I have several different reading goals this year. The overall goal is to read 100 books in 2018. I created an Instagram account to help me track my reading. Feel free to follow along @meganbyrdreads! The second goal is to read at least one book each month by a non-white author to expand my knowledge and perspective. A third, less pressing goal is to check off the 12 different categories of books Anne Bogel (aka ModernMrsDarcy) suggests to help vary the types of books read this year.
I have thus far read 4 books in August by non-white authors (indicated with a *). I read the following from Anne’s list: 1) a book by a favorite author (Fav), 2) a book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own (DiF), 3) a memoir, biography, or book of creative nonfiction (NF), 4) a book recommended by someone with great taste (GT), 5) a classic you’ve been meaning to read (CL), 6) a banned book (BB), and (7) a book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection (PPE).
I have now officially completed Anne Bogel’s 2018 reading challenge by having read at least one book from each of her 12 categories!
81. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover (Fav)
Merit is shopping in an antique store when she catches a cute guy watching her. He follows her outside and they share an amazing kiss. She soon learns it’s her identical twin’s boyfriend who obviously mistook her for Honor. He is soon living in their house and Merit is trying not to be jealous of her sister. There’s a lot of tension in the house between the members, the space filled up with unspilled secrets. A series of events causes them all to be revealed, but perhaps Merit was wrong about some of them.
It was an interesting and engaging book that talks about depression and anxiety as well as trying to see things from others’ perspectives.
82. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory* (DiF)
Drew and Alexa get stuck in an elevator. He asks her to be his last-minute wedding date and she agrees. After a fun weekend, they agree to see each other the following weekend. Alexa tries not to get attached as their weekends together between cities continue. Drew tries to deny that he’s more interested in more than a casual relationship. Can they find a way to make it work?
I enjoyed this romantic comedy. I enjoyed the back and forth points of view and the misunderstandings common in early relationships. I was invested early on and anxious to see how it would turn out.
83. Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want by Maria Goff (NF) (Rec)
Maria Goff shares her life experiences as a woman, wife, mom, and neighbor. She talks about what it looks like in her life to love others. She reminds us not to compare our lives and works with others’ lives and work including our spouse’s.
I really enjoyed this book, partially because I was curious about what Bob Goff’s wife might be like. I was delighted to learn that she’s an introvert who stayed home with her kids like me. I appreciated the reminder that you don’t have to be extroverted to love well. Small, quiet, unnoticed work is just as valuable and necessary.
I read the audiobook and learned that I prefer reading to listening because I can absorb more and get distracted less. I did enjoy hearing Maria tell her story, though.
84. The Color Purple by Alice Walker* (DiF) (CL) (BB)
Celie is a black woman in GA in the early 20th century. The book is a collection of letters she writes to God talking about her life. A number of terrible things happen to her but she continues to persevere and do the best she can to live. She tries to protect her sister from hardship by encouraging her to leave and find work. She doesn’t hear from her for many years so she assumes she’s dead. A woman Celie’s husband loves comes to live with them and they eventually become friends.
I don’t want to give away too much of the book. I enjoyed the letter style and the resilient spirit of Celie. It is disheartening to hear the stories she tells of life in the south and the evil done to her. I was hooked quickly and anxious to find out what would happen with Colin’s story. I can see why it is a prize-winning book.
85. Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done by Katie M. Reid (NF)
Martha had kind of gotten a bad reputation. It seems she’s chastised by Jesus for working rather than stopping and listening. This book notes that Jesus was concerned not for Martha’s behavior, but her heart. She was worried rather than serving in trust and peace. She was striving for the love that had already been freely given to her.
It’s a very enlightening and encouraging book for those of us who are doers and achievers. God made us with this inclination and it’s not bad, in fact, it can be very useful, especially when things need to get done. However, we have to remember that we don’t need to earn God’s love. Our response should be out of the knowledge of our beloved status.
86. All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin
A high school girl gets so drunk at a party she passes out. The next day there’s a risque picture circulating of her while asleep with a racist caption. The father of the alleged perpetrator wants everything to go away but the girl’s father wants justice. Will the wealthy family be able to manipulate the system in their son’s favor?
The story is told from three perspectives: the girl, the girl’s father, and the boy’s mother. I was very intrigued to see how the story would turn out and whether the whole truth would eventually come out. I was guessing about the truth until the end.
87. Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living Edited by Manjula Martin* (PPE) (DiF)
A collection of essays from various people in the writing business – agents, journalists, professors, freelancers, columnists, screenwriters, novelists, non-fiction writers. They discuss a variety of topics regarding writing and publishing such as obtaining an agent, their experiences with book contracts, the variance of payment for various writing jobs, having a day job, and the disparity between works published by white authors and all other racial groups.
I enjoyed reading about the various topics, especially all of the different avenues taken to become a professional writer. It is encouraging to see that there is no one path and it’s important to figure out what you want out of a writing career before you proceed.
88. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Rill Foss’s mother, who started labor on their boat, is taken to the hospital to deliver twins. The next day police come and take Rill and her four siblings to a children’s home, being told their mom died with the babies and their father gave them up for adoption. The story of what happens next is broken up by an account of Avery Stafford (modern day) meeting a woman named May at a nursing home and wondering if she is somehow connected with her own grandmother who is steadily declining due to dementia.
I enjoyed the back and forth between modern day and the past. Rill’s story was so heartbreaking that I often hoped I could skip it just because I was afraid of the potential horrors of abuse and injustice I would read about. It sucked me in and kept me wanting to see how it would end.
89. The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois* (NF) (DiF)
This was a very deep and thought-provoking book. DuBois writes about the history of African-Americans and the current state of relations in the South around 1900.
It was heavy subject matter. I appreciated the history lesson along with stories of specific people. DuBois shared his experience of teaching in the south and revisiting the area a decade later to see how his pupils had fared. He talked about the broken promises of the government after the war to provide land to former slaves. He showed me how the actions (or lack of action) after the Civil War has influenced race relations in the south and the economic discrepancy between the races we see today.
90. Eat Cake. Be Brave. by Melissa Radke (NF)
Melissa shares about various life experiences – highs and lows. I was amused, amazed, saddened, and teary reading various parts of his book. She is very honest which is endearing. She offers encouragement and compassion to anyone who has felt unworthy or has believed the labels others have tried to give you. I really enjoyed the book. It wasn’t what I expected but it was wonderful!
Have any new recommendations of good books you’ve read recently?