on what will be the last book of the year, so I’ll end at 32. I’ve decided that I won’t read any more in December and just use that to get some good writing time in on the third and final act of The Year of Gwendolyn Presley Flowers.

With all this said, I’m sharing a few of the books I read this year below. They include novels by favorite authors like Elizabeth Strout and Anne Tyler; short stories by greats Richard Yates & Fitzgerald; classic children’s literature such as The Little Prince and so much more. It’s very hard to pick a favorite fiction, but it would be between The Underground Railroad and The Night Circus. My absolute favorite non-fiction was easily Notorious RBG! I loved Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins, and was disappointed in Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment. Finally, my favorite writing craft book was The Emotional Craft of Fiction – AMAZING!


read on…


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