I’ve always been a reader. My grandmother loves telling the story of how she was reading a book to me when I was a precocious three-year-old and I started reading along with her. I remember being GIDDY the days that Scholastic book orders were delivered in elementary school and how I could happily lose myself in the pages of a book while sitting with my parents at the alley on bowling night (their team name was the Spare Ribs. Wait for it…)
Unfortunately, I think being an English major killed my desire to read anything with any sort of “literary value.” Don’t get me wrong, I feel that most literature has value, but lately my reading list has consisted chiefly of so-called “trashy romances”. If Goodreads is even remotely accurate, I read just over 150 books last year and easily 140 of those titles would fall into that category. I fully acknowledge that a lot of it has to do with escapism. I’d rather gouge my eyes out than read any of Oprah’s recommended depressing tomes and I’m just a sucker for a happy ending.
I picked up Gayle Forman’s latest – “Just One Day” – on the recommendation of my friend, Kim. She has a weakness for Young Adult romantic fiction and I thought it would give me a nice break from my plethora of bodice rippers. I was right.
As usual, the book sat neglected on my nightstand for two of the three weeks of its checkout period. I picked it up after I finished my coffee this morning and decided to try to knock out a healthy chunk of it so I’d be able to return it in a couple of days. Three hours and nearly three hundred pages later, I was done. This book made me long for my twenties and a plane ticket to Europe. I wanted to walk the narrow streets described by Ms. Forman, camera in hand, and record the images she painted with words. I won’t do a full review; maybe for future books, but it’s not something I’ve thought about doing for this one. I’ll simply say that, despite being more than 20 years older than the protagonist, I could completely relate to certain conflicts that she experienced. Not knowing what she wanted to do when she grew up, despite people pushing her in one direction (or any direction) was chief among them.
I have a couple of non-fiction books on my reading list to attack between my Donna Kauffman and Susan Andersen offerings. “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed is about a woman who, when reeling from a series of personal tragedies, decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin follows a woman’s quest to do what she can to be happier in her day-to-day life. (FYI – the above links are to these books’ respective Goodreads pages)
What other non-romantic recommendations do you have for my 2013 reading list?