About Me, Reading and Books, unplugged

Nursebean Reads: October 2016-100 books and counting

I wrote earlier this year here and here about how in 2016,  I have been reading quite a bit more than is usual for me and earlier this week, 286 days into the year to be exact, I read my 100th book of the year. Thank you Goodreads for keeping track!

My 100th book, The Mothers,  was the wonderful debut novel written by an incredibly talented 26 year old. The novel started out as her senior thesis. I loved it and read it in two evenings. Interestingly, leading up to #100 are several lighter reads. Sometimes, particularly when I am tired, I can’t focus well enough to tackle a weightier book and will read lighter things-cozy mysteries, YA, chicklit-until I get my focus back. I also read less when I sew more; and I did a lot of sewing this year. I have learned to take it in stride.

The day after I reached #100 was almost more momentous because 2+ months after I started listening to it, I finished all 35 hours and 40 minutes of this audio book read by Maggie Gyllenhaal which I purchased from audible on sale for just a few dollars. Totally worth it. Sadly no longer on sale.  I started it back in August when I had the idea of Power Reading the Classics.  I listened to it to and from work and occasionally while cooking, sewing or going for walks. My Classics challenge didn’t work out as I planned but I am trying to incorporate more classics interspersed with my other reads.

Reading this many books is kind of a big deal for me because my normal number of books read has averaged about 30 for the last several years.



While it is still quite a lot, more than 2 per month, my former speed was not a pace which made me feel as though I would ever make a dent in the long list of books I wished I had read. And now, even though the list is growing at a much faster pace than it ever did thanks to my book whisperers:  Catherine, Lindsey and Anne, I am confident that I will find the time to read many, though certainly not all, of the books I want to read.

Most of the books I read this year I have loved or liked a lot. I only have a few in the 2 or 3 star category (I haven’t really read something I couldn’t like at least a little bit). You can see a few of them below. The less than loved books are things I picked up on impulse from the library or on sale on kindle. I don’t regret reading them but I am trying to be more intentional about my book choices since there are so many wonderful books I know I want to read-many of them recommendations from the WSIRN podcast-can’t recommend it more highly.

The podcast, which I listen to religiously every Tuesday morning, asks guests to name a book they hate. I can’t say that I hated anything I read, but I didn’t love one title, which you can see hanging out all alone in the two star line on my Goodreads YTD summary. Part of the summary is above and part is below since there were too many books to screenshot and capture them all. The ones below are all 4’s and 5’s and were all great reads.

I tend to alternate more literary reads with murder mysteries and the occasional chick-lit and this year I read some great YA books that I found via Modern Mrs. Darcy. Memoir is my favorite genre and I have read almost 20 memoirs and more than 25 non-fluffy novels so far this year, all of which have been terrific. I read 3 classics (although AK should count for at least 2 all by itself) and want to read more. I have listened to 23 audio books out of a total of 102 books read this year, most of which really enhanced the experience of the book because of the wonderful narration. The main thing that has helped me read more has been devoting a couple of hours in the early morning each week to read. I have missed one or two Sundays due to work but that unplugged time is what gets me on track, helps me finish something I have started or get a good start on a new book. I find that once I am into the story, I want to keep going and having that time really makes the difference. Right after finishing the Mothers, I started Commonwealth, the new book by Ann Patchett. I read it in a night. So so good.


My current reading list features two great new novels, a lengthy but so interesting non-fiction book about genetics by one of my favorite authors and Jane Austen. On audio, I am listening to the new Flavia DeLuce mystery. What could be better?

You can link to my other posts on books and reading here, here and here.

Reading and Books, unplugged

Nursebean Reads: Must Read Books, Spring 2016

Earlier this year, I wrote some posts about my unplugged Sunday project and about ways that I have I found more time to read. You can link to them here and here. Today’s post is short and sweet. Here are my must-read book recommendations for right now.


I could not put Lab Girl down. Amazing memoir. Great writing. Unexpected twists and turns. Interesting characters. I am recommending it to everyone as a must read.


I loved Year of Yes. I had heard it recommended on the great podcast “What Should I Read Next”. I was not disappointed. I can’t imagine any woman not loving this book. I am recommending it to my daughters.

My younger daughter told me I had to read Citizen and she was right. Just read it. Short, powerful, I will read it again.


I have been sewing more but continue to find time for reading. I have especially enjoyed hand quilting to audio books and am LOVING the Cormorant Strike series by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling which I also learned about from listening to the What Should I read next podcast. Book 1, The Cuckoo’s Calling, is amazing on audio book.


The second two books in the three book series are a bit gruesome/disturbing in terms of details. They are true psychological thrillers in the Law and Order SVU mold, not usually my thing,  but the characters are wonderful and the audio is amazing.


I have been listening in my car but then get so wrapped up in the story that I end up listening for several hours straight at home. I just finished book 3. So sorry to not have a book 4 to listen to! 


Other books I have enjoyed this spring are this book which is a true story about the painter Velasquez and an Englishman who may or may not have owned one of his paintings. It made me want to hop on a train and go look at the Velasquez paintings at the Met.


I also read this book for book group. A really compelling story about a family’s experience during Hurricane Katrina. It is shocking what happened just ten years ago in this country. Very disturbing.  Five Days at Memorial, another book about Katrina, has been on my to-read list for a long time and reading Zeitoun has made me want to finally read it.


Next up, this book that I heard about on the podcast. It weighs a ton but is supposed to be a terrific read.


What are you reading and enjoying lately?