I am an organization junkie! I get excited when I can take something that isn't working or that's become a mess or cluttered and fix it by organizing. In fact, I love it so much I have from time to time messed things up so I can organize them again. I've had an ongoing problem keeping book series organized so that I know what book is next and what books I've already read. When I had paper books this was much easier but since I've started reading ebooks a few years back, it has gotten harder to do. The Kindle or Kindle apps don't have a way to organize your book lists, mark what's read, and add series info to keep them in order. And most online databases or apps have books missing, require too much upkeep or go out of favor and disappear.
I have tried to just write things down but that that wasn't always a good solution either. I didn't want to carry an extra journal or notebook around and invariably I'd need it when I wasn't at home. And if I made lists in my carry-around journal, I'd have to keep rewriting them after each journal is filled. (WHich doesn't take as long as you'd think.) After I spent way too long today trying to figure out which book came next in a series and which one was the last I had read, I decided to find an organized solution.
I recently picked up a planner punch from We R Memory Keepers and had purchased the additional punches for spiral notebooks. The four-holes-per-inch option was the perfect fit for my Erin Condren planner. While playing around with it and testing it a bit today, I came up with a solution: a single page typed list that I could punch and insert into my Erin Condren planner. Here's what makes it work so well:
I get very happy when I've found an easy system that keeps me organized. So today was a very good day!
I have read 40 books so far this year. That's a pretty good pace, although my nonfiction reading has not been where it usually is. My winter and spring were difficult and I didn't have the mental energy to do too much concentrating on books. By the time I had a change to read, I was too tired and depleted to read nonfiction. But I've picked up the pace the last month and I expect to read a good deal of work-related books this summer.
I read seven books in June. The best book I read last month was Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal. I highly recommend it. I was happy to know there are more books in the series and I plan to read all of them. They were a great blend of history, mystery and a tiny bit of romance. The author has a great way of creating a scene in your head and a time of history that I never experienced felt very real and familiar in her writing. Her character development was well done and while it can be classified as a cozy mystery, it felt much more substantial and richer than the usual cozy. The herione was likeable, smart and down to earth. She didn't do stupid things for no reason and her battles with being a woman in a man's world were relatable and humanizing. I cannot say enough good things about the book.
I continued my way through the Agatha Raisin books via audiobook. Penelope Keith is a great reader and makes Agatha come alive. My favorite Agatha conversation in the last book was:
Lawyer: I can't do anything. I'm not a criminal lawyer. I'm a business lawyer.
Agatha: Well get down here and learn!
I also read Rod Dreher's The Benedict Option. It left me with a lot to think about. I will likely be writing about it in more detail at some point once I've done some thinking about it.
In July, I am eager to read July Hyzy's latest Grace mystery and I'm finally getting around to the latest Spice Shop mystery. And the third book in the "Map of Fates" series comes out this month and I plan to read it in one sitting, as I did the first two in the series.
As for nonfiction, I'm currently re-reading a few books on spiritual formation for something I'm writing. And I plan to start the book "Loving My Actual Life" by Alexandra KuyKendall a little later this month.
What about you? What are you reading? Anything to recommend we read or something we should avoid? Share in the comments!
I only read three books in December. I had a busy month with Christmas. If I hadn't gone to the beach for three days after Christmas, I'd have only read one book in December! After reading so much on sabbatical, I was in a bit of a reading slump. But January and February are always big reading months for me. There's something about cold weather that makes me crave a good book!
Here are the books I hope to get to in January:
How about you? What are you hoping to read in January?
I did not set a specific reading goal in 2017. I knew that it would be a different year for me because of my sabbatical and wasn't sure how much to expect. I ended up reading 66 books this year, which is less than normal but not as bad as my worst year in recent history, so I'm satisfied with that.
I do have two reading goals for 2017:
I'm on goodreads as jessilrobinson and I track my nonfiction reading there. If you want to see nonfiction is on my TBR shelf, drop by and visit my goodreads account.
Each month, I'll post a reading recap on the blog. I'll include the number of books I read the month before, any favorite titles to share from that list and a look at what I'll be reading next.
What about you? Do you have any book or reading goals for the new year?
I read 26 books during my sabbatical. While some were fiction, the majority were nonfiction. Here is a list of some of the nonfiction, along with a few basic thoughts on some of my favorites.
What about you? Have you read anything that really blessed you lately? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!