Reading Resolutions Reset

I usually make New Year’s Resolutions and, like many, don’t keep them. One regular resolution of mine that I usually keep, however, is reaching my set goal of reading 52 books annually. While this might sound like a lot of reading, I know many people who put my numbers to shame, and that’s okay. Everyone’s reading pace is different. And, is it cheating to turn up the speed of audiobooks? (I say no!)

So, while I’ve been keeping this resolution over the last few years, I’ve kept a little blank book with lists of the books and the year that I’ve read them. I’ve been very proud of my little notebook and was sure I could keep up this pace…until 2020 happened. Oddly enough, in a year where I should have had more time to read than ever due to lack of socializing, I failed, and stalled somewhere around book #47! Even worse, it’s January 11th and all I can do is stare at screens (and no, they are not the screens where I have loaded e-books). I haven’t downloaded an audiobook, cracked a book cover, or even (gasp!), written the year down on the fresh page in my aforementioned precious notebook that mocks me from across the room.

How can I face that notebook knowing my intentions have changed? Yes, I will read. Yes, I likely will even read 52 books this year. And yes, I’ll likely record these books somewhere. But first, I’m going to be kind to myself about this. And, when I’m ready to turn a page, I’m sure I’ll find myself immersed in my next favorite novel.

Until I have a book to recommend, be kind to yourselves and one another. And, if you are feeling like I have been feeling, know that when you are ready for distraction, information, entertainment and connection, the library will be here waiting for you. ~Carol

Time for New Year’s Resolutions! Maybe…..?

I’m terrible at sticking to resolutions. So terrible in fact, that I no longer make them. But maybe this year can be different? I’d love it if just about everything in 2021 was different than 2020, so maybe a few resolutions are in order. But after the year we’ve had, I think it’s time to make resolutions about things that we WANT to do rather than ones about stopping things we think are bad for us. This article by Arthur C. Brooks in The Atlantic, says that when we make resolutions, the thing we are almost always trying to improve is our happiness. https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2020/12/new-years-resolutions-will-make-you-happier/617439/

The reason many resolutions fail is that we discover striving for that one thing– weight loss, a daily workout routine, eating whole foods doesn’t actually make us happy. Most of our resolutions can be good things to strive for as part of the overall goal of improving our lives, but many of these things need not be goals in and of themselves if being more content is really what we want. This article speaks of setting resolutions around goals such as forgiveness and practicing mindful gratitude. Focusing on what has gone right rather than dwelling on what has gone wrong, and giving people the gift of forgiveness (whether they asked for it or not), with the main purpose of gaining peace for ourselves. Sound like a selfish reason to offer forgiveness? That’s ok! We all deserve a little self-love and to put ourselves and our mental health first sometimes.

I like that broader idea of setting resolutions around things that promote self-care such as gratitude and forgiveness, but those can be a little abstract for me. I need some concrete resolutions that I can cross off my list. Things like make one new recipe every month, try a new local restaurant for carryout once a month, try to spend 15 minutes in nature every day (even if it’s just a walk around the block), take a nap on your day off, and actually use all those fancy bath bombs that you got in your stocking. And of course, the best kind of concrete resolutions for many of us involve reading. I’m setting a challenge for myself of two books a month-one that is new and the other that is something I’ve always wanted to read but haven’t gotten around to yet. So often books get pushed down my list by newer ones until they fall off altogether. At the end of this post are a few titles that I’d like to try.

It is a lot more fun setting resolutions around things that you actually want to do rather than things “that would be good for you.” Give it a try, but remember the most important part- your goal in setting these is to improve your happiness and quality of life- so be kind! If you don’t manage to do all the things you decided on, it’s ok. So, skip that one and catch it next time–your resolutions are yours alone, and since they focus on things that bring you joy, you can have all the time in the world to complete them. 🙂

Carol’s Top 10 of ’20

Here’s one good thing I’ll say about 2020 – at least I had the opportunity to read and enjoy some pretty fantastic books this year! And for that, I am grateful and ready to share.

Here are my top ten of 2020 (along with links to our library’s catalog):

The Searcher by Tana French

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel

Apeirogon by Colum McCann

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

The King at the Edge of the World by Arthur Phillips

The Authenticity Project by Claire Pooley

Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies by Vicky Zimmerman

And, now, I’m off to make merry and to add my name to waiting lists for all of my coworkers’ favorite books that I haven’t read! Happy Holidays. -Carol

Sara’s Top 10 of 2020

Time for another Top 10 already! Looking back, it seems like I mostly read mystery and thrillers this year. Hope you enjoy some of the ones on my list!

Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella

I haven’t quite finished this one yet, but I can tell it will be a favorite. A young girl attends Harvard, hoping to get closure about the death of her brother who committed suicide there last year.

Redemption Point by Candace Fox

The second book in the Crimson Lake series which follows the paths of two outcasts and alleged criminals who pursue redemption by helping others solve crimes.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Another second book in a series which rivals the first one. Magic returns to the land of Orisha after being brutally banned for decades, but is it really a victory when you take your country to the edge of civil war?

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon

Deep down, how well can any father really know how his teenage son feels, what he’s up to, and how far he will go if pushed?

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Ghosts, mystery, romance, missing persons- what more could you want in a book?

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight

I really enjoyed this story about a young lawyer in a lonely marriage who agrees to help a friend get out of prison, only to find his case affects her more than she could ever imagine.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

A deadly wedding ceremony on an isolated island in the middle of a terrible storm. What could possibly happen?

All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny

One of my favorite Gamache books so far with lovely twist- the whole thing is set in Paris.

The Searcher by Tana French

Another great mystery that makes you want to go to Ireland immediately and see the lush countryside and the meet all the quirky people who live in the village.

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

I just finished this one- it was a page turner full of twists and turns, marriages, families, good-and of course, evil.

My Top 10 of 2020

Gold Glitter 2020 Png, Gold, Golden, Card PNG and Vector with Transparent  Background for Free Download
I enjoyed the following books in 2020 and hope you find something here for your reading pleasure.

The Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz

Engineer’s Wife by Tracey Enerson Wood

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce

Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters by Jennifer Chiaverini

Mrs. Morhard and the Boys by Ruth Hanford Morhard

Of Mutts and Men by Spencer Quinn

The Operator by Gretchen Berg

The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B. Moore

The Queen’s Secret by Karen Harper

Where the Light Enters by Jill Biden

~ Emma

Books to give for Christmas (of course, we also recommend checking them out from the library ;-)

This year, Christmas feels a little strange and isolated. But it also feel a little cozy. The first snowfall was absolutely beautiful and really got me into the Christmas spirit. As I try to avoid malls and busy stores, I have of course turned to online shopping like many of us. But somehow that just seems impersonal this year. After weeks of quarantining, ordering carry out, groceries from Instacart, and pretty much everything else in the world from Amazon, I’m ready to get back to basics for this year’s holiday. My daughter and I tried our hand at making candles (we definitely need to read up on this a little bit, as I watch one of ours smoke itself out), we have plans for many more cookie varieties than ever, and are drawn towards handmade gifts from Etsy and local stores.

In keeping with this, I am buying books as gifts for the first time in years! My teen/young adult kids don’t read as vociferously as they used to, and most of my family reads on a Kindle. But this year, it just feels right to go back to basics, hold a real book in my hands while I sip coffee by my Christmas tree and lights. My kids have watched pretty much everything Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have to offer, so I think I’m going to try and entice them to take an electronic break, relax on the couch with me to read a good book by the tree.

Here are a few titles coming out in December. Some of them haven’t been published yet, but what is more fun then preordering a book and knowing you will be one of the first to read it? Remember that our local retailers need you this year more than ever. So head to bookshop.org to get some of these new titles that promise to be keepers! They also offer gift cards if you just can’t choose ;-).

Simply thrilling

There’s no such thing as a perfect family. And it’s usually not wise to point that out.

Thriller, romance and fantasy, all rolled into one.

A debut thriller that asks one simple question, shouldn’t a dead husband stay dead?

On the lighter side

Quinn and Minnie share their day of birth, but their lives couldn’t be more different.

A dare and a crash course in flirting turn a frumpy college professor’s life upside down.

An anxiety-ridden introvert finds herself in the spotlight and decides to fake it til she makes it.

Different times and places

Stunning debut explores Afghanistan on the eve of a violent revolution.

A story of survival, loss and love, and the sisters who changed fashion forever.

A poor girl with dreams grows up in the shadow of Biltmore House, the palatial Vanderbilt mansion.

Reconnect@RRPL

The Woman before Wallis:
A Novel of Windsors, Vanderbilts, and
Royal Scandals

by Bryn Turnbull

This debut novel is based on the life of Thelma Morgan Viscountess Furness who was a mistress of Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) before Wallis Simpson. In fact, Thelma introduced the pair. Thelma’s twin sister, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, became entangled in a notorious court battle for custody of her daughter, Little Gloria, after her husband died. Little Gloria was the heir to an impressive Vanderbilt fortune, and Gloria was allowed only to spend interest from the fortune to take care of Little Gloria. The Vanderbilts wanted Little Gloria in the United States and her mother wanted them to live in Europe. Thelma was a character witness for her sister at the trial. Everyone wanted to keep Edward away from any publicity which could detract from the royal family and Edward’s future role as king of England. Eventually Edward and Thelma drifted apart.

For enthusiasts of anything royal and fans of the Netflix series “The Crown”. Thelma was a real-life socialite who became part of British upper-crust society with her marriage and later association with Edward.

~Emma

Reconnect@RRPL

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce

What a fun book! At the age of 10 in 1914, Margery Benson’s father introduces her to the “mythical” golden beetle of New Caledonia, an island in the South Pacific. She is determined one day to find specimens for the Natural History Museum in London. Margery does not give up her quest and in 1950 decides to take the expedition. She needs adequate funds, equipment, and an assistant. Her assistant, Enid Pretty, is an energetic young counterpart to Margery and they have little in common. Also Enid is hiding something in her red valise that no one can touch.

Enid’s outgoing nonstop personality is good for Margery, and Margery’s solid well thought-out plans are good for Enid. As the weeks go by family histories and secrets are revealed. Eventually the two women become friends sharing the ups and the downs on the expedition.

I thoroughly recommend this novel. It will make my list of top ten for the year.

~ Emma