The last month of the year and the beginning of another is a wonderful time for reflection and for making plans for the future. The resolutions that began (or perhaps a better way to describe it, were continued from 2014) on the first of January lasted for the entire year. Those same resolutions will still be in place now that the calendar has once again flipped over. As a reminder, those resolutions are basically to put more steps on the pedometer with the goal of 10,000 steps per day and to read more books.
December was one of the better months for this pedometer geek for the first resolution. While the overall total was not as high as July’s, it was the second best for the year at 248,218 steps, which averaged out at 8007 steps per day. The aerobic step total for the month was 95,673 steps, which were accumulated over twenty-five days. Nine days saw totals of at least 10,000 steps. Of course, there is still room for improvement as the goal has not yet been met. Perhaps in 2016 this pedometer geek will regularly achieve the milestone of 10,000 steps a day.
As the end of the year approached, reading slacked off a bit, yet ten books, all fiction, were completed during the month. Six of the authors had never been read before and the books ran the gamut of genres. Only one novel was read in an e-book format.
The two http://www.bookcrossing.com challenges in which this reader participates showed some slacking off as well. The SIY (set-it-yourself) challenge was a failure as the last book, which needed to be completed, wasn’t. Alas, fewer than three hundred pages were needed to complete the last book (Summer Sisters by Judy Blume) before the year ended, but they weren’t. Even now, the novel sits uncompleted on the bedside table. However, 2016’s first quarter’s SIY challenge has been decided upon with fifteen more titles to complete by the end of March. Added to that is this reader’s intention to complete the last one from this challenge, bringing the total to sixteen particular books to read.
On the other hand, the yearlong pages-read challenge was more successful. Originally, this reader challenged herself to read 35,000 pages, but when that was accomplished a couple months ago, it was increased to 40,000 pages. In December, the total number of pages that were read was 2836 bringing the yearly total to 41,206 pages, which is based only upon completion of the books. (Not included in this total, but probably the most important reading this pedometer geek reads, were continuing education articles, twenty-two in total in 2015, but I digress.) Again, the same challenge has been chosen with a goal of 40,000 pages to be read during 2016.
The following books were read in December:
Madeleine’s War by Peter Watson *
A Killer Read by Erika Chase *
Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot *
The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera
A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy *
Hide and Seek by Fern Michaels
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon *
The Virgin’s Spy by Laura Andersen
Mine, All Mine by Ella J. Quince
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny *
Various genres made up this diverse set of reads, which will discussed only in passing. There were several mysteries (A Killer Read, which is about a murder that happens during a book club meeting, Size 12 is Not Fat, which is also classified as YA, and The Cruelest Month, which was extensively reviewed on my review site http://www.pedometergeek.wordpress.com). There was also a historical novel (Madeleine’s War, which was also reviewed on my review site). There was another YA novel (The Whale Rider, which was set in New Zealand). Added to the mix was an alternative historical novel (The Virgin’s Spy, a continuation of a series about the Tudor Queen, Elizabeth). There was also a contemporary romance (Mine, All Mine). Last, but not least, were several mainstream novels (A Week in Winter, which was Binchy’s final novel, Hide and Seek, which could also be classified as women’s fiction, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, which is on the 1001-Books You Must Read Before You Die list).
With the year ending, here is a brief review of the year’s reading material. One hundred forty-two books were read. Of these, some were short stories; some were anthologies; some were novellas with the majority being full-length books. Only six non-fiction titles were read; the rest were divided into various genres of fiction. In the mix were mysteries, suspense-thrillers, romances, YA novels, historical novels, and mainstream novels. Fantasy, paranormal, magical realism, dystopian, and science fiction were included in the reading material as well. Quite a few of the books blurred genre lines.
A few books were part of various series; some of these series were originally started in previous years (and then completed in 2015); others were started and completed in 2015, and a few of the series will be finished in this and subsequent years.
Seventy-nine of the books read were written by new (to me, at least) authors. Quite a few of the books were by debut authors, yet many of them were written by authors that I will return to in the future. Authors this reader considers as favorites were also represented throughout the year, and some show up frequently on the list of books read during the year.
Nearly thirty books were received as ARCs (advanced reader copies) or directly from the author through giveaways. By the way, most of them were reviewed extensively on http://www.pedometergeek.wordpress.com. Approximately thirty percent were read in an e-book format.
Yes, there was some trash among the treasures; there were some notable books among the soon-to-be-forgotten. While this list is not exhaustive, the following books are a few outstanding ones that this reader won’t forget any time soon:
First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen (It’s a worthy sequel to her Garden Spells, but any of her novels are worth reading.)
The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman (This is the true story of Polish zookeepers who helped many Jewish men and women escape the Warsaw Ghetto, thereby saving lives.)
Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts (This is a YA novel of two Australian teens becoming friends as they deal with cancer.)
The House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuck (This historical novel is based on the lives and love story of Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife Sophia Peabody.)
The Knight’s Wife by Nick Shamhart (It’s a non-traditional romance that is full of laughs with a great deal of truth about men-women relationships.)
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (It’s a multi-layered story of World War II which also won the Pultizer Prize in 2014.)
Invasion of Privacy by Christopher Reichs (This suspense-thriller opened this reader’s eyes to how easily hacking of computers can occur, how data can be manipulated, yet all the while a suspenseful read.)
At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen (Two men and a woman travel to Scotland during World War II in order to find evidence of the Loch Ness monster, and it changes all of their lives.)
Adding Karma Girl (and the whole series) by Jennifer Estep as just fun, lighthearted chick-lit reads.
SIY books are indicated by an asterick (*)