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If Only: Part 1

April 22, 2010

I’m not a machine. Reading 80 books, plus the non-crossover book club book, is a lot for one year. I’ve read about people who read 150+ books a year — those people are awesome, no doubt. But they can’t possibly work 40 hours a week, have a toddler, and watch an unhealthy amount of television. (I can now add the gym to the list too — but I spend an hour at the gym 5 times a week and I really view that as just an expensive place to go watch television. I mean, right?) And tonight I’m headed to the Blazer playoff game…where I WON’T be taking a book with me. I mean it’s the playoffs! 

I love this challenge. LOVE it! The only drawback is that my “Books I Want to Read” wishlist is long and getting longer…and if they don’t fit in with the challenge, I’m relegated to adding those a “To Be Read in 2011” list. (Of course, that all depends on what challenge I pick for 2011.)

Many magazines and websites have started with their summer reading lists or the top beach reads of 2010 — and earlier in the year, I was reading all of the “Best of 2009” lists. The result? Books I’d love to check out, but can’t. But just because I don’t know if I can read them doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t read them and then tell me if they’re as good as the hype!

In no particular order, here are 5 books non-challenge related that I’d love to read right now:

I haven’t read any Elizabeth George. But her mystery novels have piqued my interest. Her most recent book Body of Death is getting a lot of attention…but I’m not one to pick up a series mid-novel. I like to go back all the way to the start. When I discovered Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone, I went straight to A is for Alibi and am plugging along in order. Grafton is total candy, but she’s fun and she’s my beach-book-go-to. If Elizabeth George’s books are as exciting and fast-paced as everyone says they are? Then I can’t wait to check them out.


I was a Stephen-King-aholic for most of my formative reading years. I’m kinda surprised my parents allowed their middle school daughter to curl up at night with Misery & The Stand…but they did; many sleepless nights ensued. (After reading Misery, my dad burst into my room one night with a chain-saw and a blow-torch. No joke. I think that’s a good glimpse into my household growing up. Maybe that’s why I turned out so crazy.) I took a King hiatus for a bit; although, I did read On Writing which is AMAZING.  Anyway, I’m curious about this latest King book. Sure, it has mixed reviews, but I’d like to see for myself.


The first book I read post-Elliott was Operating Instructions. And it was my second Lamott book after Bird by Bird. But I haven’t read any of her novels…and there is a piece of me that is wary. In my experience, authors are good at the memoir thing or the novel thing, but rarely both. Critics say this book is thematically and stylistically mature for Lamott and I’m intrigued by the subject matter. But what are other readers saying? Well, the general consensus is that she should stick with non-fiction. I’m curious anyway.


This book will be released in June. But it totally sounds like a book I’d buy for a plane ride or a trip to my family’s beach house. I’m unapologetic about my love for good thrillers. (Born from those Stephen King years, I guess.) It’s part gothic-thriller, part supernatural ghost story — I love those books that make me want to double-check the locks before I go to bed; books that make me think twice about walking from my bedroom to the kitchen without turning on the lights. 🙂


Okay. Usually books about American’s education system just make me angry — they depress me and make me feel like our government will never support quality education reform. As long as the people in leadership want to link money to test scores, we will never reclaim our schools. I just spent three eight hour days working on standards reform for our high school language arts classes — tense and mind-boggling work. Ultimately, I feel really good about the direction our school is moving — credit by proficiency linked to quality standards. But if you put standards reform into the hands of politicians instead? Ha!

Well…I’ll step off the soap box. I think my experience working in two different educational systems — America’s and Japan’s — has really formed a lot about my views on education. Every teacher should teach abroad for at least a year. Americans often lack perspective. Anyway, this book’s concept is interesting — a detailed look at NCLB and how testing has killed education. No book will get it right 100% of the time, but I know Ravitch is researched and I’d like to read this.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2010 2:04 am

    I admire someone who can do 150+ books a year, but I definitely can’t. I have 2 under 4 boys, work full time, do housechores, shop for groceries… so I understand what you mean. 🙂

    • April 23, 2010 10:55 am

      Two boys under 4? You must be SUPER busy!! I think it must be 100x easier to find time to read with one child than with multiple. It’s a busy life all around.

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