December 2014’s reads of a slacking pedometer geek, and looking back at the year’s resolutions

Many resolutions have been made in the past week or so, and for some people they have already been abandoned, too. Yet, this pedometer geek can’t focus on 2015 until reporting on the resolutions of the past year.

Several resolutions are ongoing for this pedometer geek. The first is putting as many steps on the pedometer as possible. The goal is to put at least 10,000 steps on it every day although I often fail at this. December was one of those months. While it wasn’t the worst month of the year, this slacking pedometer geek only managed to put 165,677 steps on the pedometer. This averages out to approximately 5300 steps a day. On seven days there were aerobic steps, but there wasn’t any day where 10,000 steps (or more) were actually achieved. For the year, this pedometer geek logged 21,814,638 steps with 209,464 aerobic steps. Of these, there were thirty days where at least 10,000 steps were counted including one day of aerobic steps of over 10,000 steps. The lowest month was February with 124,968 steps and the highest total of 223,918 steps was in September. Enough with the statistics because there is always room for improvement, and therefore, this resolution will continue into 2015.

The other continuing resolution is to read more books which included some challenges through http://www.bookcrossing.com thrown in for good measure. There are two of those, the pages-read challenge and the SIY (set-it-yourself) challenge. This pedometer geek read/completed twelve books during the month. It was a month in which fiction ruled as only one book could be considered nonfiction. All but one of the books was written by an author that was new-to-me. There were a couple of romances; there were several suspense novels and some that could be classified as general fiction, rather than genre. There was a fantasy novel and three were read in an e-book format.

As for the year long pages-read challenge, I came up short of my 40,000 pages of my challenge goal. The total pages-read during the month was 4142 pages bringing the yearly total to 38,376 pages. I have scaled that challenge back some for 2015.

In the SIY challenge, I was more successful. I chose to read sixteen particular books throughout the last quarter. At the beginning of December, there were eight books from that list that needed to be finished. And that was accomplished only as the crystal ball dropped in Times Square. Like the pages-read challenge, I signed up again for this challenge in the first quarter.

In December, I read the following books:
Hugs for the Holidays: Stories by John William Smith
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell *
Long Lost by David Morrell *
Hexes and X’s by Zoey Kane
The Poor Man’s Guide to Suicide by Andrew Armacost *
Breathe by Kristen Ashley *
Driving with the Top Down by Beth Harbison *
A Very Good Life by Lynn Steward
Maid to Order by Judy Kentrus *
Investigating the Hottie by Juli Alexander
Reign of the Black Flame: The Waterglobe by B.B. Vayk *
The Forgotten Girl by David Bell *

Overall, it was a diverse set of reads as the books ranged from mysteries to suspense to romance to YA to chick-lit to general fiction to spiritual. Only a few of the books will be briefly discussed; those not discussed have already been extensively reviewed at my other blog site http://www.pedometergeek.wordpress.com.

John William Smith’s Hugs for the Holidays: Stories was the only nonfiction title read. It was a short book that had quite a few short holiday-themed stories interspersed with scriptural references. The stories emphasized values of charity, kindness, and love, yet weren’t too preachy.

Long Lost by David Morrell was a suspense thriller about a young boy who disappeared without a trace. His older brother had always felt guilty for this, and when a man approaches claiming to be his brother (and knowing things only his brother would), he invites him to his home. Within days, his own son and wife are missing along with his brother. Finding them again is the gist of the suspense story. Determining whether or not this man truly is his brother is just another part of the mystery that makes up this compelling read.

Zoey Kane’s Hexes and X’s is the third in a series of cozy mysteries that features a mother-daughter team of sleuths. They are invited to a friend’s mansion to help uncover treasure hidden inside, but they aren’t the only ones looking. As bodies keep disappearing, they need to figure out the treasure map full of X’s and survive the booby traps set by a long-dead ancestor. Overall, it was an okay read with some bits of humor infused.

A Very Good Life by Lynn Steward is the story of a woman, Dana McGarry, who wants it all. Set in 1974 when women were just beginning to climb corporate ladders in their careers as well as be married and have children, this is Dana’s story. She is married to Brett, a handsome lawyer-husband she loves, as well as working a dream job at B. Altman’s, a large department store in New York; however, demands from the store’s upper management to act unethically and another woman who is out to seduce her husband may just cause cracks in the perfect life she has crafted. This is the first novel featuring Dana, but others are planned as this one left Dana indecisive about her future.

Alexander’s Investigating the Hottie is a cute YA romance that includes suspense. Amanda is sent to visit her aunt during her school’s break. Once there, she finds out her summer camp is really training in espionage. She is being trained to be a teen-aged spy, and her skills are needed to investigate Will, the hot student soccer player, who also appears to be a hacker. Sparks ignite between the two, but can she do her job to shut down the hacker and still enjoy the romance? The tale is light and somewhat unrealistic, but great escapism.

Looking back over all the books read in 2014, there were books, novellas, and short story anthologies in the mix. There was also a twelve-chapter promo for a book. There were 134 completed titles which were divided into various categories of books. Categories included general fiction, historical fiction, romance, mysteries, suspense-thrillers, YA and tween, science fiction and fantasy, and nonfiction.

Seventeen of the books were nonfiction with the majority of the books being fiction. Memoir, biographies, history, and poetry were included in this total. In the fiction category, more than a third of the books were general fiction, which included historical fiction. Romances of all types made up approximately twenty percent of the books read. Another twenty percent was made up of YA novels of which many of them could be further split into the dystopian genre. In fact three dystopian series were read and a few other series were either completed or started during the year. Mystery and suspense-thrillers made up about ten percent of the reads. A few science fiction and fantasy novels were also read. Approximately thirty percent were in an e-book format.

Ninety of the books were written by authors that I had never previously read. Quite a few of the new-to-me authors were those who wrote books that I received from giveaways. Yet, having read some of these authors for the first time, I then read them again later in the year. Discovering new authors is always fun, but I still returned to a few favorites. Ironically, several of my favorite novelists (David Baldacci, Nicholas Sparks, and Sue Grafton) were not among the list of authors read in 2014. I imagine that will be remedied in 2015 as I have several of Baldacci’s novels to read on my shelves and one of Sparks to read. As for Grafton, I am just waiting for the next book in her alphabet mystery series to be published. She is up to X and I still haven’t guessed what the title might be, but I digress.

Among the books read, a few notable books come to mind. In the nonfiction category, I found that Culture Smart: New Zealand by Sue Butler was so informative. Further, if I were traveling to another country, I would read the Culture Smart book for that country because of the way the information is presented. King Peggy by Peggieleane Bartels, the autobiography of the woman who became king of her village in Africa, was another notable read, and so was Robert M. Edsel’s The Monuments Men, the story of the men who helped save the monuments and artwork of Europe during World War II.

In the fiction category, I truly enjoyed reading the debut novel of Eva Lesko Natiello, The Memory Box, a suspense-thriller. Another enjoyable read was Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. For just plain fun, Charlie N. Holmberg’s The Paper Magician was a real favorite. A couple of others with some historical significance were Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and Jeffrey Archer’s Only Time Will Tell, the first in a series. These are just a few of the notable books, but the list is by no means exhaustive as there were many other favorites in the list.

Like my resolution to put more steps on my pedometer, the resolution to read more books will continue. Challenges as above will also be taken on. It is hoped that a few more nonfiction titles will be read as well as a classic or two in 2015, but regardless this pedometer geek will continue to read. Suggestions always welcomed.

* SIY challenge book

About pedometergeek

A pharmacist by profession, a haiku poet by nature, I read and write. I have a book of haiku, Ohayo Haiku, and another somewhat alternative haiku book, Three Breaths, but write other genres. I also read...lots of novels! My favorite is, and remains, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged but I am also a big Harry Potter fan. I truly am a pedometer geek strapping on my pedometer as soon as I awaken.
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2 Responses to December 2014’s reads of a slacking pedometer geek, and looking back at the year’s resolutions

  1. evanatiello says:

    WOW. I am amazed by all you’ve accomplished in 12 measly months. Between all you’ve read and all you’ve walked, I don’t know how you have the time to blog, eat or sleep. Take a nap, Nancy, you deserve it. And endless gratitude to you for reading The Memory Box and sharing it with others. Happy 2015!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks Eva. I do take naps. They are awesome, but I still find time to read, walk (not enough), eat (though I should walk more to counter this one), sleep (naps included), and blog (sorta). Some people think I do too much reading, but it’s my idea of fun. Happy 2015 to you…hope you have another year of The Memory Box doing well. ~nan

    Liked by 1 person

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