June 2015’s reads of a pedometer geek…

It is now halfway through the year 2015, and the resolutions this pedometer geek made are still on-going. They fit into two main resolutions. The first is to put steps on the pedometer, and the goal is to achieve 10,000 steps per day. The second is to read more books with some goals to read certain books.

In regards to the first resolution, June was the best month so far this year. Over the previous month, which was the highest to date, there was an increase of over 36,000 steps which equates to a daily increase of 1200 steps per day. The total for the month was over 236,000 steps with an average of 7,857 steps per day. Five of those days had step totals of at least 10,000 steps (the goal). In aerobic steps, the results were similar. This pedometer geek managed 29,952 aerobic steps over thirteen days. Still, despite this, the goal of 10,000 steps daily over the course of a month has yet to be achieved. It is hoped that some day it will occur, perhaps even this year.

In the second resolution, which is essentially to read more books, and the two http://www.bookcrossing.com challenges that are an adjunct to this, results were positive, too. The challenges are divided into the SIY (set-it-yourself) challenge and the pages-read challenge.

During the month, ten books were read. One was nonfiction, the rest fiction, which was divided up into mainstream fiction, YA (young adult), historical fiction, suspense, and mystery. Seven of the authors were new to me. Several were part of a series, and at least one was read in an e-book format. All in all, it was a diverse set of reads.

As for the SIY challenge, the challenge that began April 1 and ended June 30 was met. With an hour to go on the last day of the quarter, I completed the last of the books I had chosen to read throughout the quarter. One of these, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, took nearly the whole quarter to complete.

As for the pages-read challenge, I read 3,981 pages for the month bringing the yearly total to 19,648 pages. With the goal of 35,000 pages for the year, I am more than halfway done with over 56% completed. I must admit that in the total for the month, I included the pages from one book that was started, but abandoned after completing about two-thirds of it. It is rare for this pedometer geek to abandon any book, and this one, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D. Putnam was actually interesting from a sociological point of view, but with the repetitiveness of the information, I felt that I had gleaned most of the ideas Putnam presented. Still, there may come a time when I return to this book.

Thus, in June, the following books were read:
The Far End of Happy by Kathryn Craft
Haven Lake by Holly Robinson *
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt *
The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman *
Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep
The Secret Circle: The Initiation/The Captive, Part I by L.J. Smith
A Star Called Lucky by Bapsy Jain *
At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen *
Until You’re Mine by Samantha Hayes *
The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory *

Mainstream fiction, with some blurring of genre lines, ruled this month’s reading. Four of the books (Robinson’s Haven Lake, Gruen’s At the Water’s Edge, Hayes’ Until You’re Mine, and Jain’s A Star Called Lucky) were all extensively reviewed on my review site, http://www.pedometergeek.wordpress.com since they were received as giveaway ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). The rest will be briefly described here.

Kathryn Craft’s The Far End of Happy is the story of a suicidal man through the perspectives of three women: his wife, his mother, and his mother-in-law. Told over a twelve-hour period, each reflects with fear, reminiscence, and contemplation as the suicide standoff takes place. Overall, a realistic read of difficult issues.

Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch is the story of a boy, Theodore Decker, and a painting. This painting, The Goldfinch, becomes his reason for living after his mother is killed in an art gallery explosion. This novel won the Pultizer prize for 2013, but it was not this reader’s favorite story.

Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife is the true story of the Warsaw zoo during World War II. Both the husband and the wife were instrumental in sheltering, protecting, and even saving many Poles and Jews from the Nazi regime. It was well researched and a fascinating aspect of the war.

Jennifer Estep’s Cold Burn of Magic is the first novel in a paranormal YA trilogy that features a magical thief-turned-protector/heroine, Lila Merriweather. She battles the various factions called Families in the most “magical place in America.” (And no, it isn’t in Orlando or Anaheim; it’s in West Virginia.) Reminiscent of her YA Mythos Academy series, it was still a fun, escapist read.

This read was followed up by L.J. Smith’s The Secret Circle (or at least the first two parts of the serial novel consisting of ‘The Initiation’ and ‘The Captive, Part I’). It is also a paranormal YA story, and newcomer Cassie becomes a member of a teen in-crowd called The Club, a group of teen witches living in New Salem. Forces of good and evil exist within the group, and the second part of this book series ends with a cliffhanger.

Philippa Gregory’s The Constant Princess is a historical novel of the life of Katherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII. Told from her perspective as a child betrothed to Arthur from three years of age, Katherine (Catalina as she is known) tells of her life in England as first the wife of Arthur, and then years later, as wife to Henry VIII, finally fulfilling her destiny by becoming Queen of England. This tale further expanded the knowledge this reader has acquired of the Tudor kings and queens over the years.

That’s it for June; the second half of the year has started, and there are steps to take and books to read, which include challenges. Suggestions of books and authors are always welcomed by this pedometer geek.

* SIY books

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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