I know this was a challenge from early in 2016 and it is almost early 2017, but I was not a Medium contributor until recently (did not even know it existed). I randomly came across this challenge, found it intriguing and decided to participate nearly a year too late. Hopefully, a list of future reads will challenge me to tackle them all in 2017.

My reading for several years has been anemic. My excuses for that are my long work hours, the even longer hours I put into helping to raise my two grandchildren who live with me, and the on-again-off-again health issues of my husband and myself. All of these are true, but I recently discovered that time to read and to write does exist. After the election I was depressed (still am), disheartened (still am), frightened (still am), and angry (still am). I wanted to disconnect from the world. Impossible to do, I did at least disconnect from all social media, all news media and from personal social contact. Unfortunately, I still have to work, but limit all other social participation as much as I can without becoming a total recluse. During my self-imposed isolation, I discover that I have unexpected free time— more time that I ever thought possible. I started reading, listening to books on Audible — and later, writing — again.

My house has an abundance of unread books and magazines, so I didn’t even have to go in search of material. I devoured The Gods of Tango, Perla and The Invisible Mountain, all by Carolina DeRobertis, then read Lum by Libby Ware, and am now nearly through The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis.

One book that was given to me to read and which I attempted to complete, but failed was Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. I may pick it up another time and give it a try, but, for now, it sits one-third read on my bedside table.

At the same time and for the first time, I began listening to Audible books and have completed Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs by Robert Kanigel, The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs, Big Magic-Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Not So Big Life by Sarah Susanka, and The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg. And, I am currently listening to Eleanor and Hick by Susan Quinn.

I have also been catching up on various magazines, as long as they are not news periodicals — mostly O Magazine and Better Homes & Gardens.

For the future, I have on my reading/listening lists:

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
That Summer in Sicily by Marlena de Blasi
The Songcatcher by Sharyn McCrumb
Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym
The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City
by William Helmreich
The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge
by David McCullough
The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality by Hanne Blank
Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths
Run by Ann Patchett
Off Balance by Matthew Kelly
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
The Winds of War by Herman Wouk
Summer on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber
Miller’s Valley byAnna Quindlen
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
The Daughter’s Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick
Blue Nights by Joan Didion
Weapons of Mass Destruction by Cathy O’Neil
Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

With an upcoming year that I fear, I find little that is hopeful or to which I can look forward, but I hope this challenge will keep me on track with my reading, listening and writing.

I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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