Book Reviews & Discussions, reading, The Writing Life


As I sit and write this, we have used up 212 days of the year. Usually, I commit to reading goals of 30 or more, but this year for some reason, when I set that goal in January, I wrote down 15. Only 15. With 153 days left, I’m at 18, and I thought I’d throw out my list to you guys.

Always interested to hear your thoughts on any of them – loved it, hated it, throw it back at me. Just nod if you can hear me.

Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t expect much from myself this year. Maybe life already knew what it had in store for me. Was there a sign I saw subconsciously that announced that things would be tossed at me at a rate I couldn’t keep up with? Things mostly being personal loss. Things that made me lose concentration and passion for both my writing and reading for a few months. But I’ve hitched myself to one of the clouds that barely form in sunny Florida and am riding it all the way to the end of 2019.

Okay, here we go…

  • We Are Not Ourselves, Matthew Thomas
  • The Story Grid, Shawn Coyne
  • Passing, Nella Larsen
  • The Alice Network, Kate Quinn
  • Revolutionary Road (again), Richard Yates
  • A Tragic Honesty: The Life & Work of Richard Yates, Blake Bailey
  • Vinegar Girl, Anne Tyler
  • A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara
  • A Poetry Handbook, Mary Oliver
  • The Moons of Jupiter, Alice Munro
  • Writing & Selling Short Stories and Personal Essays, Windy Lynn Harris
  • Seventh Heaven, Alice Hoffman
  • The Vagabond, Collette
  • The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
  • Daddy Love, Joyce Carol Oates
  • The Collected Stories, Mavis Galant
  • The Rules of Magic, Alice Hoffman
  • Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Tom Robbins

I can’t pick just one favorite – what respectable bibliophile could? But if you give me two, I’ll take A Little Life and The Alice Network. *RR by Yates can’t count, because it’s an annual read, but the Yates bio is my fav non-fiction and is aptly titled, unfortunately. A Little Life is easily the most creative though – to keep your attention for over 700 pages, it has to be. Touching is all I can say.

They all served their purpose and my moods at the time, so I’m grateful to have read them all. But best yet, looking at the measly list, I am definitely ready to double down.

Up next? I did just get Infinite Jest, but that’s another huge one (over 1,000 pages), so I may tackle a couple of others laying over there on the horrifically-carpeted floor…or one of the ten or so others sitting patiently in my Kindle.

That’s it for now, friends. I hope your tomorrow is bright and we meet again soon.


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