It is now March, and I carry on with my New Year's resolutions. I was more successful with some of my resolutions than others. First, this pedometer geek, while still somewhat slacking, managed to increase my steps from not only December's dismal numbers, but also January's step counts. I had over 119,000 steps recorded on my pedometer for the month of February. It was an increase of over 22,000 steps over January's numbers, and overall I increased my daily average to over 4200 steps per day (including one day in which I succeeded in reaching the goal of 10K). While my results are not as good as I would wish, I still have room to improve and perhaps I will eventually succeed in averaging 10K every day.
For the month of February, my resolution to read more (and hopefully, quality) books continues. I completed eleven books, one of which I have been reading for several months. In my pages-read Bookcrossing.com challenges, I fared pretty well, but that is because I finally completed Anna Karenina after nearly four months of reading. I never count my pages read until a book is complete. Because of the length of this novel, I read over 3700 pages in February with a year-to-date total of over 6600 pages, which is approximately a fourth of my goal of 25,000 pages for the year. I will probably revise my goal upward later on, but for now, it will remain where it is. In my Bookcrossing SIY (set-it-yourself) challenge, I completed three more of my chosen titles last month. That leaves me with the daunting task to complete the last seven books I've chosen to read this quarter. While I have since completed one of the seven and am currently reading three of them, I have yet to start three others. As I said, I have a daunting task ahead of me. Once again, I may have over-reached in this challenge, and as I start planning for the second quarter's SIY challenge, I may have to be more realistic in my expectations to this challenge as I tend to read so many other books that are not on my SIY list. Regardless, with a little more than half a month to go, I have my (reading) work cut out for me.
Although not necessarily related to my reading resolutions, I have also chosen to participate in some Goodreads.com challenges this year. Like last year, my goal there was to read at least one hundred books. I have added a couple of other challenges called Crazy Challenges for a bit of fun. The first one is called the A to Z book challenge. The goal is to read a book of at least 150 pages in length with a title starting with each letter of the alphabet. The other challenge is the A to Z author challenge, and like the former challenge, it is to read a book with an author whose last name starts with every letter of the alphabet. Fortunately, there is no rule against using the same books for both lists, but despite this, my lists are not identical. For me, the challenge will be to find new authors as I have my favorite authors that I like to read. I think that is the idea behind these Crazy Challenges...to find new authors and books that may not have been discovered otherwise. Personally, it will also make me read some books that I have on my overflowing bookshelves that I may have overlooked and shoved into the some-day-I-will-read-this category and move them into a more prominent place in the queue of reading material. Anyhow, that's my hope.
As I mentioned above, I completed eleven books in February. Per usual, it was a diverse group of books. I read quite a few contemporary romances, some general fiction titles, a classic, a Tween novel that I received as an ARC, and one nonfiction book. Two of the novels are on the 1001-BYMRBYD list, and four of the books were e-books. Six of the authors were new to me.
In February, I completed/read the following books:
The Left-Handed Woman by Peter Handke
Wild Thing by Josh Bazell
Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell
The Prince (Original Sinners #3) by Tiffany Reisz
The Gift of Acabar by Og Mandino and Buddy Kaye
Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard *
Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards *
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy *
The Angel (Original Sinners #2) by Tiffany Reisz
A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff
One of my notable reads was Candice Millard's Destiny of the Republic. She interweaves the story of the reluctant President of the United States, James Garfield, his assassin Charles Guiteau, and his doctors and their treatment of his wound. It is a fascinating glimpse into the history of a man who could have been a remarkable President had he had the opportunity. He was a reluctant candidate for the office as he was drafted through the convention process after people from various states switched their allegiances and votes to him. He was elected after more than sixty rounds of convention ballots gave him the nomination of his party. Even then the Republican party was fiercely divided into factions, one of which was the Stalwarts. Graft and corruption abounded as backroom deals were made to add Charles A. Arthur as his running mate. One man, Conkling, was a political boss who fought Garfield at every turn while controlling Arthur's every action. The history of the madman and assassin Charles Guiteau is also revealed in this book. He felt he was called by God to kill Garfield; he further felt he was a man of destiny himself. Throughout his life, he was basically penniless, stealing from friends and neighbors alike. He had no qualms about not paying for railroad fares or room and board at hotels and rooming houses. Meeting a man once, especially a man who was considered important or connected, was enough for him to claim deep affection and friendship for the man. He would then expect that this person would secure him a position befitting Guiteau's own importance. Further, Millard discusses the way Garfield was treated by his physicians especially Dr. Bliss. Ignoring Lister's claim of disinfecting wounds with carbolic acid, Dr. Bliss regularly probed Garfield's wounds with dirty fingers and instruments until Garfield ultimately succumbed to infection, rather than the bullet wound. All in all, the book is fascinating reading about a man who was extremely intelligent, had great potential, and died at the hands of a madman and his physicians. Garfield's history is truly worth reading.
As for my resolution about completing my needlepoint canvas this year, I made little progress in February. I added some more stitches, but not enough. I need to get back to it, and my reading.
* SIY challenge books
Causes Nancy Smith Supports
Doctors without Borders
American Diabetes Association