50 by 50 – Seven New Books on My Shelf

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Happy to report, I’ve exceeded my first 50 by 50 goal of reading a dozen new books by the time I turn 50! I honestly didn’t think I’d make it this far, this quickly, but it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you make room in your life for it. I still have 10 months to go and I’m beginning to think I may actually meet my ultimate goal of reading fifty books in a year.

Reading fifty books may seem a little lofty, but I’m a pretty fast reader, which helps a lot. I once read over 600 books in one summer as part of a summer library program. Granted some were shorter chapter books (I was 12.) While I don’t think I’ll ever break that record again, I think I may be able to meet my 50 by 50 goal.

I am so glad I embarked on this journey because I really had forgotten how much I love to read for the sheer enjoyment of it. Discovering new worlds, characters and story lines to fall in love with is a great adventure. Books nurture our soul and gift us new ways of looking at the world. Each author’s point of view and ability to create a world for us to discover is magical and I always enjoy the journey.

50 by 50 - Seven New Books on My Shelf

In order to carve out more time to indulge with one of my all-time favorite hobbies, I’ve had to be creative in cutting other things from my lifestyle. The two biggest time drains that have now gone to the wayside are television and tech time. It’s so healthy for me to step away from the computer to limit my technology time and to cut out some TV time. I still keep up with my favorite shows but I no longer watch TV mindlessly when I feel the need for some R&R, I pull out a book instead.

I’ve also learned that keeping my book tucked in my purse gives me the freedom to read at impromptu times like during long car rides or while I’m waiting for appointments. I bring my book to the lake and pool with me, too and sneak in a few pages while I’m drying off after swimming or just relaxing in the sunshine on the boat. There’s no real “trick” to adding in more reading time to your life, you just have to make it a priority and let go of some other habits that aren’t as rewarding.

For me, reading more carries an extra bonus, too. I no longer mindlessly snack as I am prone to do when watching television. I may be still sitting down when I read, but it’s still a win for my waistline!

The seven new books on my shelf that I’m sharing with you today as number 7-13 of my 50 by 50 goal are all delightful reads that I think you’ll enjoy as much as I do.

Number 7 and 8, I reviewed in partnership with St. Martin’s Press, The Wife Between Us and The Great Alone (click the title for the full review.)  Both are excellent reads I highly recommend and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to discover them via my work as a writer.  It’s fabulous when your work aligns with your hobbies!

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The remaining books are simply listed in the order I read them:

9. Between Earth and Sky by Amanda Skenandore – This lovely book arrived in my Once Upon A Book Club subscription.  I’ve been using this service to encourage me to carve out reading time and to discover new books.  Each month they send something so different and interesting, it’s really been a great way to step outside my reading comfort zone and expand my selections.  Between Earth and Sky is a rich historical tale that captivates you from the first page.  Set in 1906, this epic tale follows the journey of Alma, a woman who has lived in the intersection between white and Native American cultures.  This thoughtful read truly tugs your heartstrings!

10. Closed Doors by Lisa O’Donnell – I loved O’Donnell’s book, The Death of Bees, so I figured I’d equally enjoy Closed Doors and I certainly did!  Interesting and refreshing to read this tale from the perspective of a young Scottish boy.  The novel is sweet, yet complex and ultimately a heart-warming story about the strength and love of family.

11. Vicious by V.E. Schwab – I received a promotional copy of Vicious from Tor in celebration of the upcoming sequel, Vengeful and I’m so happy I did!  Stellar read! I cannot wait for the sequel.  This is comic-book worthy story-telling that will simply draw you in instantly and blow your mind with its brilliance.  Not to over-shadow the rest of the books on this list, they are all excellent, Vicious just really took my breath away with its masterful creativity and spell-binding plot.  Expect the unexpected with this book and expect to not be able to put it down until you come to the incredible end.

12. The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland – A modern, cheeky read, The Lost for Words Bookshop was also part of my Once Upon A Book Club subscription.  You sort of have to love a book that centers around life in a bookshop but you’ll also appreciate the quirky characters and clever twists.  Butland has a knack for appreciating the vulnerability and heart of her characters.  It’s an intimate read that is both whimsical and profound.

13. The Seven Songs of Merlin by T.A. Barron – This was an impulse buy book that I picked up at Ollie’s, not realizing it’s actually book 2 in the series.   Thankfully, it’s a stand-alone read and I felt that enough backstory from the first novel was presented for me to easily slide into reading this one.  I will, however, be ordering the first book to catch up before reading #3!  Merlin is one of my all-time favorite characters so I’m always attracted to book that feature him.  The Seven Songs of Merlin deals with Merlin’s early life before he was a great wizard and his time spent on the legendary Isle of Fincayra.  One thing I instantly loved about the novel is the infusion of the fantastical world of Fincayra and Celtic mythology.  It’s fascinating to read the author’s take on Merlin becoming Merlin and overall, I am loving this version of the legend… enough to want to read the remainder of the series!

There was a 14th book that didn’t make the cut, I only want to share with you books I truly enjoyed. I’m now working on finding a new one to replace number 14, so I’d love your input! Let me know what you are reading this month!

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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, wen she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.
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