Chapter 30 - Surreal Numbers


As all you who read this blog know, I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. I love that you are able to get things fast, and able to get products you can't find locally, (try finding a camel hair coat in a department store in the South, for example). I hate that Amazon takes away from local independent stores. Amazon started out as a book behemoth, then turned into everything for everyman. Because of this shift, they are able to price books well below what independent booksellers can get them for from their book distributors or even directly from the publisher. It also ticks me off that Prime has gone up again to $149 per year now and with over 100 million Prime users, that is a lot of money. (Yes I know I should have bought Amazon stock years ago!)


Anyway, I started logging my books back in 2014 when I bought into Bookends. First I logged them in a book journal but I found by 2017 that I had so many journals that it was difficult to go through them all to see if I liked a book or author. I had joined Goodreads in 2010 before it was purchase by Amazon and didn't start tracking my books until 2017. I found it more convenient when someone asked me what I had read recently that I liked. But I have become more and more concerned about Amazon in my life and since I try to buy my books at independents or local bookstores, I wasn't really interested in their recommendation.


Enter Story Graph (thestorygraph.com). Not only does this site allow you to import your books from Goodreads but it also graphs out what you have read. My stats this year look something like this -

  • I have read 78 books 0r 26,155 pages

  • The moods of my books have been mostly emotional, mysterious, and reflective

  • 74% of my books have been read at a medium pace and about the same percentage fall between 300 to 500 pages

  • 91% of what I read is fiction

I could go on but based on the books I've read and the information I've put in about what I prefer, I have gotten some valid recommendations from the website. The app is available for both IOS and Android phones. Just thought I'd tell you about this book log option to Goodreads. They have a free application and a more detailed paid one.


Here are a few more of the books I've read this summer, and, according to Story Graph, have given good ratings to.


The Man Who Died Twice (Thursday Murder Club #2) by Richard Osman - My understanding is that a movie is in development of the first Thursday Murder Club and I am happy to say that the second in the series is just as clever and funny. The story centers around four older people in a retirement community who, at first, got together to work the cold cases of police files. Now they have gone on to help the local police with other cases including the latest one which is about an MI5 agent who has reappeared after many years.


Still Life by Louise Penny - I'll admit I was totally late to the game on this book as it is the very first of Penny's Inspector Gamache series. I had very astute customers tell me I needed to read it and attempted it at one point, but it was the wrong book at the wrong time. It was our book club book for September and I loved it. Taking place outside of Montreal, Inspector Gamache is called in to investigate the murder of a much loved local school teacher turned artist. Some twists and turns in the book made it fun and I would definitely read another Inspector Gamache book.


The Homewreckers by Mary Kay Andrews - Once again Andrews comes up with an interesting storyline and well defined characters. The story takes place on Tybee Island and is about a home improvement show that pulls in a local woman working in Savannah. There is mystery and romance and some surprises in Andrews' latest book. If you haven't read her and are looking for a fun, easy read, look no further!


The Last Nomad: Coming of Age in the Somali Desert by Shugri Said Saih - I sometimes like to try on other people's lives which is why I read memoirs or autobiographies. Saih tells the story of being given to her nomadic grandmother when she was six and growing up in a clan in Somali. After her mother dies, her father brings her back to the family to live. Saih's survival skills, learned from her years of a nomadic life, helped her through the Somali civil war, refugee camps on the border, life in Kenya and Canada and finally to America. This was a terrific read!


Dreaming of Tuscany by T.A. Williams - I've always wanted to go to Tuscany and this light read by Williams has only reinforced that desire. The story evolves around a medieval history professor, Bee, and an actress, Mimi who both experienced an accident on a movie set. Sent to a villa in Tuscany to recuperate, they find that the fresh air, sunshine, great food, and friendly people do much to restore them both to physical and emotional health. Apparently Mr. Williams has many books which include places I want to go and they are easy, relaxing reads.


Do you have any recent reads to recommend? Please share!