2015 Reading Challenge: January and February

I found a list of 50 criteria designed to expand your “reading comfort zone” – genres and authors I wouldn’t otherwise pick up, different formats like plays and graphic novels, and old books that might have been forgotten. I decided to turn this reading list into my 2015 “To Do” list, and I’ve been working my way through it since January 1st. Here are some select reviews from the books I read during January and February.

2015 Reading Challenge

One of the perks at working at a bookstore is that there are hundreds and hundreds of galleys – manuscripts from the publishers that haven’t reached the final round of editing. The story is complete and only a few formatting errors remain, so galleys are sent out to bookstores so that they can determine which books they want to stock when it becomes available to the public. It’s pretty much a VIP book club. I can’t quote the books that aren’t published yet without express permission, so I will review the books in haiku form.

A house in the sky

Published by Scribner, September 2013.

A book your mom loves: A House in the Sky, by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett.

Amanda travels

To escape her small town past

With world adventures.

In Somalia,

Writing war, nothing prepares

For being taken.

Ransomed by Muslims,

Held four hundred sixty days.

Movie coming soon.


accidental empress

Published by Howard Books, February 2015.

A book based on a true story: The Accidental Empress, by Allison Pataki.

Austro-Hungary,

Mid-seventeenth century,

Franz Josef must wed.

His betrothed is meek,

Her sister, captivating.

Chooses with his heart.

Tradition defied,

Elisabeth is beloved.

Book is kind of bland.


Published by Plume, February 2014.

Published by Plume, February 2014.

A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit: Madam, by Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin.

Nawlins Tenderloin,

All sin sequestered away,

Drink, jazz, voodoo, cash.

If you’re business smart,

You can play politicians

And capitalize.

Based on real people,

E. J. Bellocq, Jelly Roll.

Vice in Big Easy.


Published by St. Martin's Press, September 2014.

Published by St. Martin’s Press, September 2014.

A memoir: Another Side of Bob Dylan, by Victor and Jacob Maymudes.

A son discovers

A box of his father’s tapes,

His recorded thoughts.

From the nineteen-sixties,

Victor was Bob’s companion

And tour manager.

Jacob reconciles

His image of his father

And accepts his death.

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About lgaylord

Louisa believes in expanding horizons and learning - anything that broadens our minds beyond the here and now, allowing us to learn from the past and innovate for the future. She is particularly interested new and inventive methods of sustainability: city planning and green buildings, creating new objects from old trash, and ways that nature can provide examples for new materials and construction. She is also curious about new scientific breakthroughs, technology and discoveries, and how they will shape the future of consumerism and marketing. While science is important to advancing society, Louisa believes that music, art and culture are equally necessary, especially on a local community level. Louisa has published articles with many reputable sources, including Sustainable Business Oregon, Oregon Insider, Crosscut.com, and green engineering newsletter Sustainability Matters. She currently volunteers at KEXP 90.3 FM, a listener-powered nonprofit radio station. Louisa lives in Seattle, Washington.
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