On a Reading Binge

I signed up for the Goodreads Reading Challenge last year. Ha! That went well. I committed to reading fifty books. I read a whopping twelve.

I decided to give the challenge a go again this year. With a positive mindset, I set my number once again to fifty books. I can say with confidence that my goal won’t be a problem. I’ve already read twenty-two of the fifty.

I’ve definitely been on a reading binge. I read at night before bed, in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep, and I read for at least two hours every morning before I start my day. Even though I’d prefer to be able to sleep more, I’m enjoying reading.

I read many books in my own genre of writing, so my list has quite a few fun, light mysteries, but I’ve also picked up some other good reads.


I got a big kick out of the western Unwanted Dead or Alive by Gene Shelton. Two ranch hands lose their jobs and decide to try their hand at being outlaws. A reviewer said they were like “Abbott and Costello go west,” and I have to agree.


Groovin’: Horses, Hopes, and Slippery Slopes by Rich Israel was a hoot! He recounts his travels and travails in the sixties as he traveled around the country during the time of free love and drugs, all the while hoping he wouldn’t be drafted.


One of my favorite reads so far was The Devil and Preston Black by Jason Jack Miller. The book is billed as Appalachian Noir fiction and “… is your ticket into a world where love can save your soul, where a song can change your destiny, and where evil still hides in the dark corners of the night.” I enjoyed the music references and the description of music as the characters played their instruments. Preston Black was a well-written character. It was easy to feel sympathy for him and to root for him.


Summer at the Comfort Food Café is by British author Debbie Johnson and had a wonderful mix of humor, heartbreak, and family life. I like when I continue to think about a book days after I’ve finished reading. This book was like that for me.


I’ve only recently become aware of Richard Branson and what a motivating person he is. I read Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way. Having worked in the music industry for several years, I especially enjoyed the stories around Virgin Records, but the entire book was a good read.

Have you signed up for the Goodreads Reading Challenge this year? If you haven’t, it’s not too late. If you have, what have you read, and what has been your favorite book so far?

32 thoughts on “On a Reading Binge

  1. I’m actually a couple books ahead of my 2017 reading challenge so far. I can hardly believe it. One of my favs has been Trevor Noah’s nonfiction book “Born a Crime,” about his life growing up as a biracial child in South Africa during apartheid. He’s the comedian who took over for Jon Stewart. He’s very talented, including as a writer. I listened to the audiobook since he’s such a great narrator. He’s a whiz at accents too. Was as much fun listening to him narrate as it was interesting.

    • Thanks for telling me who Trevor Noah is. I haven’t watched late-night television for quite a while. I guess I’m too busy reading at night. 🙂 I’ll definitely take a look at his book. Thanks!

  2. I joined the Goodreads challenge last year and failed worse than you. LOL Then the couple of books I did read I failed to list. Sigh…..So, I haven’t signed up this year. I can’t seem to concentrate enough to read. My mind is scattered. I’ve been a fan of Richard Branson for a few years now. He’s a pretty smart man. 🙂

    • I suppose I started out using reading as an escape, but now I’m just enjoying good books. So many books, so little time. Rich’s dad always lamented that he would never live long enough to read all the books he wanted to read. And yeah, Branson … he’s definitely a smart man.

  3. Coincidence. I am currently reading “Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe” by Robert Matzen. I attended a book signing presentation in Gettysburg, PA because the WWII experience of the patriarch of a very close family, Clement Leone, is addressed in the book. Have to disagree with your Jimmy Stewart ‘not a hero’ comment. Jimmy Stewart may have lead a “tame life’ movie industry wise, however he stepped forward and his WWII bomber piloting and eventual Major General retiring life was quite ‘real life’ adventuring.

    • Oh, I agree, Jimmy Stewart was definitely a hero! I wasn’t talking in the strict sense of the word. I was talking about personal heroes – you know, the people you fawn over and wish you could have met or could meet. I was definitely referring to Mr. Stewart’s tamer-than-Frank-Sinatra’s life (from a tawdry standpoint).

  4. That Western sounds like fun.

    As a member of Amazon Prime, I get my choice of one free book a month (choice of genres, too). I’ve been reading a few different ones but leaning a bit toward mystery/action/thriller mostly because I aim to edit and try to publish my 2015 NaNoWriMo effort (a Jason Bourne-style thriller, only with a female lead).

    I tend to find few books I like, so I end up re-reading stuff I like (Scalzi’s Old Man War series and Butcher’s Dresden Files books). I also reread a lot of my own fiction; one, because I enjoy it, but two because I catch mistakes and tweak the narrative (hopefully improving it).

    In non-fiction, I’m educating myself in philosophy (starting with pre-Socrates stuff) and the history of literature (starting with cuneiform writings from ancient Mesopotamia). That’s actually a combination of reading and listening to podcasts.

    Need to star writing again soon . . .

    • I’d definitely be interested in reading your 2015 NaNo book. That sounds right up my alley. Before the internet age, I used to read books over and over again. Now there’s so much to choose from, I rarely go back to old favorites.

      When homeschooling our son, I loved our ancient world studies. That’s very cool that you’re delving into philosophy and the history of literature. Enjoy your studies!

      • That would be great but only if you give me your word to be brutally honest with any feedback (although you don’t have to give me any unless you really want to; it’s OK to just read for enjoyment).

        The complete novel is on my blog (password protected so I don’t lose FSNAR) and I’ll send you the password.

        It’s right after this post:

        If you prefer, I can send you a version for a reader (let me know the format you want).

        Again, don’t feel obligated to read it, and if after the first few chapters you are not interested in it, just let it die a quiet death.

  5. I don’t dare go to Goodreads. Right now the stack of books on the shelves, floor, and my tablet. The audible section has 2 going on now. I want more time to read and like you, I read when I go to bed. I listen when my embroidery machine is working so I can keep an eye on the thread. I had 3 hours of it yesterday. I finished a book Sunday that is still with me. Distant Shores: by Kristin Hannah. I’ve probably finished at least 4 since Jan 1. I get a lot of reading material from book bub which lets me get books at a discount or free for a while on Kindle. I have several on there from bloggers. Is there a 12 step program for me?

    • We don’t need a 12-step program, Marlene! We just need to read faster. Some books absolutely delight me. Others, I try to stay with them as long as I can, but if the story isn’t doing it for me, I’m happy to dump out and move on to something else. There are too many good books to let one that’s not my cup of tea take too much time. I have four bookcases filled with hardcover books I haven’t read and a Kindle that’s packed with books. I tell myself I’ll read them all – eventually.

      • If that’s not bad enough, I have fabric stacked to the ceiling and a closet full of crafts to finish before the eyes go completely. It’s a race against the old age clock. I never do just one thing at a time. I have a t-shirt that says “it can’t be hoarding if it’s only books.” Unfortunately it’s fabric too. 😦 I had more books in my library than my old town had in the bookstore..I had to move, you understand don’t you? 🙂

        • Of course I understand. 🙂 It must be fun to work with fabric. I learned to sew in high school and loved patterns and fabric, but sports drew me so much more than domestic activities. It’s a miracle that I learned to cook. Keep chugging away, Marlene! I know you’ll accomplish and read tons yet! I will, too!

  6. I think I joined Goodreads in 2012. I still try every year. Think I only accomplished my goal one year. I am amazed at some that read 100s of books! Wow! 🙂 I saw you that you are on a roll, good job. 🙂 I tried to do the reading first thing in the morning, but I kept falling asleep. lol. Now, I grab a few minutes here and there. I believe I have 3 read and my goal is 33. 🙂

    • Oh, I hear you on falling asleep when reading – even in the morning. I do that, too. With my hours being my own, and Rich not caring at all when I show up downstairs, I can read/sleep off and on all the way up to noon if I want to … and I have. 🙂 Keep going! You’ll get to that 33!!

  7. I’ve read about 10 books this year so far. Since I began homeschooling last fall, I’ve been mostly reading curriculum, books and blogs on how to home school, and listening to podcasts on the same. So it’s definitely been a treat to go back to some just for fun novel reading–it feels like a binge! I’ve read some Louis L’amore, a novel in three parts that was Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s perspective (loved the first and third. The middle Book was harder to like.) a regency romance by Carla Kelly. I have a goodreads account that I never remember to use. But I did start keeping a paper book journal this year of books I’ve read and books I want to read. I love going back and looking at what I read.

    • My dad used to read Louis L’amore. I’m surprised I’ve never read anything by him. I saw your book journal on one of your blog posts. Very creative, and I would think that would be so much nicer to go back through rather than a list on the computer.

  8. I’ve never set a reading challenge for myself. I love to read and read a lot, but there are some time period spurts when I’m just not in the mood, or I can’t find a book that grabs me. Luckily, this is not one of those times. 🙂

    • Do you still leave paperbacks all across the globe? 🙂 I never thought I’d have trouble finding a book that grabs me, but that has happened on occasion. I guess my mood has to be right for reading, and luckily for me, too, this is not one of those times.

  9. I wouldn’t dare enter a reading challenge Maddie because I know I would fail miserably 😀 I’ve got so many books on my bookshelf and every day look at them wondering which one I’m going to read next. Last bio I read was Working Class Boy by Jimmy Barnes (he’s my hero) and I’m so glad I wasn’t disappointed – it was awesome yet grueling reading about his childhood. One reviewer said it was like reading a mixture of Angela’s Ashes and Trainspotting and she was so right.

    • Sometimes the sheer number of books I have in both hardcover and ebook format is overwhelming – and each one was picked because I knew I would enjoy it! I’ll never have time to read them all.

      Hey, thanks for the Jimmy Barnes mention. I just listened to Working Class Hero – nice song. The book looks interesting, too. I might add it to my list of biographies to read.

  10. Pingback: Lazy Sunday #33 | Paula Acton

  11. I always fail the reading challenges but for some reason I keep trying! It’s fun to try to keep track of the books I’ve read since I’m always forgetting. I loved AJ Fikry – and that’s a short one so that helps. That’s great that you’re already up to 22!

    • With editing and trying to get a book published, I’ve slowed down … but I have 24 books read under my belt now. 🙂

      Congratulations to you on Ocean Echoes and the stellar reviews you’re receiving. After reading Carrie’s glowing review, I read your preview and was captivated. I finally grabbed a copy of the book tonight and will read it soon!

      • Thanks so much! Yes, all that writing and revising can really get in the way of reading. Your books look like a lot of fun and I’ll make sure to add them to my list!

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