Once more, I continue to work on my New Year's Resolutions. I basically have a few related resolutions (about reading books) that I will continue until the end of the year, and won't know whether I will be successful until then. Yes, I am still counting my steps and working out with my treadmill and Wii although I don't always make my 10,000 daily steps; however, most days I do manage at least the recommended thirty minutes a day of exercise. I didn't take as many steps as I managed in January though. I had over 200,000 in January and only managed 169,000+ in the month of February. Of course, it should be noted that there are also three more days in January.
Now, about the continuing resolutions that concern reading more books (than last year). For my bookcrossing.com challenges related to reading, I have been working on two resolutions or challenges. The first challenge is the SIY, also known as the Set-It-Yourself Challenge,in which I am hoping to read sixteen books of my own choosing. So far, I have managed to complete six of the sixteen books and am working on three others from that list at the moment. Considering I have the rest of March to complete my choices, I have my doubts whether I will complete the other ten books. I may, but it will take intense, frantic reading to do so. The second bookcrossing.com challenge is the number of pages read...in my case, I have challenged myself to read at least 20,000 pages this year. As such, I am doing much better with this challenge as any book that I read counts as pages read (I don't calculate the pages until a book is completed). This month I have read 1925 pages, which, when added to January's total of 2615 pages, makes my total for the year 4540 pages read. Another way to say it is that I have completed about 22% of the 20,000 pages that I plan on reading.
As for the books I actually read, they include the following:
Nerd Gone Wild by Vickie Lewis Thompson
Homer's Odyssey: Life with a Blind Wonder Cat* by Gwen Cooper
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England by Brock Clarke
Sidney Sheldon's After the Darkness by Tilly Bagshawe
Once again, this month I have managed to read another diverse set of books. The first, Nerd Gone Wild, was a light romance set in Alaska. An heiress is being protected by a "nerd" who is actually a bodyguard hired by her great-aunt to protect her from unscrupulous fortune hunters like her uncle. Of course, he must keep his cover as a "nerd", and still protect her, but the two still manage to fall in love despite their reluctance to get involved. It was a quick read, a fun read.
Next came a memoir of the cat, Homer, who was adopted by Gwen Cooper. Having lost his sight as a kitten, Homer still manages to live life to the fullest. Nothing seems to deter this cat, and whoever comes into contact with the cat seems to come away with a quite different perspective. What often started as pity for the blind cat soon turns to admiration as the cat is rambunctious, playful, fearless, and more. As a cat lover, I loved the book; my only fear is that I figured the story would end with the cat's death (of old age). However, the author ends with the cat still alive and well. Even those who are "dog people" found this cat to be great. Her parents, who claimed to only tolerate cats, even kept telling Gwen, "if anything should happen to you, well....we want Homer!"
Next came the first book in what is now known as the Millennium Trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson. I had heard a review of this book a few months earlier. Up until that time, I must admit that I had no desire to read this or its sequels, but having heard a review, I was willing to give it a try and received this book as a member of a book ring through bookcrossing.com. It's a very complex novel that contains three intertwined stories--the mystery of the disappearance of a young girl forty years earlier, a journalist who has lost credibility, and a strange Goth girl who is a very savvy computer hacker. Suffice it to say, it was a truly suspenseful, intense read, and I intend to read the next book in the series sometime soon.
Brock Clarke's An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England was one of the books that I chose for my SIY Challenge. I had chosen this book about a year ago from a book box of bizarre, quirky reads (again received through bookcrossing.com), and finally had the chance to read it. It is the story of Sam Pulsifer, a bumbling arsonist who accidentally set fire to the Emily Dickinson house in Massachusetts in his youth. When he finally gets out of prison for his crime, he tries to start anew. However, hiding his past from his wife and kids, comes back to haunt him as other writers' homes begin to be set afire, his lies become exposed, and he is, of course, considered to be the culprit of the mayhem. Overall, I liked the novel, but it was a quirky read that is hard to categorize.
The last book I read was also a book chosen for SIY Challenge. Written by Tilly Bagshawe, Sidney Sheldon's After the Darkness is written in the style of Sidney Sheldon and approved by his family to be called a Sidney Sheldon novel. Although I don't think this author does quite as effective a job as Sheldon, there are similarities in that the story is a thriller with lots of twists and turns. Grace Brookstein is accused of having stashed away billions in a Ponzi-like scheme when her billionaire husband is found dead, presumably by suicide, just as his empire starts to crumble. Betrayed by both family and friends, Grace is sent to prison for her part in the financial meltdown. Proving herself innocent comes at a price as she escapes and is hunted down by the FBI and more. This was a definite page-turner, keeping a reader guessing until the very last page.
Besides reading these five books, I also spent a great deal of time proofing a novel that has just been released for on-line sales like Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. McGowan's Return by Rob Smith will have its official release on April 12th and April 13th at the Lakewood (Ohio) and Huron (Ohio) Libraries. Check out smithwrite.net/gow/return/mcgowans_return.html or www.drinianpress.com for more information on the novel and its release venues.
* Homer's Odyssey...the whole title is much longer, but for brevity's sake I shortened it here.
Causes Nancy Smith Supports
Doctors without Borders
American Diabetes Association