Friday, February 24, 2017


2016 wasn't a stellar year for reading. According to my Goodreads list, I finished 44 books which is 85% of the personal goal I set to read 52 books in 2016. Not too shabby I guess considering that last year was quite the busy year.

I did not set a goal for number of books to read on Goodreads this year, nor did I join any reading challenges. I am simply going to read the next book whether that is one for book club, one I have been wanting to read, one I find on my shelf or on a library shelf, one a friend or family member recommends, or one I am requiring my kids to read for history or literature.

If you're interested in knowing what I'm reading, follow me on Goodreads, but I will occasionally make note of ones here. In that vein, following are some I have read that I think are worthy to note.

The Mysterious Benedict Society - a trilogy by Trenton Lee Stewart
For many years my children have told me to read these books. That I would love them just like they have. Finally at the end of 2016, I read them. My kids were right. These are great books. Four children answer a newspaper add, are tested in strange and unusual tests, and then continue on mysterious assignments to help defeat evil. Delightful characters, interesting plot, good moral point are all included. I think this series would be perfect to add to your read aloud pile.

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
The second novel in the series about Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is very good. Set in Three Pines, a murder by electrocution takes place outside in the winter in sub-zero temperatures on a frozen lake during a curling tournament. CI Gamache must unravel the mystery while author Penny is slowly unraveling the  character of the beloved inspector. My friend recommended this series to me and I am grateful she did. If you like murder mysteries with a feel of Agatha Christie and Murder She Wrote, set in a Canadian town that seems quite quaint and lovely, then begin with the first book, Still Life, and see what you think. My kids, at my request, gave me the first two books in the series as a gift for Christmas. I plan to add the rest of the books. Until then, I just picked up the third in the series, The Cruelest Month, from the library and will begin reading soon.

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Andersen Brower
Another friend recommended this book to me. I borrowed it from the library and was planning to read it while at camp on vacation in January. Wanting to get a jump start, I took it out to start reading in the van which caused my hubby to see and he requested I read it aloud to him. So I did. We both enjoyed this book and the stories of the White House staff who take care of the president and his family. The love the staff has for each family shines through these pages while their dedication to serving them and helping them to feel at home while living in a very public residence is admirable.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
This is also a mystery and part of a series, but it isn't quite as quaint as the Penny novels. Third in the series about detective Cormoran Strike, Galbraith (pseudonym for J.K. Rowling) continues following the hard, gritty, crass and foul-mouthed private detective and his secretary-assistant Robin Ellacott. This book reveals even more about Strike and Robin while we read about the mystery of who sent a leg to their office addressed to Robin and why. Not afraid to dig the depths of human misery and those sins "polite society" doesn't talk about, Galbraith once again shows her writing skill in creating characters who are so real with a plot so fascinating, that the book is hard to put down.

The Complete Essays by Michel de Montaigne
This is the book I am currently reading for book club. Although we are not reading all of it, we are reading all of what Susan Wise Bauer suggests in her book, The Well Educated Mind which are the lists we are following for our book club. I have found it interesting although I freely admit that at times I am not sure what he is trying to say. Montaigne does like to go on and on about a topic but so often there are gems of quotes that I stop to copy. Some of the ladies in my book club have begun reading it aloud to their spouse as a way to help understand what he is saying and to stay awake. The beginning essays were much shorter than the end ones and I can only read when the house is quiet and my brain is without distraction. However, I have enjoyed reading his thoughts, even though they ramble and my mind wonders. If you do decide you'd like to tackle Montaigne (and at least one in our book club would encourage you not to), I have found the penguin classic version edited by M. A. Screech to be quite helpful. Also, only read those essays as suggested by Bauer, it will definitely give you a feel for what type of man he is.

The Innocent by David Baldacci
I am not sure if my sister-in-law or a friend told me about this series, but either way I am enjoying this book. I have always liked this genre of spy/thriller novels. This book reminds me of one of my favorite series in this genre, the novels by Vince Flynn about Mitch Rapp. Over half-way done with the book, I am intrigued by the plot and am interested in how it will end. I will also check out the rest of Baldacci's books in this series about Will Robbie.

And now it is time to keep reading!

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