February went by like a flash because I read so many great books and one not so great one. My 2018 reading challenge is moving along at a nice pace and I am pleased. One of my favorite past times is escaping into a book. Here we go.
Books 1 and 3: The Road to Grace (The Walk #3) and A Step of Faith (The Walk #4) by Richard Paul Evans. Richard Paul Evans. This series is about a man who loses everything an sets off to walk across the country. At the end of each book Richard Paul Evans drops a literary bomb in the last few pages and leaves you hurrying up to download the next one so you can find out what happens. This series has not disappointed me. I haven’t read book 5 yet because I’m not ready to let this story go yet.
Book 2: The Address by Fiona Davis. This book was recommended to me by one of my reader buddy fellow nurse coworkers. This book is a historical fiction about The Dakota in New York City. It goes back and forth between the late 1800’s and 1985 where a young woman uncovers information about her family while renovating an apartment in the building. Wow just wow. This is a book I thought about periodically throughout my day when I wasn’t reading it. I couldn’t put this down. The ending was a pleasant surprise.
Book 4: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. This is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read probably 12 of her books over the past 14 years. I had the privilege of meeting her back in October when she gave a talk at a local university, (my BSN Alma Mater) about her book The Nightingale. The Great Alone takes place in the Alaska wilderness in the mid 1970’s, when a Vietnam Vet moves his family there to start a new life. This book was intense, powerful writing. I’d highly recommend.
Book 5: White Houses by Amy Bloom. Disclosure first. I am not in any way shape or form prejudice against the LGBTQ community. This book is a fictionalized account of the “first friend” relationship that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt had with female reporter Lorena Hickok. I had high hopes for this book. I enjoy history and details about real people in history. Maybe it was a post Great Alone and The Address depression and with drawl I was in but this book just didn’t do it for me. It was difficult to follow in some parts and it dragged on too long. Sorry.
That’s all for now. I’ll be back with a review of my March books in April. I’ve got some good ones lined up.
A few years ago I downloaded the Goodreads application onto my iPhone. Goodreads allows readers to track and rate books with other readers. I used it for a few months but found it tedious to to try to remember all the books I’ve read in my lifetime of reading, search for them and put them on my list of read books. Eventually I got bored with it and stopped using it. I had considered deleting the application from my phone but I never did.
On New Years Day I noticed on Facebook that a Goodreads friend and coworker of mine had joined the 2017 Reading Challenge. “Hmm, why not”, I thought so I joined the challenge and committed to reading 41 books this year. Two days ago I finished my first book of the 2017 reading challenge.
The book, “The Secret Keeper” by Kate Morton was selected for my book club’s January meeting. If you like books with secrets from the past, this is a book for you. Like every good book I read, I found myself thinking about the book during my work day and looking forward to evening reading time. I savored every chapter and the way the author kept me guessing until the very end. As I always do at the end of a good book, I felt a sense emptiness because I had completed the book. Ironically, I’d been thinking about reading this book for a few years but never really committed myself to it because the summary kind of interested me but didn’t dazzle me until someone in my book club suggested it. That’s the benefit being part of a book club. My book club has nine personalities. Eventually you’ll read books you may not have thought about reading but are really happy you did.
The second book of my 2017 Reading Challenge is “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shutterly. I went to see the movie last weekend at a historic movie theater in my city which was the perfect place for this movie. Ordinarily I’d prefer to read the book before seeing the movie but when my husband found out the movie would be at this really cool old theater, we jumped at the chance to go. Once the movie began I knew immediately that I wanted to read this book. One of my book club friends joined us at the movie that night. A few days later we were both owners of the book.
I’ve owned a Barnes and Noble Nook for over four years now. I’ve enjoyed the convenience of carrying multiple books on one device when I go on vacation and instantly, sometimes impulsively downloading a book the minute I decided I want to read it. Some people fly by the seats of their pants. I read by the seat of my pants. When I want to read a book, I want to read it right now, not when the library or bookstore has it available and not when I can find time to get there to go pick it up. Sometimes I miss holding a book though. Holding a book, studyng the cover and touching the pages feels more personal to me. So lately I’ve been going to the library or buying the actual book instead of downloading it.
Hidden Figures is sitting to the left of me on my desk as I write this. It is in paperback and I enjoy moving my fingertips over the smooth surface of the cover. The colors appeal to me. I hate to judge a book by it’s cover but sometimes it’s the cover of the book that draws me to the book when I am in a bookstore. I look at the faces of the women on the cover of the book. These actresses did such a wonderful job portraying the women this movie is about. I look forward to opening the book, reading the words, putting myself into the time period of this book and losing myself.
For all you lifetime readers out there, which book will you read next?
The Appalachian Trail is only something that has recently entered my subconscious mind. I’d heard people mention it but never really gave it another thought because I was unaware of it’s significance. One day while we hiking our favorite trail, my husband told me about this couple he knew of when we were in our 20’s (friends of a friend) who were going to take several months off to hike the Appalachian Trail right after they got married. They’d spent months planning, preparing, buying gear and taking practice hikes. Four months before their wedding, the groom dumped the bride and the hike was cancelled.
Curious about the significance of the Appalachian Trail I decided to look for a book. I downloaded a book onto my nook entitled “Hiking Through: One Man’s Journey to Peace and Freedom on The Appalachian Trail” by Paul V. Stutzman. The author of this book tells the story of how he lost his wife to cancer. After his wife died he continued to work at the restaurant he’d spent his entire career at until he realized he couldn’t do it anymore. In just two months he planned his hike and headed to Georgia to do the Georgia to Maine 2176 mile 300 mountain hike on the Appalachian Trail. His reason for this hike was to work through his grief and find his purpose again.
The author openly discussed his wife’s illness, his childhood, past and his regrets. He’s a deeply religious man and his relationship with God was a strong influence throughout this experience. In the book he stated that hiking the AT “mirrored his spiritual journey” as he sought out the gift of hope and new life. His descriptions of nature, the people he encountered along the way, the culture of the AT, his struggles on the trail, what he learned and his conversations with God left me feeling fulfilled when he completed the AT hike. I read this book last week. I loved it and absolutely could.not.put.it.down. It made me feel good and gave me great admiration for those who have hiked through the AT.
Spiritual Journey? Physical Challenge? Long distance hike? Nature? Count me in! I’m putting this on my bucket list. I told my husband about this book and asked him if he’d be interested in hiking the AT. He quickly said yes. I don’t know how or when this will materialize for us but I do know the universe will present it to us at the appropriate time. Until then, it’s research and lots of practice hikes. I’ll be in the woods if anyone is looking for me.
There’s a load of laundry in the dryer that needs to be folded and a load in the washer that needs to be moved to the dryer but I can’t do that. I can’t get out of my chair because my can’t put my book down.
When I am reading a good book it’s as if my mind has left the physical world and stepped into a different world, leaving my body as a shell with eyes that look up from time to time. I become so engrossed that I can no longer hear the sounds of my own environment or what’s going on around me. A building could fall down around me and I wouldn’t notice. Today my family senses that I have again been entranced by a good book so they finish their breakfast, clean up their dishes and go about their day. I am still there reading my book.
It’s a sunny day with a clear blue sky and I know I should be outside but I can’t go. My mind is paralyzed. I can’t put my book down. My husband asks, “Are we going hiking or not”. I know I need to go hiking because stepping into the woods has lately become my way of recharging my battery in preparation for the week to come. The walls are closing in on me now and I begin to have a small panic that no one else can see. Do I put my book down and go hiking or just keep reading?
Ordinarily I would just trudge through the book and be done with it so I can rejoin my own world but today I did put the book down. It was becoming violent and I needed to process what was going on. Plus I couldn’t take my hike away from myself.
My daughter couldn’t go hiking because she’s studying for finals so I went hiking with my husband and son. Each of us entered the woods with our minds full of whatever. As we hiked, we allowed the sound of the breeze through the trees, the flowing river, dirt, sweat, bugs, rocks, climbing over branches, crossing rivers, dipping our feet in the river, steep climbs and green all around us, nature; wash the whatever out of our heads.
I can’t speak for my husband and son but I emerged from the woods with a mind a peace. I came home and finished my book.
The book I couldn’t put down today was: Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson