Every year, I aim to read as much as I can. And though I haven’t read the 52 books in a year that I dream of, I am proud of the number I do complete each year. In 2021, I am not setting a reading goal. Instead, my goal is simply to make time for reading.
How is that different? Well, making time for reading means sitting down to read. It means giving myself permission to sit down to read. And I don’t mean at the end of the day when I am too tired to do so.
I want to read when it rains. I want to read when the sun is shining. I want to read whenever the mood strikes.
So off we go.
- The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street by Karen White — Karen White’s Tradd Street series centers around a family with psychic abilities in Charleston, South Carolina, who use them to solve mysteries, helping spirits move on. It’s been several years since I read something by this author, but when I saw this novel I couldn’t resist. And though I read the first few chapters around Christmas, it wasn’t until New Year’s Day that I let myself be swept away. So yes, I finished this book mostly in a single day. And yes, I enjoyed the engrossing story immensely. And, if I am not mistaken, there are a few references to Hamilton in it as well, which gave me a chuckle. I love it too.
- Empire Falls by Richard Russo — This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about small-town life in Maine where the mills have stopped running rings true with the attitudes and relationships. The character development was what pulled me into the novel. But I was disappointed by the climax of the novel, which — while fitting for one character’s story arc — delivered a gut-punch of a scene without warning. As a mother of a school shooting survivor, I felt betrayed by the scene and the chapters that came after.
- Troubles in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand * — I am a sucker for books set by the beach. I am also a fan of Elin Hilderbrand, whose easy reading books often center around Nantucket and family dynamics. This book, her newest, though is a little different: Set on St. John, part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, a woman and her adult sons have arrived for a fresh start after the patriarch of the family is killed in a helicopter crash. Come to find out he 1) had a second family; 2) owned a spawling villa; and 3) was in all sorts of legal trouble. The story is filled with the usual family dynamics and interpersonal drama, but it’s not quite what you’d expect after a family learns of the duplicity that’s been swirling around them. Honestly, while easy to listen to, this wasn’t my favorite of her books. It was a bit too sweet, too much, too understanding.