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I’ve been a busy reader this year. I have set a goal of reading fifty books this year, and I am on pace to achieve it. Yay!

Last year I set the same goal and only reached 34 books. Boo!

So what’s different with this year? Well, I am keeping a journal. In the front, I write notes about the book: new or nebulous words, interesting lines, examples of technique, and general notes about the novel and the author’s writing. In the back of the book I maintain a to-read list and a daily log. I work this list from back to front. When the back meets the front, I will start a new journal. I have shelves full of unused journals I’ve picked up over the years.

Best Book

The Bluest Eye. This book still sits with me.

Enjoyed The Most

Orphan Train. The American immigration story, engaging.
The Fault In Our Stars. A simple story and trite writing, but Green knows how to create and maintain tension.
Rawi can write!

Enjoyed The Least

The Crying Of Lot 49. Maybe if I was an adult in the 60’s I might catch on to it. It’s an unresolved conspiracy story. Like Lost or X-Files, you never find truth. A frustrating read.

Worst Book

Hunting Badger. This must have been released by mistake. Disastrous gaps and redundancies.

Learned Most From

Toni Morrison, hands down.
Rawi Hage is a first rate writer.
I made lots of Atwood notes.
Crummey is a fantastic, modern literary writer.

Genre Breakdown:

Literary: 8
Craft: 3
Historical Fiction: 1
YA: 1
Crime: 1

Rating Breakdown:

5 star: 5
4 star: 3
3 star: 5
2 star: 0
1 star: 1

Difficulty Breakdown:

5 star: 4
4 star: 3
3 star: 3
2 star: 4
1 star: 0


Male: 8 authors
Female: 6 authors

The List:

Finished Title Author Sex Country Genre Rating Difficulty
Apr-10 A Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood F CA Literary *** ****
Mar-29 The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison F USA Literary ***** *****
Mar-18 Orphan Train Christina Baker Kline F USA Literary *** **
Mar-13 Sweetland Michael Crummey M CA Literary ***** ***
Mar-06 The Crying Of Lot 49 Thomas Pynchon M USA Literary *** *****
Mar-01 Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them Francine Prose F USA Craft ***** *****
Feb-24 The Fault In Our Stars John Green M USA YA **** **
Feb-18 Beloved Toni Morrison F USA Literary ***** *****
Feb-04 The Trade Fred Stenson M CA Historical Fiction **** ****
Jan-31 The Maples Stories John Updike M USA Literary **** ***
The Career Novelist: A Literary Agent Offers Strategies for Success Donald Maas M USA Craft *** **
Jan-17 Carnival Rawi Hage M CA Literary ***** ****
Jan-17 Bird By Bird Anne Lamott F USA Craft *** ***
Jan-05 Hunting Badger Tony Hillerman M USA Crime * **