Wednesday, September 19

@AuthorKristina's 50 Books Check-In

 I haven't been diligent about reporting in on my 50 books challenge this year - probably mostly because I've only made it through 4 books on that list. It isn't that I don't like the books, but I've had several recommendations from friends that pushed past it. Also, that some of the books haven't been available at our local branch library so I'm on a waiting list from a larger city branch.

I really do like this challenge, though, and so I'm going to keep going with the list of the 50 most famous books from each of the 50 states...I just think it's going to be a multi-year challenge for me! The four "states" I've read:

Arkansas: Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
I think I've read this book at least 5 times now, but I always come away with something new. It's the first time I've read it since we adopted bebe, and what I learned from it this time was that I want to be better at helping her embrace the things about her that are "different". Whether that's her hair or the way she learns or her inquisitive nature or her need for independence.

Maine: Stephen King, On Writing
Okay, technically this book isn't on the list. It is on the list but that book is a no-go for me (clowns, y'all, clowns... shiver). And I thought about subbing Kujo or one of this other books (that I actually like) but I went with On Writing because I was in a bit of a writing funk and that book always helps bring me out of it. I like the conversational tone he takes, I like that his main advice isn't "write X words per day for X number of days in a row". King's point, to me, is to write. Write what interests and excites you. Write what scares you. Write the things that you question and that you know and that you want to learn. Write it all and see where it takes you. That's what I've been doing and I have to say, it's working pretty well.

North Carolina: Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook
You guys know I'm not a huge Sparks fan. But I do actually like this specific book of his (we won't go into his on-going "I'm not a romance writer, I write Important Things" quotes when reporters call him a romance author). I think he does a really good job of drawing the character of Noah, specifically, and the depth of love that Noah feels. I think Noah is why I like this book, particularly, because I'm just a sappy, sucker for romantics. Noah saw all of the obstacles that life could throw at them (the differences in their upbringing, the fact that she came from money, the fact that they argued as much as they loved), and when life threw him a curveball he wasn't expecting (Alzheimers) he figured out a way to deal with that, too. That's what love is all about, don't you think?

Virginia: Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia

This was a re-read for me, and I'm so glad I didn't do a sub on it! I first read Terabithia in fourth grade and I adored it then. When bebe brought it home toward the end of last school year, I decided it would be fun to read it together (we literally alternated reading chapters) and then when RadioMan was off on a sports trip, we watched the movie. Anywho. What I loved about the book was the message for girls: that you don't have to slow down, that you can be strong but also forgiving...I mourned with Jess over Leslie's death, and I was filled with hope when he crowned May Belle the new Queen of Terabithia.

Those are some of my reads of 2018 - what are your favorites? 


  1. Great reads! I haven't even attempted the challenge this year, but I've read some lovely stuff. All women's fiction and romance. Nan's new book, Kristan Higgins--which is in my top 10 for my lifetime--some Marie Bostwick, one of Jana's, Beth Carpenter... I've discovered a few voices that are new to me--I'm reading RaeAnne Thayne right now--and am enjoying reading quite a bit.

    1. Kristan Higgins' book is on my TBR and I can't wait to dig in to it - I've heard great things!

  2. I just finished my 50th book yesterday! Now, I’m done for the year. Lol. Not.

    Among my favorites...Next Year in Havana, The Optimists Guide to Letting Go, All We Ever Wanted, and To All the Boys I Loved Before trio.

  3. So Kristi, is your reading challenge for specific books from each state or can you choose a book from that state? (like you did with On Writing) I'm currently at 33 books, which is more than last year, so that makes me happy. I've read audiobooks, ebooks and print. Most are romance but I've read a few writing craft books and some non-fiction. With any luck I'll get to 50 this year!

    1. there are two lists, one is for the "most famous" books set in each state and the other is for "the best" book set in each state. When I do the substituting, I just choose a book from that state or that author. Good luck with your reading challenge, Jana!

  4. I wondered about that as well and hope they didn't put 50 Shades or Twilight as the Washington choices. Lol

    1. they did not! lol

      Here are the links: "the best" ---

      and "most iconic/famous" ---