I just got back from a two-week trip to Malta and Germany. My trip was part new exploration, to see the sights in Malta and Germany, and part family and friends, to see my cousins near Munich, and my longtime friend near Stuttgart.
I had an amazing time in both countries. The weather was sunny and warm, some days got to 37C (or 99F). I did a lot of talking with my family and friends, a lot of walking, sightseeing, eating, drinking (mostly water to stay hydrated and a few beers), and of course taking photos. More trip details to follow once I get myself organized.
In the mean time, in the Northern hemisphere we welcomed the first day of summer on June 21. Summer brings the promise of many outdoor activities, as well as easy living and reading. This prompted me to reflect on what I’ve been reading this year.
In January, I started using the proposed categories from the Toronto Public Library 2019 Reading Challenge as a guide to read more widely. This has led to getting me to read a bit beyond my usual mysteries and fiction.
What I’ve Enjoyed Reading: From January to date, I’ve enjoyed reading thirty two books that I wouldn’t have read otherwise. I had fun putting the thirty two book cover images into a photo collage. The books are listed by author’s last name below:
- A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman
- The Widow, Fiona Barton
- Family & Other Catastrophes, Alexandra Borowitz
- The Rough Guide to Croatia, Jonathan Bousfield
- Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton
- Washington Black, Esi Edugyan
- The Choice, Dr. Edith Eva Eger
- What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, Nathan Englander
- 419, Will Ferguson
- Gone Girl, Gillan Flynn
- Panic Room, Robert Goddard
- Scrublands, Chris Hammer
- The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins
- Before the Fall, Noah Hawley
- A Brief History of Oversharing, Shawn Hitchins
- Sea Prayer, Khaled Hosseini
- The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
- When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King
- Defending Jacob, William Landay
- The Bishop’s Man, Linden MacIntyre
- Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami
- Binti, Nnedi Okorafor
- In Pursuit of Excellence, Terry Orlick
- Love Dishonor Marry Cherish Perish, David Rakoff
- Bellevue Square, Michael Redhill
- The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, Holly Ringland
- Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi
- Adèle, Leila Slimani
- The Perfect Nanny, Leila Slimani
- Ru, Kim Thúy
- Book Love, Debbie Tung
Book Categories: The Toronto Public Library proposed fourteen categories in the Reading Challenge. I’ve read all of them, and at least one book in each category, hence the total of thirty two books. When a book qualifies for more than one category, I count it in one category only.
Reading Habits: During the day, I prefer to be out and about so I save my book reading for the evening. I read most days but not every day. I usually read one book at a time to pay my full attention to the book. I’ve also been more careful with my book selection since I want to spend my time on good quality books.
Gratitude: I’m grateful to have access to one of the best public library systems in the world. Thanks to the library’s proposed book categories, I’ve been reading many new-to-me and award-winning authors from different countries. I’ve also read more book genres and learned more about international literary awards. I love that I’ve been reading these books without accumulating them in my home.
What’s Next: I enjoy the Reading Challenge and plan to continue for the rest of this year. I may use the additional eleven categories in the Advanced Reading Challenge to make my reading even more interesting. It would be a “wide” success for me if I could finish reading sixty books in more than fourteen categories in 2019.
Your Turn: What have you been reading? What are your reading habits? I’d love to hear your book recommendations.
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