2017 books so far...

Evening light through branches in Lincoln, Nebraska

My overly ambitious photo project of 2017 was to take a photo to accompany each of the 52 books I planned to read this year. I read the first book, took a photo. The next book I read was a business book, and I was stumped on matching a photo to the book without being ridiculously literal. By the end of January, after reading five books, I realized I would be abandoning the photo project. I have never been overly excited about photos based on specific prompts, and this was incredibly prompt-ariffic (I could not think of a descriptive word there). 

Instead, here is a mini-review of each of the books I have read so far this year though. I will keep them numbered, so I can track where I am towards reaching my numeric reading goal.

Green cup of tea by a stack of books.

1-- All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Bryn Greenwood. Definitely five stars. A book I couldn't put down- but disturbing and graphic. You are reading and thinking, are we really going to go there? Is a romantic relationship going to develop between these two characters? And I am going to root for them in the end? Yes.

2-- Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield. Not as good as The War of Art, which I read last year. I finished it, which is saying something (we will get to my abandoned books shortly). 

3-- The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin. This book was so good. It made me so happy. 

4-- A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman. It took me a little while to get into this one, but by the time I read about a third of it, I could see what the fuss was about. I would read another book by this author. 

5-- The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster. I read this out loud to my girls at bedtime. It is not an ideal read aloud book, because there are plays on words that you can't really get from hearing the book read out loud vs. seeing the words on a page. The girls were still excited to hear more every night. 

I know that this number is "on track" to enable me to reach my reading goal, but this number seems very small to me. I started the book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, and I slogged through it for over a week before realizing that it was destroying my progress. My husband was listening to the audiobook, I think at my request, after something happened that I don't remember. A child had a tantrum, or something. Whatever that thing was made me feel like I had to read a parenting book. As my husband listened to the audiobook, he started to stare at me strangely whenever I would talk to our children (he will deny this, but it is true). So I started to read it. And in summary, the book advises that you respect your children's feelings and truly listen to them. Got it. This is what can happen to me sometimes- I will really get into a habit of reading, and then I will start some kind of book that I don't enjoy, and in trying to get through the book I get stuck and stop reading altogether.

Then we have Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance. I started it and it just didn't ring at all true for me, so it is sitting on my desk. Everyone loves the book, so how can I not love it? I don't know. I usually love memoirs. And The Power of Off, also sitting on my desk. I have read over half of it. It was so good, and then it started repeating itself over and over. I made the mistake of reading the Goodreads reviews as soon as my doubts about the book started, and that has led me to a possible plan for abandoning it. A lot of reviews said that many books cover the same topic better, and I will look for alternatives. I feel bad for starting and then not finishing books, especially after reading so much of them, but there you have it. 

Little girl reading book on a living room couch.

Finally, and also related to reading, I made the decision not to take any photography workshops online this year. I want to diversify the photography that I am exposing myself to. If most of my photography peers take the same workshops and follow the same people, then a lot of the photography starts to look the same, same, same. My plan is to study a book featuring a different photographer each month, and I have started with Sam Abell. 


Hopefully my next reading update will be more substantial. And my photos will soon feature SPRING. I can't believe it.