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  • Ryanne Harper

Goodreads Challenge: January Reads

Every year, I sign up for the Goodreads reading challenge and, not to brag, y'all, but every year I crush it. I crush it primarily with the help of audiobooks. This year, I am challenging myself to spend less time watching television and more time reading and writing. I do a good amount of all three, but do I really need to watch Parks & Rec for a third time? Maybe. I don't know yet. But the point is, I'm making an effort to read more. To help myself, I'm removing the audiobook crutch.

So, here are my January reads:

How to Write Dazzling Dialogue, James Scott Bell

I read this for research purposes. Earlier this month I taught a class at the Fort Smith Public Library covering character development, plot, and dialogue. Next month, we're covering editing. You can register here. There are only a few spots left so, you know, get on it.

Anyway, if you want to write, read James Scott Bell. He will help you get better.

The Dark Half, Stephen King

My first King of the year did not disappoint. You can read a full review written by my very own George Stark here. Also, you should follow the Lynx & LeRoux blog; it is both informative and hilarious.

Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides

My first book club read of the year and we knocked it out of the park. I've been meaning to read this book for years. Like, almost two decades. I'm glad I finally did. Middlesex is a family drama brimming with secrets. When the biggest kept secret of all finally catches up to the family, it is little Calliope who pays the price. This book, though touching on some difficult topics, is surprisingly hilarious.

Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid

Because of all the hype, I was stoked to read this one. I don't know if the hype set me up for greatness, or if this book is just middle of the road. The overall feel of this book is that it is trying too hard. I mean, one of the leads changed her name from Alex to Alix - pronounced Ahhh-licks - and I think that move pretty much sums her up as a person. If it doesn't, allow me to elaborate: she is terrible. Like, always sends back her food at restaurants, or calls the cops on kids selling lemonade terrible. She does neither of those things in book, but she's the type. Thankfully, Emira, the other lead, is likable and we do get some comedic relief from Briar and Zara.

Four Past Midnight, Stephen King

I've been reading this short story collection for ages. It was not my favorite. Because Different Seasons is my favorite and it is going to be hard to compete with that one. I am legit scared of the library policeman, though.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, Matthew Sullivan

I love a good mystery and this one fit the bill. I don't like it when mysteries take a while to get to the murder part. Bright Ideas starts right off the bat with a suicide in a bookstore. One of the beloved regulars has killed himself and left a little gift for Lydia, one of the employees. By gift I mean he has a photo of her from her tenth birthday party in his pocket, which is weird and mysterious. The photo leads Lydia down a rabbit hole of secrets, coded books, and murder. And also sends her into a tailspin when she has to come to terms with her own tragic past. Basically, I loved this book.

So, that's it. My goal is fifty-two books and I'm six in. Not too shabby.

What are you reading? Let me know in the comments.

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