Wednesday, December 31, 2014

on the bookshelf

I just finished the last few minutes of "Full Dark, No Stars" by Stephen King... this is a milestone for me, as it's the 35th book read through in 2014... my goal was in fact 35, and after missing my goal in 2013 (I got to 27 of 30), it's rather exciting.

It almost didn't happen... I read Stephen King's "A Good Marriage" back in July, and earlier this week, started "Big Driver", also by King. I was horrified to learn that these aren't small books, they are in fact novellas, both a part of "Full Dark, No Stars", along with two other novellas. So I did what anyone would do... I downloaded it off of Audible, and read the three novellas--"1922", "Big Driver" and "Fair Extension"--that I had not read yet.

And yes, audiobooks is considered reading... I pay better attention, and I can listen/read while driving, doing dishes, laundry or at work. So there.

But that left a whole in the list? Take out "A Good Marriage" and add the whole set of "Full Dark No Stars", and I still only have 34... so I grabbed my copy of Lou Mongello's "102 Ways to Save For and At Walt Disney World", and read the last 20 pages... I've been reading it all along since it's release earlier this year. So I finished it, and it counts.

I'll go through those in an upcoming post, giving you the list of books I read, and my thoughts and recommendations on them.

But that leads us into 2015... my goal for 2015 is 40 books read. And though I don't have a complete list of books to read in 2015, after reading Jon Acuff's latest post, I decided a small list would be a great place to start... so though there will be at least 30 more on this list under the "already read it", here are the first 10 books I'll likely start with... in no particular order.

But first, here's a couple of re-reads on tap:

This book is part non-fiction, part embellishment,
part horror, part comedy, part strange, all
fantastic.  Like my life.
"Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil" by John Berendt... I haven't read this book in about 15 or 16 years, and remember loving the heck out of it. Ready to jump in early 80s Savannah.

"Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets" by JK Rowling... the first book of 2014 I read was "Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone", and my intention was to re-read the entire series. I try to do it about every 18 to 24 months or so, and I'm overdue now... but instead of "Chamber of Secrets", the second book I read was Elizabeth Smart's excellent "My Story". So, maybe the first book I'll read every year will be a Harry Potter book... or maybe I'll read the rest of the series. Guess we'll find out on January 2nd.

"'Salem's Lot" by Stephen King... my favorite of Stephen King's writings... or, maybe, my favorite one that I'll read and re-read--I think "It" is my favorite, but it's just so, so long that I can't just pick it up whenever.

Now... for the first time reads, these are likely to be my first 10 books read this year.

"Anne of Green Gables" by LM Montgomery... I do need to read more classics, and both this and "Great Gatsby" are on my list for 2015, but I'll likely read Anne first.

"Bossypants" by Tina Fey... I grabbed this one this past weekend, intending on this to be the final book of 2014, until I figured out my "novella" problem. So Tina, who I have really gotten a thing for in the last year or so, will have to wait a few weeks.

"Dark Places" by Gillian Flynn... She's the hottest thing going now in authors, with the explosion of "Gone Girl", but I've learned that it's sometimes the early work that ends up really standing out (see "The Firm" and "Time to Kill" by John Grisham)

"The Disneyland Story" by Sam Gennawey... I think (hope) this is the history of Disneyland, from construction to opening in the late 40s and early 50s. The preview makes it sound like it, but previews have burned me before.

"Do Over" by Jon Acuff... I'll admit it, I'm an Acuff Apologist. I really like the guy personally, and though he does write some boneheaded stuff sometimes, his writing really connects with me--perhaps its because he and I are about the same age and are in the same Pop Culture bubble, or maybe I started reading Acuff Astuff at the right time in my life, or maybe both. This will be released in April.

"Foxcatcher: The True Story of My Brother's Murder, John du Pont's Madness and the Quest for Olympic Gold" by Mark Schultz... there is a movie out there now with Steve Carell, who is getting wide acclaim, and Mark Ruffalo, who is getting some acclaim, and Channing Tatum, who is great in "This is the End", and I'd like to see it. I'm always intrigued by true-life murder mysteries, and I look forward to this one.

She is also the designer of the Purposeful
Planner that I posted on my Facebook page
and Instagram recently.
"Gray Mountain" by John Grisham... Anytime he releases a new book, I pick it, despite my better judgment. More often than not, I'm disappointed by the ending of a story that up until then, was a great tale. However, "Sycamore Row" was excellent from front to back, so we'll see what happens with this one.

"The Simplicity Project" by Corie Clark... I love it when my friends write books, though I then have to go get a copy (and I still need to get a copy of Justin Fisher's new book, "Crossroads: Subtitle Here", and read it in 2015), and my friend Corie wrote a dandy that will hit you in the head--all about decluttering and living much more simple than we all do.

"Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed... this is the book that has Reese Witherspoon in the title role for the movie adaptation. At publishing time of this column, I had not seen it yet, but look forward to the book.

"You Can't Make This Up: Miracles, Memories and the Perfect Marriage of Sports & Televsion" by Al Michaels... When I heard that Al Michaels had a book coming out, I was kind of excited, because he has seen and done nearly everything sports related in the last several decades. Bob Ryan's book is also on my list, but I'll read Michaels book first.

So what about you?  What books are you definitely going to read first in 2015?  And if you said "Based on the stuff you are reading, you'll love ______", what would be in that blank?

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