With the end of March (and the first quarter of 2013), this pedometer geek is still working on my New Year's resolutions. For many, the common resolutions of diet and exercise have fallen by the wayside with the delivery of Girl Scout cookies. Don't get me wrong; I am neither anti-Thin Mints (as I bought my fair share) nor anti-Girl Scout as I loved being a Scout myself, but I digress.
While I still consider myself a slacking pedometer geek, my pedometer statistics continue to improve, even if there was only a marginal increase over February's numbers. I put over 127,000 steps on my pedometer in March although I didn't put many aerobic steps on it (too few to mention). While I am still not hitting the coveted 10,000-step mark with any regularity, I am getting closer. With the improvement in the weather, I can already see that April's pedometer results may finally take me out of the slacker category. I may also manage a few more days hitting the goal of 10K.
My resolution of reading more books (including all the personal bookcrossing.com challenges that I have going) has been more successful. First off, I completed eleven books during the month. Per usual, they were a mix of both fiction and nonfiction; the novels were of various genres. In my two bookcrossing.com challenges, I was pleased with the results. In my pages-read challenge, I read 3400 pages of text which brought my year-to-date total to over 10,000 pages. I originally declared that I would try to read 25,000 pages throughout the year, but have increased it to 30,000.
In my SIY (set-it-yourself) reading challenge at bookcrossing, I consider it a success. This quarter I chose fourteen books to read. I barely finished up the last one, The Lake by Daniel Villasenor, as March ended. As of today, I have committed to read another fourteen pre-chosen books in this quarter's SIY challenge. This quarter's challenge includes several bookcrossing ring books, three library group reads, and various books that I had stashed away in closets and drawers. It seems only appropriate to do some spring cleaning by reading and then releasing most of them bookcrossing-style.
The books I completed in March are as follows:
The Dark Kiss of Rapture (a novella) by Sylvia Day
The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen
Reflected in You by Sylvia Day
The Honk and Holler Opening Soon by Billie Letts *
Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrel/Patrick Robinson *
Bringing in Finn by Sara Connell *
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis *
Undressing the Devil by Angel Strand *
The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas *
Hot Under Pressure by Louisa Edwards
The Lake by Daniel Villasenor *
As may be seen, they are a diverse set of books. Two of them are nonfiction; the rest are fiction including contemporary romance, suspense, erotica, literary, and general fiction. Unlike previous months, I read very few e-books. Seven authors were new to me though.
Several of the books read are of note and will be discussed here. The first is the nonfiction memoir by Sara Connell. Bringing in Finn is the story of Sara and her husband's issues with infertility, in-vitro fertilization, and the subsequent surrogacy of their son Finnean. What makes this story so compelling is that Sara's mother at age 59 eventually becomes the surrogate for her grandchild. The couple's struggles through infertility treatments, the loss at five months of a set of twins conceived by IVF, and so much more is heartbreaking, yet the selflessness of her mother to carry Finn to term brings their story to a happy conclusion. The memoir was well worth the read, and I learned so much about infertility treatments, in particular IVF, than I previously had known.
The second book of note is Daniel Villasenor's The Lake. It is the debut novel of a poet. I admit to struggling with this one. The author wrote it as if it were a long rambling prose poem (or series of prose poems divided into chapters). Descriptions upon descriptions littered every page, and many of the usual conventions of writing were ignored. There were no quotation marks used when the various characters spoke. Very few commas were used making for difficulty in understanding the what-should-have-been obvious breaks in the narrative. Run-on sentences seemed to be the norm especially with the lack of commas used. The story of philosophy student Zach Brannagan finding himself on a bike trip to discover his roots was not particularly compelling, either. His cure at the hands of a natural healer running an orphanage of abandoned, broken children seemed less a story than a philosophical, poetic journey. Had this novel not been on my SIY challenge list, I probably wouldn't have finished it (and it was a struggle to finish it, too). For those who love literary fiction of descriptive prose poetry, it may fit the bill, but as for me, it was a real disappointment.
On the other hand, Billie Letts' novel, The Honk and Holler Opening Soon, is also probably considered literary fiction. I enjoyed the many characters seen at the roadside restaurant run by the Vietnam vet and his quirky employees. The story was funny, sad, and poignant, too. It reminded me a bit of Fannie Flaggs's novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe'. It was definitely worth this reader's time.
As for my resolution to finish a needlepoint canvas of the midnight swim of a swan, I was less successful than either my pedometer goals or my reading goals. I did get some stitches placed in my canvas, but I still have a long way to go before this one is finished. Fortunately, I have almost nine months to complete it if I am to finish it before Hogmanay (New Year's Eve).
At the moment, I find myself actively reading three books: Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, The Night Circus, and Psychic Cats. Which reminds me, I need to get back to the books.
* SIY challenge books
Causes Nancy Smith Supports
Doctors without Borders
American Diabetes Association