“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
Last year I started a goal around June or so to begin reading more books. Now I use the term read loosely because half the books that are on my completed list were listened to on various commutes via Audible, but I’m counting those! Just try and stop me!
I’ve always been a huge bookworm and bibliophile. When I was younger I used to stay up way past my bedtime enjoying a great book and, to her annoyance I’m sure, whenever my mom would come to shut off the light for the third time I’d run to the bathroom to finish whatever chapter I was on since the bathroom was the only room with a lock. My books were like new friends that I would mourn when I came to the last page. So it saddened me as the years went by and the books I was forced to read for college slowly took over my reading list and soon became the only books I was reading.
I would read a chick lit book here or there, but gone were the days where I would challenge myself with a Sylvia Plath novel and I was determined to get back to that youthful exuberance for page turning like I once had. I started out by reading my Kindle before bed instead of surfing Imgur on my cell phone. I then traded out my Spotify account for an Audible one and my commutes became a lot more enjoyable. Soon instead of listening to music on my walks I was listening to my latest Audible book and I was constantly on the hunt for the next great novel to hungrily read/listen to. My boyfriend is an avid reader as well so it helped to have someone laying in bed next to me at night to snuggle up to as a I got drowsy reading the next chapter or to suggest a new book when I felt stagnant.
After starting in June of last year I managed to read around 35 books and this year I promised myself that I would hit 50 books. 50 books is pretty ambitious considering one of the books on my list for the year was It by Stephen King because if you know Stephen King at all you know that his novels are not exactly bite-size for your enjoyment, but here I am less than 6 months in and I’m already half way there! Not only did I challenge myself to read 50 books, but I also promised myself that they wouldn’t be all mystery and thriller books which are definitely where my main interest lies. Nothing keeps my turning pages like a psychological thriller.
I’m always looking for new ways to grow and challenge myself and this seemed like the perfect way to do it. So what are some of the highlights from the past year? Well, let’s see!
If you’re looking for a good beach read and haven’t watched the show yet (or even if you have) Big Little Lies is an easy, but interesting read. The author, Liane Moriarty, somehow manages to keep the book light-hearted despite the deep topics that are discussed. These topics range from domestic abuse to bullying to raising a child alone, but none of it feels laden. Through Moriarty’s descriptions of the characters you become to consider them friends of yours. I just know that if Madeline was real her and I would be besties! It’s also great to see a book about women coming together without having to make the reader feel like they’re being beaten over the head with the message.
Hell Divers was my first foray into science fiction this year and is part of a series which means the fun doesn’t have to stop at the last page! This is a good book for those who have an interest in science fiction, but don’t know if they are ready to slog through a book that uses all the jargon common to science fiction and they just want to get their feet wet. The plotline is set in a dystopian universe, like many books are these days, but the book didn’t make me feel like I was reading another slightly altered version of The Hunger Games. Hell Divers shows what the their world needs to do to survive when living in space means resources are growing more and more scarce and the lengths humankind will go to in order to survive. Even if it’s only for a short time.
The Heavens May Fall was a great legal thriller that kept my interested until the end with many twists and turns. It’s one of those books that I’m surprised they haven’t made a movie out of! The characters are all very well-written and, despite the author going very in-depth on all their backgrounds, nothing mentioned felt superfluous to the plot.
I read this book without realizing that Eskens was the author and I’m glad I did. I was not a huge fan of his past book, The Life We Bury and not realizing that they were the same author allowed me not to color my judgments on this one. However, once I knew that he had written both those books I was able to pick up on the one commonality I thoroughly enjoyed in both books. The author has this wonderful ability to make you really hear his characters. They are living, breathing entities that you come to know and care about and you can feel how these characters must have come alive for Eskens and whispered their stories in his ear.
Behind Her Eyes is definitely a slow burn thriller that doesn’t disappoint and doesn’t rely on a happy ending to make its readers adore it. Some of the character descriptions are redundant, but if you can get past that the end is worth it and will have you jumping back pages to see things you may have missed. This one kept my turning page after page and I finished it in two sittings!
Personally, as a fan of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, I love a little darkness in my novels and Behind Her Eyes pulled no punches in that department. If you prefer twist-endings to happy ones and you’re okay with some darkness in your mystery books this is a great one to add to the list!
So that’s just a few of the books that are on my completed list and I can’t wait to share some more with you! What are you reading right now that’s got you counting down the minutes until you can lay in bed with a warm cup of tea and start some page turning?