Rush to the Finish Line!

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We began setting reading goals each year when my daughter used to come home for Christmas. We’d gather in the upstairs kotatsu for coffee every evening about 9:00 and  discuss the best books we’d read in the year. This began when she was in high school and continued through college. We decided to each set a goal for how many books we intended to read in the coming year.

For the last ten fifteen years or so, I wrote down the title, author and genre of each book, with maybe a few comments on a book i really liked. It definitely motivated me to read more! Now Goodreads keeps track of what I am currently reading and how close I am to my goal. My challenge for 2014 was to read 75 books! A little ambitious, huh?

I am on #68 but, with only three weeks left till New Years, I don’t think I’m gonna reach my goal. I have read a lot of good books this year though so I guess it is a win-win challenge anyway!

I didn’t have time to blog about what I read the last month so I’ll just catch up with a few quick notes!

Eighty Days:

Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History Making Race Around the World

Almost as exciting as Jules Verne himself, the spunky reporter for The World, Nellie Bly set off from New York on a ship to England. Suffering from seasickness the first few days,Nellie soon recovered and made the amazing trip in just 75 days! A monthly magazine that had heard of the challenge, immediately sent free lance writer, Elizabeth Bisland off to circle the globe in the opposite direction, hoping she could beat Nellie and sell more copies at the same time!

This is a fast-moving and readable story.

Life and Death in Shanghai     by Nien Cheng

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I read this book about 30 years ago and bought it again. I know that the author was a Christian and worked for an American oil company in Shanghai before being imprisoned during the cCultural Revolution of 1967.

The rampant Red Guards invaded her home, smashing priceless Ming ceramics, burning antique scrolls and destroying everything in her home. She was taken to a detention center and continually interrogated, urged to confess to  crimes she didn’t commit. Most people broke down and denounced others to gain leniency. But Nien Cheng didn’t give in, even when tortured, even when she became very ill.

It is an amazing story of human endurance in the face of persecution. I enjoyed reading it this time as much as I did the first time!

The Cabinet of Curiosities          by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

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Took a break to re-read a mystery from my favorite detective writers, Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston! This on is particularly creepy and a great read!!

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Nobody Nowhere  by  Donna Williams

The story of a childhood she later pieced together, an inspiring tale of a young autistic woman who managed to overcome her limitations and create a life for herself in spite of an abusive mother and absent father!

The Senator’s Wife                      By Sue Miller

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Another fiction break! I got this for a dollar at the Largo  Library bookstore some years ago and finally took it to bed on a cold night! It was engrossing and kept me up till the wee hours! Good read!

Heart in the Right Place   by Carolyn Jourdan

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Now this was a book I really enjoyed. I guess it is light reading. All true and a very heartwarming story of what happens when a high-powered lawyer form New York returns to her Tennessee rural home to help her father in his small clinic. The colorful characters are quite entertaining and we can’t wait to see what Carolyn will decide in the end! Definitely recommended!

The Lincoln Letter  by   William Martin

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Tracking down a diary that had belonged to Lincoln is the dream of any historian. Taking place in 1864 and the present,  this fast-moving story is simply entertainment. Picked this one up at the Media PA library sale this October!

and yet another mystery!!…

Gone Girl          by Gillian Flynn

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Aunt Annie recommended this,or was reading it when I visited Philly. Have you seen the movie yet? It is a story that keeps us guessing till the end…and surprises us after all!

And just so you won’t think I’ve gone soft with my reading..

A Severe Mercy       by Sheldon Vanauken

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This book contain many heretofore unpublished letters by C. S. Lewis, ANd no wonder as the writer got to know the famous man when he studied at Cambridge. This is a deeply touching story that wery well parallels Lewis’ own tragic love story we can read about in Surprised by Joy. Vanauken’s unique relationship with his wife, the tale of how, both agnostics, they find Christ. An important book about love and loss and what it means to follow Him.

Well, I may not make my 75 book goal but I did read some great books! Nien Cheng, Vanauken, and Carolyn Jourdan in particular!!