My New Year's resolutions took a big hit in October. Well, my first resolution to read more books was not significantly hurt, but the totals on my pedometer really took a nosedive. October's numbers were the worst for the year (excluding January in which I had lost my pedometer and was without it for over half the month). October was even worse than February and it has two fewer days.
I only managed to collect a little more than 152,000 steps of which I only had four days with at least 10,000 steps. Aerobic steps faltered, too, as I only had five days in which I recorded any aerobic steps (sustained walking for at least ten minutes), and only a little more than 20,000 of them for the month. I am sure that weather was a factor, but that's no excuse.
However, I suppose much of it was due to the fact that I got another e-reader, a Kindle Fire. Unlike my Nook Simple Touch, the Kindle Fire allows for more Internet accessibility and I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to use it. In the process, I will admit to downloading Angry Birds as one of my first apps. Admittedly, playing this can be a huge time-waster, and probably contributed to my lowered pedometer steps, too. Again, that's not really a good excuse, but hopefully, in November and December, I will post better pedometer step figures if I wish to retain my pedometer geek status.
Reading, though, went a bit better, and I have reached my goal of reading at least one hundred books this year. That threshold was reached in October, and definitely fits into the resolution to read more books (than last year and, perhaps, all previous years). It has only been in the past several years that I have tracked the books I read though.
I completed ten books last month, and forty percent were in e-book format. I have been surprised at how many e-books I have read since acquiring both of my e-readers. I fully expected many of the books in January to be e-books since that is when my husband and I traveled to Kenya. The long flights over and back, as well as during our time in Eldoret, lent itself perfectly to e-books, but I figured that once home, my Nook would be relegated to use during rare times of travel. What I have found is that many (newer) books are available through an e-Pub format and quicker to get through the library's system. Ordering them is as easy as going to the library's eMedia site and requesting them. If an e-book is immediately available, I can download it directly; otherwise, I put in a request and when the e-book is available, I receive an email notice to download the book within forty-eight hours. This system can sometimes overload my reading material as e-books, rather than physical books, because I will get several notifications at one time. Unlike regular physical books, which can be renewed if necessary, there are strict time limits that are imposed on e-books that preclude any possibility of renewal.
I have majorly digressed, though, from reading resolutions, and return now. I participate in a few bookcrossing.com challenges. On my SIY (set-it-yourself) reading challenge, I read four of the fourteen books I chose to read this quarter. While I completed last quarter's SIY challenge, I scaled back on the number of books to read this quarter. On my book pages-read challenge, I read 2778 pages for the month, and my year-to-date total is 29,840 pages read. I had challenged myself to read 30,000 pages in 2012, but at the end of October, I increased it to 35,000 as I knew that I should exceed it easily.
My reads for the month were quite diverse. Mostly, I read fiction: romance, mystery, literature, short story collections, and more. I read only one nonfiction title, Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand. I read one of the books from the 1001-books-you-must-read-before-you-die list, too. I read several books that were the authors' debut as well as some authors that were new to me.
In October I read the following books:
Ordinary Life by Elizabeth Berg
A Secret in Her Kiss by Anna Randol
True Believers by Kurt Andersen
Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand *
Report for Murder by Val McDermid
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie *
Willard and His Bowling Trophies by Richard Brautigan *
Careful What You Kiss For by Jane Lynne Daniels
Alluring Tales: Awaken the Fantasy by various authors (an anthology)
Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue *
As can be seen, the book choices are a diverse lot. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survial, Resilence, and Redemption by Hillenbrand is one book of note. It tells the life story of Louis Zamperini. Louis was a wild young boy who eventually channeled his wildness into long distance running. He even participated in the Berlin Olympics, and nearly cracked the four-minute mile. He probably would have except that World War II occurred. From that point on, his life took a different path. Serving in the Army Air Corps, he and his crew were downed in a plane crash in the Pacific. Only three of the men survived, adrift for over forty days before being saved by the Japanese. Turned over to the Japanese prison camp system, Zamperini and his fellow crewmen lived out the rest of the war as prisoners. Some died, some survived, but all were greatly affected by this harsh existence at the hands of the brutal war prison system. That Zamperini survived the extremely harsh treatment by some of the guards is a testament to the resilience of his spirit. It is a moving book, and well researched, and definitely worth reading. I particularly loved that Louis learned to skateboard in his eighties.
Another book of note is Richard Brautigan's Willard and His Bowling Trophies (A Diverse Mystery). It is of note because it is one of the 1001-BYMRBYD books. It is an odd book, and having completed it, I decided the biggest mystery is why the book is included in this list. I enjoyed reading it, but it never answered the mystery as to how, by whom, and why the trophies were stolen.
The last book to be discussed is Val McDermid's Report for Murder. It is notable in that it was her debut novel. As might be deduced from the title, it is a mystery. What I found notable is that her writing has improved so much from this one to some others of hers (that I had read previously). The plot of this one was relatively simple. It is a case of a hated woman being murdered in what, apparently, is a locked room. It is up to her detective, a journalist, to figure it out. Her later novels, such as A Place of Execution and The Mermaids Singing, are more complex, more dynamic. I have read quite a few of her novels now, and will return again to this author as she always produces a satisfying read.
November finds me reading, among other works, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. It, too, is on the 1001-BYMRBYD list, and although it may take me until the end of the year to complete, I can tell that it is worthy of being on this list. Like the novel, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, that I read earlier this year, it is not a quick read. It is, however, a book that I am enjoying, and I have included it as part of this quarter's SIY challenge, too.
Now, I have got to get out there and walk.
* SIY challenge books
Causes Nancy Smith Supports
Doctors without Borders
American Diabetes Association