Goals Instead of Resolutions by Deb Joelle

Background2 001resized I’ve noticed that I generally only make resolutions if something’s not right in my life – like I’m going through an unhappy spell – and honestly, I’m usually pretty darn happy, so I’ve made very few resolutions in my lifetime! I do, however, like to set a few goals at the beginning of each year. A few years ago, I thought I’d like to learn to sew. I tried it. I was wrong. Year before last, I thought I’d like to learn how to knit. I tried it. I was right. Last year, I thought I’d give knitting socks a shot. Didn’t happen, but there’s always 2010!

About five years ago, I set up a reading program. I’ve blathered on about it on the web so many times, I’m not going to say much here (you can find out more on my site here), but the gist of it is that I’ve read a lot of books within the Young Adult and Middle Grade genres over the last five years. It’s been magnificent. However, I’ve reached a point where I’d like to branch out. So that’s my goal for this year – less YA and a wider variety of genres. I plan to try my hand at some classics. I’ve only ever read the required Dickens (Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol), so I might start there. I’ve always meant to read Ivanhoe and The Three Musketeers. And some more Bronte. And why not a bit of contemporary fiction? Plus there’s biography, which is often great (I highly recommend Carol Burnett’s biography!). And there’s always nonfiction of interest.

So this is where y’all come in! I’ll give you a list of my likes and dislikes and assuming you keep them in mind, I’ll try to read at least twenty of your suggestions, as long as I can get them at the library. Okay, here goes…this is sort of a weird and incomplete list, but…

I like:

Light mysteries – culinary mysteries, Agatha Christie…

Women’s fiction – I love the humorous stuff and don’t mind if it’s serious, but I hate it when it’s mostly about someone dying very slowly. I love Julie Buxbaum, Sharon Krum, and Kristina Riggle!


Stuff set in England – I’m an anglophile at heart

Historical fiction – The Girl With The Pearl Earring, The Red Tent…

Anything along the lines of Nevil Shute, or The Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Also love The No. 1 Detective Agency books, Larry McMurtry.

Classics like Jane Austen.

Nonfiction about spirituality – Eat, Pray, Love – and also environmental books about how to leave a lighter footprint. Loved Three Cups of Tea too.

Series – I love series!

I’m also up for audio books.

Won’t read:


True crime

Anything violent and graphic

I read The Bastard out of Carolina and the one about the bees, so I’m kind of done with child abuse. They did it well, and I don’t regret reading those books, but I don’t need more of it. Are you seeing a theme here? I like happy. Of course, I know these things happen, and I also know people die, and I know that it’s important to write about, but frankly, I’m just not into super depressing stuff. I like a good cry as much as the next reader, but I’m probably not going to read something where the whole book is about some miserable person. I just figured I’d get that out there right away, so you know that maybe I’m not that deep after all. Haha!

Do me another favour, only include titles, genre, and author. I hate to know anything about a book before I read it! I never read the jackets, which has actually caused me to read sequels before realizing it, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take. So…whatta ya got for me?

8 Replies to “Goals Instead of Resolutions by Deb Joelle”

  1. For fun mysteries, I really like Harlan Coben. He’s got a great mix of fast-paced writing and humor. And if you love Julie Buxbaum (I do too) check out Allison Winn Scotch’s Time of My Life. And have you read anything by Jennifer Weiner? My favorite of hers is In Her Shoes, but they’re all good.

  2. Well they say if you liked Eat, Pray, Love and like to laugh, you’ll like FIRST COMES LOVE, THEN COMES MALARIA.

    Just saying …

    Enjoy it all! And happy New Year!

  3. Oops, I was telling you all about the books and then I saw that you don’t want to know anything about it. That’s so hard! I love to blab about why a book would suit someone. Well. I’ll follow directions.

    Taking Debs past and present “as read” that you’ll consider those books…

    Non-fiction/humorous essays:

    Non-fic about spirituality which my dad enjoyed (haven’t read it myself yet) HAVE A LITTLE FAITH by Mitch Albom

    I’m so honored to be a point of reference for women’s fiction you like! Also try: Elizabeth Berg (I’m reading HOME SAFE now) and my literary hero, Anne Tyler, especially BREATHING LESSONS

    Oh, historical fiction AND mystery AND set in England…. Tasha Alexander’s historical mysteries for a trifecta.

  4. The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford – set in England in the 1930’s and very funny!

    Adam Dalgliesh detective series by PD James also set in England.

    Anything by Kate Atkinson or David Mitchell or Maggie O’Farrel all set it England.

    Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami


  5. If you’ve read all the past Deb books, let me suggest:

    1. THE LAST WILL OF MOIRA LEAHY by Therese Walsh, this novel defies being genre categorized. Please just read it.

    2. Since you enjoy Kristina’s “quiet little novel,” there’s LOOKING FOR PIGEON by Maud Carol Markson.

    3. Being released on January 12th is Melanie Benjamin’s ALICE I HAVE BEEN, historical fiction based on the real Alice “in Wonderland” character.

    4. Many new offerings from established favorites are due out this year too. Off the top of my head: Kristy Kiernan’s BETWEEN FRIENDS (April); Tish Cohen’s THE TRUTH ABOUT DELILAH BLUE (JUNE); Allison Winn Scotch’s THE ONE THAT I WANT (June); and Meredith Cole’s DEAD IN THE WATER (May). Kristina returns too in August.

    I’m forgetting too many yet know you’ll enjoy the ones mentioned. What a feast…

  6. I agree with Alexa about PD James mysteries. Beautifully written. Also, I have read and loved ALL the mysteries by Tony Hillerman, set on the Navajo reservation. You might want to begin with one of the first books of that series because you get to know the characters better with each book. As for humor-filled nonfiction books, anything by David Sedaris or Bill Bryson is a fun read. And sorry that I am not giving specific titles. My head isn’t remembering titles today. “If you don’t think too well, don’t think too much” (my current favorite saying by my husband, always looking straight at me, of course).

  7. One of my favorite mystery writers is Nevada Barr. I recommend the early Anna Pigeon books such as Track of the Cat or Firestorm. Happy New Year Joelle!

  8. Light mysteries: The Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. There are a dozen or more. The earlier ones are the best, in my opinion. The first is Crocodile on the Sandbank. My personal fave is The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog.

    (Though set in Egypt, the cast in nineteenth century British, so I think this rec satisfies “Anglophilia” as well 🙂

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