When A Dumb Goal Seems To Carry Something Bigger.

Before we get started: I got so much kind feedback on yesterday’s post! Thanks! Honestly? It helped me too! I mean, I hadn’t sat down and REALLY compared my childhood to my kid’s yet and I realized there were just as many terrible distractions I was obsessed with as my kids are and – eh – I guess every generation has that? Anyway. It helped me as much as it helped you.

Okay. So I’ve always loved reading. Reading was my escape during the years I now realize I was suffering from major mental health issues. We would go to the library every two weeks and Dad let us check out 3-4 books and I just loved escaping into worlds not my own. I also read all of the VC Andrews and Dean Koontz and Danielle Steel at my Mom’s house. I just loved reading. I always have. 

But I have also always gone through these phases where I read non-stop – 10 books in a month – and then I’ll go months without reading anything. Over time I made the connection with how books STILL seem to help me with my mental health issues. I think it’s because I always have this constant hum of sadness or worry under the surface. It’s always there. 100% of the time there is this layer of pain under everything in my life. When that layer becomes more intrusive, medication helps, but it is 100% always there. It’s something I’ve just accepted and my goal is to manage my mental health around it.

WHICH! I have found is much easier when I have a book to read during the “off” times instead of surfing social media or killing time mindlessly on the internet.  SO! In January – LONG BEFORE I REALIZED HOW MANY BAD THINGS WERE GOING TO HAPPEN THIS YEAR – I set a goal to read 100 books in 2018. And then…THEN, I lost my job, my Mom had her wreck, and I started driving to Knoxville several times a week to help. So, you know, I really need all of the baseline help I could get.

I did okay. The months around Mom’s wreck and the transition to spending so much time in Knoxville I didn’t read a lot, but as of right now I’ve read 79 books I think. And that is just SO CLOSE TO MEETING MY GOAL. I know it’s a weird arbitrary goal to strive for because I fail at goals all the time, I don’t know why I’m so hung up on this one. I’m a big believer in setting a goal because any step you take towards it is not wasted, so I don’t really panic if I don’t REACH the goals. But for some reason I REALLY WANT TO REACH THIS GOAL. It’s like it’s giving me some sort of way to redeem 2018 when I lost my job, threw a financial hardship on my family, and then compounded that by disappearing for half of every week for 6+ months.

I NEED REDEMPTION. 

I’ve read a HUGE variety of books so far. I’ve done 4 re-reads in the form of audio books (I can only do audio on a re-read or a non-fiction because my mind wanders too much), and I think 4 comic book collections, but the rest have been held-in-my-hands “real” books. I’ve read non-fiction and fiction. I’ve read YA and not. I’ve made a point of trying to read diverse authors and stories. So now we’re down to the last 20 books and I need your help. I need QUICK TO READ books. Preferably not benign – I’d like to at least try to give some diverse author/diverse story points while reading them. But I’m talking about page-turners that aren’t so heavy I need to take breaks from them.  

I REALLY WANT TO MAKE THIS GOAL, GUYS. I have a few books lined up. These are the last three books I read and I read all of them in 4 days SO I CAN DO THIS. I just need your help. 

This is a good assortment of the type of books I like too. They were all excellent. Page-turning, easy to read, didn’t weigh me down so much that I had to step away. LOVE LOVE LOVE THEM!

Send me your recommendations! HELP ME DO THIS!

18 Comments

  • Carrie

    I CANNOT recommend “Meaty” and “We are Never Meeting in Real Life” by Samantha Irby ENOUGH!!! They are both easy to read in a day, and hilarious.

  • Fraulein N

    I can’t remember if you’ve read A Blade So Black, but I think it would be right up your alley. Teenage girl fights monsters in a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, the heroine is black, and nothing too too scary happens. And I second the We Are Never Meeting in Real Life recommendation. So funny, and a pretty fast read.

  • Hillary

    Have you read the Binti books by Nnedi Okorafor? They are quick reads, but very enjoyable.

    I also loved the Wedding Date and the Proposal by Jasmine Guillory.

    And I just read I am Princess X by Cherie Priest, which is YA and part book, part graphic novel.

    • Zoot

      Putting the Jasmine Guillory books on hold at the library now! I think I read the Binti books, they sound familiar but if not I’m reading those too! (I have to check my spreadsheet :))

  • Angela

    We seem to love all the same books, so I hope you enjoy these! From my own reading challenge goal of 150 (which I am not going to reach):

    The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli
    Truly Devious – Maureen Johnson
    Leah on the Offbeat – Becky Albertalli
    Darius the Great is Not Okay – Adib Khorram
    The Serpent King – Jeff Zentner
    Goodbye Days – Jeff Zentner
    Flying Lessons and Other Stories – Ellen Oh
    The Twelve Tribes of Hattie – Ayana Mathis
    The Belles – Dhonielle Clayton
    American Panda – Gloria Chao
    Twelve Steps to Normal – Farrah Penn
    Challenger Deep – Neal Shusterman
    Half Broke Horses – Jeanette Walls
    The Good Braider – Terry Farish
    Jane, Unlimited – Kristin Cashore

    Happy reading!!

  • Betsy

    The Royal We by the Fug Girls is quick and light and so fun.

    My whole family read Children of Blood and Bone, a YA fantasy story set in Africa.

    They Both Die in the End by Adam Silvera seems up your alley, too.

  • Lauren Edson

    I’m not sure this is the type of book you want, but it’s the only book I’ve been able to get through in a long time because I fall asleep so quickly while reading at night. The Alice Network is a page-turner WWI thriller about a female spy ring and is based on real events. I couldn’t put it down.

  • Amber Scott

    The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne Valente! It’s a short read, and super compelling.
    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman if you haven’t read that one already. It’s fairly short, but one of my favorite books of all time. Bonus: Neil Gaiman narrates the audiobook, and he is always a delight to listen to.

    Good luck!

  • Rhia Perkins

    Some of my faves that make me think you’d like them.

    All the Birds in the Sky – Charlie Jane Anders
    The Marrow Thieves – Dimaline, Cherie
    Dear Lucy – Sarkissian, Julie
    The Universe Versus Alex Woods – Extence, Gavin
    The Clothes They Stood Up In – Bennett, Alan
    The Prince and the Dressmaker – Wang, Jen
    Our Souls at Night – Haruf, Kent
    A Man Called Ove – Backman, Fredrik
    Nimona – Stevenson, Noelle
    Any of Mary Roach’s nonfiction
    Mrs Queen Takes the Train – Kuhn, William
    A Dirty Job (Grim Reaper, #1) – Moore, Christopher *

  • Laura

    Yay, book recommendations! I’m not sure that all of these are in your wheelhouse, but they’re ones that I read and particularly enjoyed. No particular order, many YA, all fairly light and fast-moving, I think. Thanks for all of the books that you’ve recomended–hopefully I didn’t include too many that I read because I saw them here!

    The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog – Dave Barry
    A Ring of Endless Light – Madeline L’Engle
    Soul Music – Terry Pratchett
    Hogfather – Terry Pratchett
    The Haters – Jesse Andrews
    The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness
    A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
    Britt-Marie Was Here – Fredrik Backman
    Winger – Andrew Smith
    Belong to Me – Marisa de los Santos
    One Plus One – Jojo Moyes
    The Cardturner – Louis Sachar
    Sorta Like a Rock Star – Matthew Quick
    The Reason You’re Alive – Matthew Quick
    One Crazy Summer – Rita Williams-Garcia
    The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin – Josh Berk
    The Spellman Files – Lisa Lutz
    When My Heart Joins the Thousand – A.J. Steiger
    Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Jamie Ford
    Hooper – Geoff Herbach
    Whale Talk – Chris Crutcher
    Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe – Preston Norton
    The Last Anniversary – Liane Moriarty
    Whatever – S.J. Goslee
    The Art of Being Normal – Lisa Williamson

  • T

    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine was a quick read and a good story. I have some other favorites I’ve read this year, but they may be longer than you want right now: Girls Burn Brighter, Exit West, A Gentleman in Moscow, State of Wonder.

  • Tina

    Because I’m visual (or totally judge a book by its cover) I like to “see” the books and I have a horrible memory…so I made this to share when people as for reading ideas. https://www.pinterest.com/tinamiles/books-i-can-recommend/ The most recent ones there there I Just read and LOVED “Bright as Heaven” (Historical fiction about 1918 Flu outbreak but so much more), “Before the Fall” and one that has stuck with me for so long, “Station Eleven”–the most hopeful “end of the world book” ever.

  • Monica

    I recommend juvenile/middle grade fiction for quick but still excellent reading:
    George – Alex Gino
    You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! – Alex Gino
    Harbor Me – Jacqueline Woodson
    The War that Saved My Life – Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
    Nightbird – Alice Hoffman
    When You Reach Me – Rebecca Stead
    Same Sun Here – Silas House and Neela Vashwani
    Sarah Plain and Tall – Patricia MacLachlan

    YA:
    Puddin’ – companion to Dumplin’
    Mary’s Monster – Lita Judge (not light, but very quick and full of beautiful illustrations)
    Loving vs. Virginia – Patricia Hruby Powell (another super quick one with illustrations)
    To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han
    The Hired Girl- Laura Amy Schlitz

    Trevor Noah and Amy Schumer have great memoirs.
    The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally is funny.

  • Christie

    The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson (actually, anything by her! The Girl Who Stopped Swimming broke through a reading block I had a few years ago.)

    A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti

    My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

    Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst

    The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

    Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (Warning! First in a series– I know you hate that but it’s so good!)

    Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes

    Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages (Also, if you’ve never read her book The Green Glass Sea, you should!)

    Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

  • Olivia

    Most recently, I read “The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Hoang. Easy read, finished in 2 days and loved it. It’s funny and sweet. In the book, a brilliant econometrician with Asperger’s learns how to navigate relationships by hiring a male escort to teach her the unwritten rules of sex and dating. He’s patient and empathetic, an obvious contrast to her previous partners who took advatage of her naivety. The book perfectly captures typical social frustrations and perspectives on dating from someone on the spectrum, and portrays dating with “mild” autism in a very human way.