February 2016’s reads of a pedometer geek

Even with an extra day added to the calendar, the shortest month in the year has ended. A sixth of the year is over, yet for this pedometer geek the resolutions made in January continue. There are two main ones: to read more and to put steps on the pedometer.

February is usually one of the worst for putting steps on the pedometer, but for this pedometer geek, this was not the case. In the past, the daily goal of 10,000 steps has been met infrequently; however, during the month, there were only five days in which the goal was not met. After years of falling short of the goal, this pedometer geek is proud to announce that finally the goal overall was met by putting on 291,968 steps (averaging 10,071 steps per day). Added to this, there were 159,519 aerobic steps (again a new record and more steps than the whole month of February in 2015, but I digress), which were obtained, for the most part, by walking on the treadmill. There was only one day in which no aerobic steps were managed. There was a daily low of 3085 steps, which was followed the following day with the high of 14,313 steps.

While proud of having achieved this goal, this pedometer geek is not willing to rest and will continue to put steps on the pedometer. Now to make the daily goal of 10,000 steps and not to miss a day even if it takes climbing on the treadmill late at night. Moreover, long-term healthy living is the ultimate goal.

As for the other resolution, to read more books, included in this resolution are some http://www.bookcrossing.com reading challenges. The first is a yearlong challenge called the pages-read challenge; the other is a quarterly challenge called SIY (set-it-yourself) challenge.

Addressing the challenges first, with the pages-read challenge, 3,857 pages were read bringing the yearly total to 6,618 pages read toward the goal of 40,000 pages. In the SIY challenge, six of the sixteen books were completed during the month, With those completed in January, there remains seven books to be completed by the end of March.

Twelve books were read during the month. At least ten of the authors were new to this reader. Two of the books were nonfiction; the rest were fiction of various genres. One was a novella, and another book was an anthology of three stories from different authors. Three were read in an e-book format, and one was a book that has been included on the 1001-books-you-must-read-before-you-die list (despite the title of this list, this reader will probably die before completing all of them, but I digress once again).

In February, the following books were read:
The Sea Keeper’s Daughters by Lisa Wingate *
Fantomas by Marcel Allain
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffennegger *
Locked by Maya Cross
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown *
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell *
Appalachian Serenade (a novella) by Sarah Loudin Thomas
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Lovers’ Tango by Mark Rubinstein *
Followed by Frost by Charlie N. Holmberg
Bad Boys in Black Tie by Lori Foster, Erin McCarthy, and Morgan Leigh *

Looking back over the books read, they were a diverse lot. Several were mainstream novels, but all of those were very different. Genres read include suspense/thrillers, romances, YA, and fantasy. Lisa Wingate’s The Sea Keeper’s Daughters, Sarah Loudin Thomas’s Appalachian Serenade, and Mark Rubinstein’s The Lovers’ Tango were all extensively reviewed on http://www.pedometergeek.wordpress.com. Each of the others will be briefly touched upon except for the two nonfiction books. Those will be discussed a bit more.

Marcel Allain’s Fantomas is a suspenseful thriller about a serial killer. Written in the early 1910s, this was the first in a series that stars the elusive Fantomas and the police detective who tracks him down. It is always fascinating to read novels written when language was more complex. It’s a great way to expand one’s vocabulary.

Niffennegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife is a mainstream novel that is about a great love that transcends time through the intricacies of time travel. Henry travels through time, both backwards and forwards, and first meets his wife Clare when he is forty-something and she, a child. Eventually they meet in real time as the story unfolds. This tale is multi-layered and complex. For what it is worth, this novel is also on the 1001-BYMRBYD list.

Locked by Maya Cross and the three stories that comprise the anthology, Bad Boys in Black Tie, are also contemporary romances. The former is the first in an erotic romance series and is more graphic than the others, but there are spicy moments in all of them.

Eleanor & Park is a YA romance novel about two misfit teens who become friends over shared enjoyment of comics and music. Avoiding bullies of all sorts bond them even more as they try to navigate the pitfalls of high school.

The Secret Life of Bees is Sue Monk Kidd’s debut novel about a young girl who goes looking for information about who her mother was. Set in the South during the time of the struggle for Civil Rights, Lily discovers her mother in the home of three black beekeeping sisters.  When she and her ‘stand-in mother’ Rosaleen run away to the town listed on the back of a old postcard of her mother, Lily unravels the secret to her mother’s past.

Charlie N. Holmberg’s Followed by Frost is a fantasy novel about a young woman who is cursed after hurting a wizard’s feelings. The curse isolates her from family and friends as she constantly brings cold and snow wherever she travels. How to live with her curse is the gist of the imagination-laden story.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics is the nonfiction story of the rowing team that went to the 1936 Olympics, which were held in Berlin. Against the backdrop of Hitler’s rise in Germany, the story of these nine young men is told. From the boys who began rowing as freshmen at the University of Washington until their last gold medal race against the best teams from around the world, it is a tale of both struggle and triumph. In particular, it is the story of Joe Rantz. Although all of the team members were highlighted throughout, Joe’s upbringing was featured. Basically on his own since a teen (twice abandoned by his father), he had a rough life surviving by living alone and working (cutting firewood and other odd jobs) during the Depression to help pay for his tuition. Starting as one of about 180 freshman males vying for a position, Joe battled for a spot on the rowing team. Following this team’s races over the four years is compelling writing by the author. Even knowing that this group of men won the top prize, Brown keeps the tension high until the final race is completed. Moreover he tells of their lives after their time at the Olympics; he tells of their successes beyond their time at college. This story, while starting a bit slow, is compelling reading. It is well worth the effort if only to find out about the sport of rowing, but there is so much more to this book.

The other book of note was Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road. From the first passage in which she talks about her parents and her life on the road every summer to her life as an organizer and activist. Told in a random fashion, Steinem tells of her experiences with some of the people she’s met along the way from taxi cab drivers to politicians to other activists to everyone in between. Her wide-ranging life experiences range from humorous to frustrating to heartbreaking. Whether with new friends or old ones, she enjoys life to the fullest and makes the most of what she wants to do and be. Although she is known as a feminist who began Ms magazine, she is really a humanist as she meets and treats every person with respect and dignity. Overall, this is a recommended read for anyone.

That’s it for February’s reads, and now on to March, which may be the month 10,000 steps every single day is finally achieved.

SIY books are indicated with an asterisk.



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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