2016 has come and gone. Twenty sixteen brought me so much in way of faith, hope and love. Life takes you where you don’t think you need to go. But embrace the ride and find a way to hold on is how I approached this past year.
One of the goals nearest to my heart in 2016 was the Goodreads’ Reading Challenge. After a hot start in 2016, I naturally succumbed to procrastination and went a couple of months without touching a single book. But not to fear, I was bound and determined to complete my goal of 35 books.
And I am extremely happy to report, my 35th book was completed days before Christmas! I began reading two more books that I thought I may be able to tack on to 2016’s challenge as well, but the last week of the year became a bit more hectic than I had planned! Looks like they may help me get a good jump on this year’s challenge.
To start, I figured I’d share a few things I learned from this challenge then jump to which books I read and those that I loved.
I learned that I can indeed make time for reading.
It’s easy to assume that with a full-time job, there’s no way I could make the time. But I challenged myself to put this mindset aside in 2016 and see if I could make the time. First, I turn my phone off when I get into bed. Ok, not technically “off”, but turned over and on silent. Not only have I been able to read 30-45 pages before going to bed, I’ve also noticed my quality of sleep tremendously improve. Double-win! Yippee!
Secondly, I carry a book in my purse everywhere I go. There’s no telling where you may be able to fit a few pages in. I find myself reading ten pages or so on my way from elevator to elevator in the mornings and afternoons during the work week. At my current office, I have to ride 3 elevators to get to my office. That means at least 6 elevator rides a day, and more like 10-12 if I go anywhere at lunch. I may be putting myself in total bookworm status by doing this, but hey, I get addicted to some of these stories and I just can’t help it. Not to mention, by reading books in the elevators, many conversations have been sparked with others who work in the building about favorite authors, recommendations and general book-lover camaraderie.
Thirdly, you better believe that at least for a portion of my lunch break, my nose has been stuffed between the pages of my current reading adventure. If it’s a pretty day, I jump at the opportunity to sit on a park bench or down by the river and mull over the next chapter or two while I grab a bite to eat. And if it’s rainy, what’s more perfect that sitting next to a window, swiping through pages of a good read while rain beats down on the glass?
And lastly, Audible. This will be obvious if you have read any of my posts before. I have loved Audible since I joined almost three years ago. It has helped me best-utilize my two hours of commute each day. I can’t tell you the last time I have listened to FM radio. Because of Audible, I have dabbled in genres new to me and authors I had never heard of before. Now I have been told that this is “cheating” because it’s easier than reading. But who the heck said reading was supposed to be hard to do? Reading is supposed to be fun. It’s meant to be a pastime enjoyed and cherished. So I easily shrug off those types of comments and remember how much joy Audible has brought to my car rides. However, I don’t limit my use of Audible to the only the car. I use it in the gym, in the kitchen while I bake, and in the bathroom while I get ready and so on.
With these steps, I found a way to fit 35 books into my year. Thirty-five books: 13,306 pages of adventure, ups and downs, gut-wrenching plot twists, hundreds of beautifully developed characters and my imagination fully tested. With all that being said, it’s my goal to increase my reading challenge in 2017 to 40 books! Comment below with what your goal will be!
To round out this post, I wanted to share my top 5 favorite books read in 2016. This was hard to narrow down, but that is only because almost everything I read was a 3.5/5 stars or better review in my mind.
- Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry my review
- Hard Country by Michael McGarrity my review
- The Godfather by Mario Puzo my review
- The Hit by David Baldacci my review
- The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly my review
In 2016, I read the entire Lonesome Dove Saga and I must say it was terrific. They are extremely long reads, but again this is where Audible helped me finish books I have been longing to read. Other series I began in 2016 were the Will Robie series (David Baldacci), the Lincoln Lawyer series (Michael Connelly), and the Fox and O’Hare series (Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg). If you liked watching the White Collar television series, I highly recommend the Fox and O’Hare books. They are easy to read, but fun thrillers that you won’t want to put down.
2016 was a good year for reading. And here’s to hoping 2017 will be even better. I have intentions of finishing the three series listed above as well as try out authors I’ve never tried before. If you have any suggestions for me, please comment below! I am always on the hunt for my new favorite authors, although I think Louis L’Amour will always hold the spot as my absolute favorite!
Take a look back at my 2015 Reading Challenge.
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