"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy New Year, part 1

I figured since I wished all of you a Merry Christmas a couple of weeks ago that it was only fitting for me to post a semi-official New Year's update. You see, this year's resolutions (snicker... I seldom make resolutions; this year was different.) were really all about me. Those goals were: #1--read 30 books, and #2--learn how to knit and complete two knitting projects. I'll give you a bit more back story and then fill you in with my progress.

I must read Noble if only because
David Hulegaard is such a nice guy 
1. The Reading List: If you scroll down, you'll find my GoodReads widget in the sidebar to the left. You can scroll through all of the books I've read this year and click on any of the titles to see my review (if I've written one). Continue to scroll down, almost to the bottom of this page, and you will find the GoodReads widget that shows my progress vs. my goal. My original goal was 30. My current goal is 90, but I suspect I will hit 100 by the end of the year as I am currently reading number 88. To the right, almost level with that widget is my book list. It shows all of the books I've read, in order, along with their authors and my ratings and any books I'm currently reading. My personal rating system is below that list. Yeah, call it OCD if you want, but it works for me.

So how did this happen? Well, I was poking around Amazon late last year and found the Kindle for PC app available for FREE and downloaded it. I haven't seriously read in years. I read the Harry Potter series and a few other novels here and there, but I used to have an insatiable appetite for books. Somehow, I allowed myself to get away from that. A friend of mine hooked me up with a mess of ebooks right around Christmas and, on Christmas Day (night), I began reading Twilight. Don't judge me. I've always been a vamp tramp and I seriously had to find out what all the hype was about. By the time I finished that first book, I decided to make reading one of my goals for 2011. I figured 30 books, just a bit more than 2 per month, would be a good pace. I think I actually finished book number 30 some time in late February or early March. I immediately upped my goal to 50, later to 75, and since then I've raised the goal by 5 books every time I hit the mark. 

the free Kindle apps are available here

How have I chosen my books? Well, if you've looked at the list, you've noticed that it's chock full of paranormal fiction. I've been a paranormal and crime/mystery junkie my whole life and, since I started with the Twilight series, I simply wanted more of the same, only better. Melissa, a friend of mine on Twitter is just as interested in para-fiction as I am and has recommended at least half of the books I've read. I'm currently plowing my way through the Dresden Files Series by Jim Butcher on her recommendation. Another great find for me was a Kindle search on Amazon for FREE ebooks. This was a major coup because it let me sample a couple of authors few people have even heard of and it turned me on to Jon F. Merz, which leads me to. . .

five stars to Parallax by Jon F. Merz
Any standouts? Heck yeah! First, and most surprising, is Stephenie Meyer. WAIT! before you roll your eyes and dismiss me as a kook, hear me out. The Twilight books were pretty good. I think they'll go down in history not because of their quality (which is lacking), but because of their popularity. Stephenie Meyer is not a great writer, but she can create a character that draws you in. The Twilight books are not on my list of outstanding reads, another of her books is. That book is The Host. I absolutely sobbed while reading it which is the reason I gave it five stars. Next, if you haven't read The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, get thee to Amazon! I couldn't put it down. I believe I read all three books in four or five days. And I've saved my favorite, Jon F. Merz, for last. In one of my searches on Amazon I came across his FREE short story, "Dead Drop" and I was hooked. I ended up reading everything he's written to date starring a smartass vampire ninja (yes, I said vampire ninja) by the name of Lawson. Think Robert B. Parker meets  Stephen King and you've got one hell of a literary ride. I actually reviewed the most recent Lawson novel, The Kensei, as the best book I'd read so far this year. However, I read it before I read The Hunger Games. (Sorry Jon.) My favorite of his books so far is not a Lawson book at all; it's a freestanding novel called Parallax and it is fabulous. So while none of  Jon Merz's books is the #1 read of my year, he's definitely my #1 author. (Unfortunately, when JFM decided to give away a bunch of ebooks, I had already purchased every book that would have made me eligible for the freebies. Oh well.)

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
has been on my reading list for over 20 years
So what's next? Hmmm, that's a tough one. I'm currently working my way through Small Favor by Jim Butcher, which is the tenth in the Dresden Files series. I plan to finish that series before I move on to another. I'm considering many options including A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, the Moon Trilogy by C. L. Bevill, and (continuing) the Dreamhouse Kings series by Robert Liparulo. Of course, there's always the Sookie Stackhouse books (the inspiration for True Blood) by Charlaine Harris, or the Rogue Angel series by (numerous authors, including Jon F. Merz, writing as) Alex Archer. . . I figure I may as well make 2011 my paranormal year because I'd really like to spend some time with another literary passion: The Russians. Think Nabokov, Dostoyevsky, or Tolstoy. I can do that next year. After all, both War and Peace and Lolita have been on my reading list for more than 20 years. What's a few more months?

Next week we'll talk about knitting.

Happy reading!

By the way. . .I'm actually well over 100 books for the year; I'm just too embarrassed to admit to some of the trash I've read. ;)


  1. hehe I have the kindle app on my iphone and I only get the free books (cuz I'm cheap). Some are really good, and some I am also embarassed to admit I read. I loved Twilight and Harry Potter too though!

  2. I'm completely addicted to my Kindle app to the point that I'm actually weighing the possibility of making my crochet patterns available in .mobi format so they can be used with the Kindle app.

    I'm thrilled that there are so many classics available for free. I LOVE pre-20th century European lit.

  3. I'm ashamed to admit to some of the trash I write! :) I love your blog!!!

  4. Thanks Shaina! You may have noticed that I actually admitted to reading some of your trash. ;)

  5. i love the kindle app!! best thing i ever dl for my phone. it's esp great when i travel via plane bc it's not much space to always have a book around :)

  6. Right? I have almost 400 books on my Kindle app. I've even read about 150 of them.