Monday, April 23, 2012


A week ago I celebrated my birthday and turned another year older. Each birthday for the past few years I have tried to make a to-do/goal list for the upcoming year. Two years ago, I made a bucket list-type where I tried to complete 22 new objectives before turning 22 (and failed miserably), and last year I set out to read 23 books before I turned 23.

You see, as I had mentioned before, I was a late bloomer on the loving-to-read-wagon; as in, I just jumped on last year. Since moving to Chicago, I realized that my commutes (which have always been at least a half hour... my current one being an hour long) could be put to much better use (rather than people watching or sitting with a blank stare) by reading. So, my love for reading was born, and I decided to really get the ball moving at my 22nd birthday with the 23 books by 23.

Well, back in January or February I stumbled across the list that I had been making of the books I had read, and I realized then that I wasn't really on track to finish my goal, but still had read over 15 books - which was a huge deal for me, being new to this whole reading-outside-of-class-thing. I was still extremely proud of myself.

Then, a few weeks ago when I was packing up our old apartment for the move, I came across the list again, sat down with it for a few minutes, added a few books that I had read, and when I counted them all up - I HAD READ 23!! I didn't even know how close I was, and yet, I had accomplished my goal!

So, here is my list of 23 books that I read in the past year:
The Help (my first book of the year, and a great one at that)
Blue Like Jazz (I had read it before in high school and enjoyed it then, but maybe even more so now.)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (All of these were read within 2 weeks, finished before the last movie's premiere.)
Ordinary People (upon Mr. Allen's recommendation)
The Nanny Diaries (extremely fitting for my current job situation)
The Hunger Games
Chasing Fire
Mockingjay (all read back to back rather quickly)
Mere Christianity (good, but hard to get through)
The Screwtape Letters (upon Mr. Allen's recommendation)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (good plot, too much graphic-ness, not worth reading the others)
The Catcher in the Rye (I had read this in high school for class and loved it; not so much this time.)
Cold Tangerines (second time through, still amazing)
Bittersweet (not as good as Cold Tangerines, but good stories)
Water for Elephants (one of the first books I read in the year)
The Four Seasons of Marriage (not extremely applicable right now in our marriage, but good to know)
Start Something that Matters (I've written about this before)
Breastfeeding, A Parent's Guide (I read this in a weekend, but I'm sure it will be pulled back out often in the next few months)
The Dubious Salvation of Jack V (I just randomly found this book on the new titles shelf at the library and picked it up.)
Heaven is For Real (This was an amazing book - go pick it up and read it. I read it in a matter of a few hours, on a trip from Michigan to Chicago. It was that good.)

And there you have it, 23 books. I know for some of you that list may seem miniscule, but for me it was a big challenge. I am so proud of myself for really finishing it! And, with that mindset, I should probably make my "by 24" list for this year I'm currently 6 days into. Look for that post coming soon!

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