The thrill of picking out a new book is almost as great as finding one.
I’ve really enjoyed Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2020 Reading Challenge so far because I’ve purposefully sought out books I may not have picked otherwise. I like that the challenge is open-ended. I haven’t been stuck in a specific title. If I start something I don’t like I can switch to a new title within the criteria. I love hunting down my next title and have settled on some pretty good picks.
I thought today I’d update you on my progress so far and seek out some help for what to read next.
A book published the decade you were born
Another goal I have over the next two years is to read all of the Newbery Award winners before the 2022 release of the 100th award winner. For this criterion, I looked up the award winners from the 80s.
I started both of these goals by reading Jacob Have I Loved. It was perfect timing because I was reading The Red Tent and the book of Genesis at the same time. I wrote about all of these in a previous post.
A debut novel
I always like Reese Book Club picks and Where the Crawdads Sing did not disappoint. People have been recommending it all year so I finally gave it a try.
It is a coming-of-age novel that of course has a love story but also mixes in a murder mystery. I just loved the main character and found her so endearing. What an amazing book, especially for a debut novel.
A book recommended by a source you trust
Oh, my was this one, The Life We Bury, ever good. It was recommended by my favorite source I trust, my Mom. Mom blogs at Jo’s Country Junction and has a book review every Tuesday. This one, though, she called me and told me I must. read. She said it even made her top 20. Being a voracious reader I knew this was an exclusive list so I gave it a try.
I would say this one is in my top 20 too. I love the location of central Minnesota, as I am familiar with the area. The main character, Joe, is late to sign up for college courses so he is “stuck” with a biography course. He does not know his extended family so he seeks out someone to interview at a local nursing home. He meets Carl, a convicted rapist and murderer who is out on parole because of terminal cancer.
The book is at once a coming of age novel, a whodunit from the past, with a whodonit from the present happening at the same time. It is engaging and endearing from beginning to end.
A book by a local author
I’m spoiled in that I get to count Heather Gudenkauf as a local author. This particular book, Not a Sound, was based in Dubuque aka “Mathias” and had lots of features we were familiar with. I would occasionally read passages to Spencer to see if he could guess where she was referring to.
Not a Sound is told from the perspective of a woman grappling with the grief of losing her hearing, career, and marriage after a terrible accident. She finds a dead body of someone she knows near her home and finds herself personally involved in the investigation… and the coverup.
I love Heather Gudenkauf books. There is usually a mystery but they are never too dark. They keep me interested but are neatly tied up at the end.
I’m a quarter of the way through my challenge. Even though I’ve already read a book from a trusted source, I need some help picking my next reads. Here’s what I have left:
- A book outside your (genre) comfort zone: I haven’t read fantasy since Harry Potter, and I’m the same age as Harry, to give you an idea of how long ago that was.
- A book in translation
- A book nominated for an award in 2020
- A re-read
- A classic you didn’t read in school: Don’t assume anything here… I was a good reader but a terrible student.
- Three books by the same author
I’m excited to hear your suggestions!