Winter Reads

Much like every year, I’ve been doing a ton of reading. I typically have a paperback, E-Book, and an audio book all going at the same time. I like to read the paperback in the morning before work. I listen to an E-Book in the car. And I read on my Kindle in the evenings before bed. As winter ends and spring is on the horizon here in Missouri, here’s a look at the books I’ve completed so far this year.

I just got hooked on David Sedaris at the end of last year and asked myself why did I wait until now? So I’ve set a goal to listen to or read all of his books this year to catch up. I prefer audio because he reads them. Unfortunately, I’ve been doing newest to oldest and some of the stories are repeated in other books. I’ve finished 5 of his books so far. I read two and the rest were audio. Sedaris is a master at the short story essay and I’ve found some inspiration in him. I highly recommend the audio if you like short stories!

I read both Barack Obama and Kamala Harris‘s books and they were definitely a master class in politics. They both spend a lot of time writing about bills and policies which got boring, but their information about the opposing sides were quite the eye opener. Very inspiring and informative! Biden’s book is waiting on my nightstand. Years ago, I’d never read anything related to politics, but after the previous administration I’ve definitely been trying to educate myself.

Winter Loon was a freebie that Amazon suggested to me. I gave it a chance and was glad I did. It’s Susan Bernhard’s debut novel about family and sacrifice, a coming-of-age story about a young man who loses his mother. Reminded me of Scott Heim’s writing. I was impressed.

I read two Sigrid Nunez books last year. Salvation City was a bit of a let down for me though. Found myself skimming through it. I suggest reading The Friend or What Are You Going Through instead. I loved both! I’ll definitely read her again though.

I love my southern greats and have been inspired by them for years, but there’s a reason why only a couple of Flannery O’Connor’s stories were required reading in college. I wanted to read the whole collection, her first publication, and I found myself skimming through it too.

I’ve followed Rick Reed for years ever since coming across one of his books by accident when I worked in a bookstore back in 1999. The Man from Milwaukee is about a man obsessed with Jeffrey Dahmer. Reed doesn’t disappoint. This was excellent on audio!

I reread Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places to find some inspiration for the mystery I’m currently writing. It definitely lit a spark in me. It was just as good the second time. I’ll probably end up rereading Sharp Objects by the end of the year. One of my favorite authors! I just wish she’d hurry up and write something else!

David Leavitt is another favorite author that I’ve followed for years. I’d never even heard of Martin Bauman so I bought it on Kindle. Not my favorite of his. It’s about a young man in college who becomes a writer. Not much substance. Just long chapters of him in school or working or obsessing over relationships. I listened to his Equal Affections on audio and it was much better. It’s about a family dealing with their mother’s cancer diagnosis. Some of his author books are much better.

Let’s Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih was getting a lot of buzz online. I took a chance on the audio and hated both of the lead characters from the start. It’s just about two pretentious gay men complaining about their love lives and ridiculing the gay community. I finished it, but I was so disappointed. Nothing original here.

Never Far Away by Michael Koryta is what I call a “fluffy mystery.” Just a cookie cutter mystery with a red bow on the end. I loved Koryta’s earlier work, but he’s fallen into this pattern ever since Hollywood came calling. I still enjoy his books though when I want to read a mystery and not think about it too hard. If you haven’t read her yet, Gillian Flynn is much better!

What did you read this year? I’m always open to good book suggestions.

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