My 2016 Reading and Blogging Stats

January 1, 2017 Stats 40

2016 Reading Stats


Happy New Year, everyone! I’m happy to provide you with some hangover reading.

Last year was the first full year I kept reading stats and a Goodreads account, so I actually have a baseline to compare with this year’s stats! Let’s get down to it.

Reading

Though I blew through my goal of 75 books, I felt like this year’s crop of new releases were less successful for me than usual…with eight 5 star books compared to fifteen last year. I was also drawn to lighter books…possibly because I was doing more reading then ever amidst chaos (at playgrounds, sports practices, etc).

Audiobooks: Though not a stated goal for this year, I successfully integrated audiobooks into my reading (comprising 15%), which helped me read more nonfiction (37% of my reading, up from 16% last year) and books in general than ever before. Audiobooks also enabled me to read the lighter memoirs (i.e. celebrity and sports) that I used to read often, but had gotten away from in the past few years.

Backlist (2016 Goal): I read 21 backlist books (22% of my reading) this year compared to 10 last year. 

ARCs: I finished 29 ARCs (30% of my reading) and DNF’d another 17 for a total of 46 ARCs this year. Of the 29 I finished, 41% were “successful” (i.e. books I recommended on the blog). I’d like to see my success rate top 50% next year.

Imprints: For the second year in a row, Knopf, Random House, and Harper are all successful imprints for me. Algonquin and Ecco are both newly successful, while Putnam, Doubleday, and Grand Central weren’t as successful for me this year.

Longest Book Read: Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink (602 pages). I think I was so traumatized by wasting so much time (944 pages worth) on last year’s City on Fire that I was a little hesitant to pick up chunksters this year. 

Shortest Book Read: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (49 pages)

Diversity Stats

66% of my 2016 reading was female authors (up from 62% last year) and 70% of my Best Books of 2016 were by female authors.

14% of my 2016 reading was by POC authors. This is the first year that I’ve tracked POC diversity and I didn’t overthink it (see this fantastic post on the difficulties of accurately tracking diversity by Andi at Estella’s Revenge), so it’s possible my numbers aren’t 100% accurate. 

Social Media Stats

For the first time, I tracked my social media followers every month. My 2016 goal was to improve my Pinterest presence and I focused most of my effort there, so I’m thrilled it panned out. Since a few of you have asked, here are the two posts I used as guides to improve my Pinterest presence: Can Book Bloggers Be Successful on Pinterest? from These Paper Hearts and How I Increased My Pinterest Impressions by 200% in 30 Days from Ashley Lamar at Far Beyond Love.

Growth in social media network followers from January 1 – December 31, 2016:

Network % Increase in Followers
Twitter 53%
Facebook 46%
Pinterest 142%
Email Subscribers 349%
Bloglovin’ 45%

Percent of traffic generated by social media network compared to last year:

Top Networks 2015 
% Traffic
2016
% Traffic
Twitter 27%  8%
Facebook 36%  17%
Blogger 19%  4%
Pinterest 11%  69%

Blogging

Key Takeaways

  • Like last year, The Girl on the Train Spoiler Discussion comprised the largest chunk of my traffic until December, when A Month of Favorites: Five 2016 Books That Deserved the Hype…and Five That Didn’t took over thanks to Pinterest repins.
  • “Sticky content” performed well (i.e. recommendation lists like Book Club Recommendations and Page Turner Books). These pages reside in my main menu and are constantly updated with new books.
  • My quarterly “most anticipated books” posts performed well. 
  • Top Ten Tuesday lists generated the most discussion, but they were not my best performing posts like they were last year. And, I probably have the most fun writing these, so they’re not going anywhere.
  • Book reviews in general don’t do as well as other types of content. With the exception of spoiler discussions (which do pretty well), only one book review (Fates and Furies) cracked my top 10 posts of the year. All but one of my top 5 book reviews were written in 2015.

Pageviews / Unique Visitors

  • Pageviews increased 43% over 2015.
  • My best months (by pageviews) were December, October, September (in that order).

Best Performing Posts/Pages of 2016

Best Performing Book Reviews of 2016 (all mostly Google search)

Most Discussed Posts (determined by number of comments in 2016)

My Personal Favorites

How were your 2016 reading and blogging stats?

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December 2016 Monthly Round-Up

December 30, 2016 Monthly Round-Ups 21

December 2016 Monthly Round-Up

December Reading

  • This month was all about backlist reading. Every December, a traditionally slow month for new releases, I try to make time to read a couple books from my backlist TBR. This year’s choices (The Book of Unknown Americans, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, and Every Last One) were all winners.
  • Thanks to Catherine at Gilmore Guide, I’ve been on an Anna Quindlen kick. 2016’s Miller’s Valley got things rolling and Every Last One was even better!
  • My 2017 releases started with one winner and one disappointment. My friend, Georgia Hunter’s, debut novel, We Were the Lucky Ones, is a fast-moving World War II story based on her own family. Keep it on your radar for February 14 (from Viking)! Emily Ruskovich’s debut novel, Idaho, has gotten some good early buzz, but it didn’t quite gel for me.
  • I was shocked that I didn’t love Michael Lewis’ latest book, The Undoing Project. I’m a huge Lewis fan, but this was a disappointment.
  • I only managed to finish one audiobook (Grit), but it was a winner and it made me more mindful of reinforcing grit in my children.
  • I didn’t write a single book review in December and it was a nice break. I did share my Best Books of 2016 and Best Debuts of 2016. And, check back on Sunday for my 2016 Reading and Blogging Stats.
  • Finally, the blog had its best month of pageviews since inception by doubling its previous best month. This was mostly due to one post (Five 2016 Books That Deserved the Hype…And Five That Didn’t) that got repinned 362 times.

Best Book of the Month

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen (April 13, 2010)
Fiction, 299 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Most Popular December Posts

Five 2016 Books That Deserved the Hype…And Five That Didn’t
My Most Anticipated Books of 2017
Ten New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2016

Favorite Posts by Fellow Bloggers

  • Amanda at Bookshelf Monstrosity‘s If You Like Ann Patchett… post was especially timely considering my recent love of Commonwealth and interest in delving into her backlist (starting with This is the Story of a Happy Marriage this month).
  • Stacy at The Novel Life‘s list of 13 Amazing Author TED Talks includes some authors I’ve read and enjoyed (Susan Cain, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Angela Duckworth) and some that I want to read/listen to (Brene Brown, Shonda Rhymes).
  • Books are my Favourite and Best shared the books that pop up again and again on various Best Books of 2016 lists (Top 3 are Homegoing, The Underground Railroad, and Swing Time). Getting all those lists confused in your head? This is post is for you!

Library Checkout

December was a big library month for me, so I thought I’d sneak in an update here. I’m linking up with River City Reading‘s Library Checkout feature.

Checked Out, Read:
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

 

Checked Out, To Be Read:
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry (audio cheat)

 

Holds:
The Pigeon Tunnel by John Le Carre
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

 

Returned Unread:
News of the World by Paulette Jiles

 

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Best Books of 2016

December 27, 2016 Annual "Best Books" Lists 53

Best Books of 2016

I’ve given up trying to challenge myself to choose one favorite book every year. Like last year, I’m treating this list like an Olympic swimming final (if 10 swimmers advanced to the finals, rather than 8). And being an Olympic year, this is fitting. The top 3 books are my medalists and the remaining 7 round out my “finalists.” And, I’ve brought back the high school yearbook-style “Superlatives” from previous years (2015, 2014).

2016 was the year of the debut for me, with 6 debuts making my overall list and taking 2 of my 3 medals! For more on debuts, check out my Best Debuts of 2016 list. And, 70% of my Best of 2016 authors are female!

The Medalists

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (review)
Best Dysfunctional Family

Latest Addition to My Favorite Authors List
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Shelter by Jung Yun (review)
Most Nail-Biting First Chapter

Most Brutal
Best Balance Between Writing and Plot
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

The Mothers by Brit Bennett (review)
Most Gorgeous Writing
Best First Page
Caused My Most Recent Book Hangover
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

The Remaining Finalists

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (review)
Best Nonfiction of 2016

Most Relevant to Current Events
Best Female Heroine (Mamaw)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (review)
Quietest

Best Life Lessons
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington (review)
Best Southern Coming of Age Novel

Most Recommended Book of the Year
Best Narrator’s Voice (Rocky)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (review)
Best Gritty Coming of Age

Best Food Writing
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Tender by Belinda McKeon (review)
Most Cringe-Worthy

Most Emotionally Intense
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin (review)
Most Thinly Veiled Nonfiction

Most Scandalous
Best Example of Wealthy People Behaving Badly
Biggest Surprise of the Year
Best Recovery Book
Biggest Rating Regret (I rated it 4 instead of 5 stars when I read it)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Most Likely to Emotionally Wreck You

Most Deserving of All the Hype
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

What were your favorite books of 2016?

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2017 Reading and Blogging Goals

December 22, 2016 Goals 44

2017 Reading and Blogging Goals


I intended 2016 to be all about “freedom” in reading and “efficiency” in blogging in an effort to feel less overwhelmed with trying to fit blogging into my life as a mom. I accomplished a number of my 2016 goals, including:

  • Reading more nonfiction and backlist – mostly through incorporating audiobooks to my reading routine.
  • Improving my Pinterest presence – improved from my #4 social media network at about 10% of traffic (as of 12/31/15) to my #1 network at about 64% of traffic (as of 12/19/16), probably my biggest 2016 win.
  • Writing more creative features and recommendation lists – continued my Alcohol & Advil feature, created numerous recommendation lists, and expanded my book club recommendations to include Coed Book Club Recommendations and Short Books that Would Spark Lively Discussion.

And, I did feel less overwhelmed by the combination of mothering and blogging. The downside was that I felt like the blog fell into a bit of a rut…it looks and feels much the same as it did at the beginning of the year. Which brings me to next year’s goals…2017 will be about busting out of my blogging rut

2017 Reading and Blogging Goals

Reading

  • Leave More Time for Free Range Reading – I’m pretty sure this will be a perpetual goal of mine. I failed miserably at this during the first half of the year, but recovered in the second half by requesting fewer ARCs. 
  • Read More Backlist Books – I doubled my backlist books total from last year (from 10 to 20), many of which were on audio. However, only two were five star reads (Tiny Beautiful Things and Mudbound), as compared to five last year. I’d like to actually read more backlist (in addition to listening) in 2017.
  • Track Editors and Select Books Based on Them – Last year, I focused on choosing books by imprint, which worked alright, but not great. I’ve recently started tracking the editors of books I love and will attempt to follow their books into 2017. Now I just need to figure out how to track upcoming releases by editor. Suggestions?
  • Delay Requesting ARCs from Unknown Authors – My 2016 ARC success rate was a dismal 41%. I cut back my ARC requests in the second half of the year and waited until I’d started to hear some feedback from trusted bloggers before requesting new-to-me authors. My second half reading felt much better.
  • Continue Using My Library – I started using my library this year (I know…embarrassing) and it got me to read more backlist (since my library’s new release selection isn’t great) and take risks on books that are out of my comfort zone since there is no review pressure or money wasted.
  • Achieve my Goodreads Goal of 90 Books – I blew through my 2016 goal of 75 books (I’m at 92 so far), mostly by adding audiobooks to my reading life. I’m setting the bar higher for 2017.

Blogging

  • Test Out a New Idea on the Blog – a 2016 goal that I did not accomplish was to “Find Creative Ways to Monetize My Blog.” I had an idea, but never followed through because of concerns it wouldn’t work. This year, I’m planning to test out a scaled down version of my idea around Mother’s and Father’s Day. If people seem interested in it, I’ll make plans to move forward with the full version. If it fails, then no harm done.
  • Write More Creative Features and Recommendation Lists – this was a 2016 goal and will probably remain an annual goal as long as I have this blog. I already have some ideas I’m excited about waiting in the wings, one of which is for Friday Night Lights fans.
  • Continue to Improve my Pinterest Presence – build on my 2016 progress by continuing to segment my boards, track analytics, share others’ content, and participate in group boards.

What are your 2017 reading goals?

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A Month of Favorites: Reading Outside My Comfort Zone

December 20, 2016 Blogger Events 28

A Month of Favorites
For the third year in a row, I’m participating in A Month of Favorites (hosted by Traveling with T, Estella’s Revenge, and GirlXOXO) throughout the month of December! I love “Top X” lists and that’s what this event is all about. Today, we’re talking about reading outside of your comfort zone, something I’m notoriously bad at doing. And, I really didn’t read much out of my comfort zone this year as I found myself sinking back into some trusted favorite types of books. But, there were a few areas where I branched out…

Reading Outside My Comfort Zone

Audiobooks

I tried audiobooks for the first time a couple years ago when I was training for a half marathon. I didn’t have a great experience and gave up listening to them, yet never canceled my Audible subscription. When I finally went to cancel my Audible subscription this year, I found I had 6 credits to burn. So, I just bought some random books, most of which were sports memoirs (Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard’s memoir, In the Water They Can’t See You Cry, was my first winner). Instead of listening while working out, I chose other times (while getting dressed, driving without kids, etc) and started to really enjoy them! I figured out that light nonfiction works best for me and now have an audiobook going at all times. It’s significantly increased my 2016 reading and nonfiction reading in particular.

Short Stories

Like many people, I shy away from short story collections. I find them hit and miss and have trouble getting invested in the characters in such a short time frame. Then, I read Nickolas Butler’s Beneath the Bonfire last year and my mind was opened. I resolved to read more short stories in 2016 and I did, with mixed results. Why They Run the Way They Do and The Tsar of Love and Techno were winners. But, American Housewife, Some Possible Solutions, and Children of the New World (DNF) were tougher sells. At this point, I’m still a little skittish about the short story format.

Advice Columns

I’d listened to everyone rave about Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things for years, but I was never tempted to pick it up. Advice columns? No, thank you. I was picturing the cheesy things in the back of Soap Opera Digest (or something like that) that you’d skim in the grocery store aisle. Then, I asked Twitter for a “life improvement-type” book that wasn’t too self-helpy that might be good on audio. Shannon from River City Reading kindly let me know that Tiny Beautiful Things was exactly what I was looking for. And, she was right. Hands-down my favorite audiobook of the year.

How have you read outside of your comfort zone this year?

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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (12/19/16)

December 19, 2016 It's Monday! What are you reading? 20

Hosted by The Book Date.

Between repair work on our basement (from the recent plumbing flood) moving along and desperately trying to avoid getting the vicious stomach bug that caused 120 children from my son’s elementary school to be absent on Friday, I got some good reading done last week. I’m enjoying sinking into some backlist titles I’ve been wanting to read for awhile without any pressure or intention of reviewing them!

I finished reading…

The Undoing Project, Book of Unknown Americans


The Undoing Project
 by Michael Lewis (December 6, 2016)
First chapter was awesome. Then, Lewis proceeded to write a textbook. I did a lot of skimming from that point on. Such a letdown. I spelled out my thoughts in slightly more detail on Goodreads.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henriquez (June 3, 2014)
Powerful book about the life of immigrants living in the U.S. Initially quiet, but I couldn’t put it down towards the end. Very glad I checked this off my backlist TBR.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

This is the story of a happy marriage, Ann Patchett


This is the Story of a Happy Marriage
 by Ann Patchett (December 11, 2011)
I’m about 40% in and I like it, but it’s not earth shattering. Some topics are more interesting than others. Interesting = writing and marriage. Less interesting (at least to me) = opera.

Upcoming reading plans…

After reading two backlist books, I’m going to switch to 2017 releases for a bit. I might squeeze in another backlist before the New Year if I have time.

History of Wolves, Idaho


History of Wolves
 by Emily Fridlund (January 3, 2017)
This debut novel about a young girl living a somewhat eccentric life in Minnesota has been getting some pre-publication buzz.

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (January 3, 2017)
Early reviews of this debut novel about a crime and a family have been all over the map. We’ll see where I fall.

How was your reading week?

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Best Debuts of 2016

December 15, 2016 Book Lists 19

Best Debuts of 2016


The past couple years have been stellar for debuts. 30% of my overall Best Books of 2014 and 20% of my Best Books of 2015 were debuts. And, I suspect that you’ll be seeing an even higher percentage of debuts on this year’s Best Books of the Year list! 

Best Debuts of 2016

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (review)
I read this dysfunctional childhood/social analysis memoir before the election. Since then, sales have taken off and controversy has swirled.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington (review)
When I first read this Southern coming-of-age story, I was thrilled that it reminded me of 2015’s My Sunshine Away. Then, I found out it was based on an actual double murder in Lynchburg, VA (Tarkington’s hometown), which added to the intrigue.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Shelter by Jung Yun (review)
I’m shocked I haven’t seen this perfectly balanced (between plot and style) dysfunctional family novel on more Best Books of 2016 lists so far.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (review)
This gritty, gorgeously written NYC foodie/restaurant novel has gotten some very mixed reviews…but it was unquestioningly a winner for me.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

The Girls by Emma Cline (review)
This super hyped novel was different than I expected, but the gorgeous writing won me over.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

The Mothers by Brit Bennett (review)
This gorgeously written novel about a young girl coming of age in a black community in California has deservedly appeared on numerous Best Books of 2016 lists. I’m firmly on this bandwagon.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
I waited awhile to read this because I was somewhat skeptical of all the hype, but it lived up to everything I’d heard. Yet, sadly, this will be the one and only work of Kalanithi we’ll get the pleasure of reading.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Youngblood by Matt Gallagher (review)
The writing and the emotional struggles of the main character made this Iraq war story shine for me.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

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A Month of Favorites: Best Changes I Made This Year

December 14, 2016 Blogger Events 27

A Month of Favorites
For the third year in a row, I’m participating in A Month of Favorites (hosted by Traveling with T, Estella’s Revenge, and GirlXOXO) throughout the month of December! I love “Top X” lists and that’s what this event is all about. Today, we’re talking about reading and life improvements we made this year. Today’s topic made me stop and reflect on the past year (not something I normally do). And, I realized I made some changes that I wasn’t planning on at all, but that have worked out really well.

Best Changes I Made This Year

Reading

Used my local library
I’m embarrassed to say I just started using my library this year, mainly by checking out e-books on Overdrive. But, the library is now my preferred way to get books because they’re free, yet I don’t have any obligation to review them (like with ARCs, my other source for free books). I also like that I can sample more than the 10% of the book that Amazon allows, so I’m much more willing to take risks on books outside of my wheelhouse. 

Found my audiobook niche
I’ve had a rocky history with audiobooks…until this year when I found the type of book that works me for (lighter nonfiction) and the right times to listen (while getting ready for bed, driving without kids, and doing things around the house).

Requested fewer ARCs
Back in April, I wrote this post about my unsuccessful ARC reading. Since then, I resolved to request fewer ARCs and be more selective about those I did request. I’ll do the numbers for my end of the year stats post, but my overall reading definitely improved in the second half of the year. I enjoyed being able to free range read and jump on books other bloggers’ loved that weren’t on my pre-publication radar.

Life

Kids started to enjoy activities like coloring, Legos, etc.
Prior to this year, my kids’ (they’re 5 and 3) favorite activities were pretty much running around, screaming, and generally anything involving massive amounts of energy. While they still enjoy doing this type of stuff, they’ve also added interests I can rely on to keep them quietly entertained. While this is more of a change that came naturally, rather than one I made, I’m thrilled with its arrival!

Didn’t let the holiday season get the best of me
I’m usually a stress-case during the holiday season with too much to do, too little time, and too much on the social calendar. I decided to take the bull by the horns this year by getting the annoying tasks done early. And, it’s been a success! I’m now almost finished with the “work” and am actually enjoying the holiday season.

Picked up some new exercise habits

  • Started playing tennis again for the first time in years.
  • Worked with a trainer which resulted in improved running form…and more efficiency, faster times, and a reignited love for running.
  • Started incorporating “recovery workouts” into my weekly routine. Apparently, your body can’t process the benefits of the hard workouts unless it can recover afterwards. Though I’m backing off more than usual, my hard workouts are better than ever before.

What were the best changes you made this year?

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My Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2017

December 13, 2016 Book Lists 50

My Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2017

This post contains affiliate links.

When I posted My Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2016 list a few months ago, I lamented that I hadn’t been very good at picking winners in the past (I ended up loving only one book from my Summer preview and big, fat zero from my Spring preview). Well, I’m thrilled to say that I bucked that trend with my Fall post…loving 4 out of 10 books. Cheers to hoping for an even better success rate with my winter picks!

This list does NOT include debuts, as they will get their very own post on January 3, 2017 (and there are some that I’m super excited about).

January

The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian (January 10, Doubleday)
Bohjalian, author of The Guest Room (review), is one of my “I’ll read whatever he/she writes” authors and reading his seemingly annual January release is fast becoming a late December tradition for me.

[…] a spine-tingling novel of lies, loss, and buried desire – the mesmerizing story of a wife and mother who vanishes from her bed late one night.

Human Acts by Han Kang (January 17, Hogarth)
I missed Kang’s internationally bestselling novel (The Vegetarian) last year, but am intrigued by the South Korea setting of this short book.

In the midst of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed.
The story of this tragic episode unfolds in a sequence of interconnected chapters as the victims and the bereaved encounter suppression, denial, and the echoing agony of the massacre.

Valley of the Gods by Alexandra Wolfe (January 17, Simon & Schuster)
This nonfiction title hits my “gossip-y business books” hot button.

In Valley of the Gods, Wolfe follows three of these upstarts who have “stopped out” of college and real life to live and work in Silicon Valley in the hopes of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk.

February

A Separation by Katie Kitamura (February 7, Riverhead Books)
I’m a sucker for books that break down the psychology of marriage and Rebecca Schinsky mentioned on Book Riot’s Holiday Recommendations podcast that she was excited about this one.

A mesmerizing, psychologically taut novel about a marriage’s end and the secrets we all carry.

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (February 7, Tin House Books)
Another novel about marriage…plus, I loved Fuller’s 2015 debut, Our Endless Numbered Days (review).

Sexy and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious and complicated truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.

The Brain Defense by Kevin Davis (February 28, Penguin Press)
Courtroom drama and investigation of how the brain works? Yes, please! Kate at Parchment Girl had this book on her 50 Amazing Books to get Excited About This Winter list.

Thought-provoking and brilliantly crafted, The Brain Defense marries a murder mystery complete with colorful characters and courtroom drama with a sophisticated discussion of how our legal system has changed and must continue to change as we broaden our understanding of the human mind.

Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen (February 28, Little Brown)
This one is sort of my random shot in the dark. I know nothing about the author or the book, but the premise intrigued me.

Neurosurgeon Eitan Green has the perfect life–married to a beautiful police officer and father of two young boys. Then, speeding along a deserted moonlit road after an exhausting hospital shift, he hits someone. Seeing that the man, an African migrant, is beyond help, he flees the scene.

March

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg (March 7, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
I loved Attenberg’s 2015 novel, Saint Mazie (review), and Book Riot’s Rebecca Schinsky is already raving about her latest.

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Middlesteins comes a wickedly funny novel about a thirty-nine-year-old single, childfree woman who defies convention as she seeks connection.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (March 7, Riverhead Books)
Kerry at Entomology of a Bookworm said this dysfunctional families novel (total sucker for these too!) is “totally F’d up, yet compelling.”

The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

Our Short History by Lauren Grodstein (March 21, Algonquin Books)
Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You (review), blurbed this novel and that’s all the convincing I need. 

[…] when Jacob’s father, Dave, found out Karen was pregnant and made it clear that fatherhood wasn’t in his plans, Karen walked out of the relationship, never telling Dave her intention was to raise their child alone. But now Jake is asking to meet his dad, and with good reason: Karen is dying.

*All book summaries (in block quotes) are from Goodreads.

What Winter 2017 books are you looking forward to?

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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (12/12/16)

December 12, 2016 It's Monday! What are you reading? 29

Hosted by The Book Date.

I’m feeling super good about myself this week! For the past few years, I’ve been a total stress-case during the holiday season with too much to do, too little time, and too much on the social calendar. I decided to change things this year by getting the annoying tasks done early. I’ve now finished shopping, making the annual photo album the grandparents like to receive, and sending out holiday cards and am actually enjoying the holidays! Plus, work will begin on Monday to repair our basement from our recent flood, which means my kids will have a playroom again soon.

I finished reading…

We Were the Lucky Ones, Georgia Hunter


We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter (February 14, 2017)
I have a tendency to get bogged down in WWII books and did not feel that way at all about this one! The story is fast-moving and hopeful, despite the heavy topic, and it’s one heck of a story. It would be a great choice for fans of The Nightingale. Keep this debut on your radar for February!
Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Undoing Project, Michael Lewis


The Undoing Project
 by Michael Lewis (December 6, 2016)
I’m almost halfway through. Bang-up first chapter including a Charles Barkley quote, which I welcome at any time, but am getting bogged down in the biographical information about the two psychologists and their non-real world experiments. I’m doing more skimming than I’d like.

Upcoming reading plans…

It’s the time of year when I treat myself to a few backlist goodies that have been on my TBR forever! Which of these do you recommend I read?

Empire Falls, Every Last One, Book of Unknown Americans, Devil All the Time, This is the story of a happy marriage


Empire Falls
 by Richard Russo (May 8, 2001)
I’m a sucker for stories about small, blue-collar communities. On the downside, I have a dismal record with Pulitzer Prize winners. Regardless, I’ve been meaning to try this legendary author for awhile now.

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen (April 13, 2010)
I recently read my first Anna Quindlen (Miller’s Valley) thanks to Catherine at Gilmore Guide to Books and this is where she pointed me next.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henriquez (June 3, 2014)
The fact that I’m still seeing a fair number of people reading, reviewing, and talking about this book two years after publication makes me think I need to make time for it.

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollack (July 12, 2011)
I love Grit Lit, but haven’t read as much of it as I’d like to this year. I hear this guy’s the king, yet I couldn’t get into his latest novel, The Heavenly Table. But, people I trust swear The Devil All the Time is much better, so I might give it a shot.

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett (December 11, 2011)
Ever since reading Commonwealth, I’ve been on an Ann Patchett high. So, I need to get to this collection of memoir-style essays.

How was your reading week?

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