Five Books I’ve Read This Year & What I’m Reading Next

Five Books I've Read This Year at SkipperClan

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 Odds Against by Dick Francis

About a million years ago when I was a junior in high school, we were sent to the school library and told to pick an author for the many projects we would have for English class that year. We could choose fiction or non-fiction, novels or poetry, but we were encouraged to pick an author who’s work was prolific so that we would not find it difficult to complete the many tasks headed our way. Since I wasn’t driving at the time, the simplest way for me to ensure I had a solid choice was to pick an author who had a lot of items in our school’s library system. Please note, this was before the days of Google and Kindle. I confess to just scanning the shelves for an author with a lot of books.

Then I picked up one of Dick Francis’ mystery novels and was captured. I wasn’t sure how well a fiction author would work for an AP English class but I went ahead with my choice. I am so glad my teacher encouraged me in that selection. Not only did I push my ability to write many of my assignments well given that I was meeting the objectives with works of fiction, but I found one of my favorite authors of all time in the process. Francis’s works are almost all set around horse-racing in England but the plot lines are varied. The characters are deep enough to make the story intriguing without overwhelming the reader with unnecessary detail. When I set a goal to include more fiction in this year’s reading goal, I went back to this first love. Despite having read nearly every book he’s written, I found Refusal to be exciting and enjoyable. It is the 6th in a line of books Francis wrote including his character Sid Halley {although you don’t need to have read the others to enjoy this one}.

Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon

I am so glad a friend recommended this author when I asked for suggestions for fiction work. Having lived in Italy, I was intrigued when she told me these mysteries are often set in Italy. Death at La Fenice had me guessing throughout the twists and turns about the guilt of many characters and, without spoiling the ending, did a great job of showing the layers that are often involved in criminal acts. If every story were as simple as: she made him angry, he acted on it, the end – we’d be bored to tears! Some of the story line in this particular book touched on areas of humanity that I wish didn’t exist and since I feel the stories I read, that was hard to take in the end. I’m looking forward to trying more books by this author though.

Life in Motion by Misty Copeland

I first heard about Copeland when a video of her commercial for Under Armour was shared with me last year. I love stories of anyone who perseveres and overcomes societal and physical odds. I was able to borrow this from our local library and finished it in just a couple of days. A few years of studying French along with a year of ballet & jazz as a little girl did help me relate to her story and the language, but the challenges she faced economically, socially, and as a professional dancer are certainly beyond my own. If you are looking for an autobiography for encouragement in overcoming your own challenges, I highly recommend her story.

13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison

I completely picked up this story at random based on the cover when stopping in our local library. I confess to having checked it out at least three times before finally finishing it. While elements of it were interesting like a new take on the idea of fairy behavior, I found it to be gloomy overall and sad. There are other related stories but I won’t be adding them to my reading list.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

I was fascinated listening to this audio book. I have long wondered why certain phenomena were attributed to single catalysts when it seemed unlikely that one change would result in such astounding results. {the decrease of crime in NYC in the 90s for example} Gladwell offers the reader the chance to think critically about areas of our own lives we want to see go past The Tipping Point. The audio book reading is slightly dry, but the material is excellent.

I’ve finished a few other books this year both in print and via audio books, but the next few on my list include:

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Linchpin by Seth Godin
Whip Hand by Dick Francis
Do Over by Jon Acuff {pre-release copy}

Have you read any of the five books I’ve finished this year or ones I’m reading next? With the cold weather most of the country is experiencing lately, have you read any great books this month?

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