Did You Make It?

It’s down to the wire now on my Goodreads goal. How about you- will you make it?

Last year, I upped my Goodreads goal number to 100 books this year. (and for those of you uninitiated, if you are on goodreads, you can set an annual goal and Goodreads will track your progress all year, letting you know if you’re on track to reach your goal).

I raised my goal this year because I wanted to challenge myself to read more and mess around on my phone less. I’ve still got six books to go, but I’ve got three weeks (and four books in progress) so it seems doable.

I’ve managed to read more this year by listening to a lot of books on Audible. It’s fair to say it’s become an addiction. Not only do I listen to books whenever I’m driving, but I also listen while I play solitaire on my phone, clean the house, and walk the dogs. My favorite time to listen is while working on a puzzle. (I’ve done a lot more puzzles this year too, and will probably work my way to the end of the 20 puzzles my son’s gf gave me when she cleaned our her collection, including the 2000 piece one now spread out on my dining room table.)

I took a moment to look back at all I read this year. Click here to see the 94 books I’ve read. It was fun to remember them and it reminded me of authors I had wanted find more by (Kelly Corrigan, Ruth Ozeki, Nick Trout).

My favorite books of this year were (I was going to pick one, but it was too hard):

The Maid by Nita Prose (so refreshing to read a novel that didn’t disturb me, kept me turning the pages, and left me happy in the end. Oh, and it’s well written with an original narrator. Great book.)

The Speckled Beauty: A Dog and His People by Rick Bragg (if you are a Rick Bragg fan, as I am, and if you love southern writing and dogs, like I do, this one is FANTASTIC. Loved every word.)

All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki (this is the second book of Ozeki’s I’ve read and it was even better than the first, which I also loved – My Year of Meats, an unfortunate title for a great book. This one was original, well told, great characters, and hits some great topics that are important to me.)

Drive: Stories From Somewhere in the Middle of Nowhere by Sharon Wheatley (It is timely, funny, poignant, and such a refreshing but not depressing peek into the lives of Broadway professionals surviving the pandemic):

The best listens were:

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin (absolutely delightful – start to finish. Listen or read this one, it’ll warm your soul)

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (Tom Hanks is the reader, Ann Patchett wrote the story – do I need to say more?)

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (simply an excellent yarn well told)

The books that taught me something and I loved:

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan (Having loved Corrigan’s Glitter and Glue, I can now say I’m officially a Kelly Corrigan fan girl. Powerful, honest, touching, beautiful stories of being a daughter, a mom, a friend, and a human just trying to keep it together. And yes, I know this one isn’t new. It just took me a while to get around to reading it.)

Doctor Dogs: How Our Best Friends Are Becoming Our Best Medicine by Maria Goodavage (Absolutely fascinating plus great journalism. I had the privilege of interviewing Maria for Dogs & Books and she is simply one of the most gracious and generous authors I’ve met.)

The Puma Years by Laura Coleman (This was free for Prime readers and my friend Holly recommended it. This story will blow your mind. As I read about news in South America, I can’t help by think of this incredible true story.)

Heartspoken: How to Write Notes that Connect, Comfort, Encourage, and Inspire by Elizabeth Cottrell (As I said in my review: This book is a balm for our disconnected world and I hope many people will read it and be inspired to write a heartspoken note.)

The funniest book I read was Excuse Me While I Disappear: Tales of Midlife Mayhem by Laurie Notaro (warning to those who are easily offended by bad language and graphic -but funny- images, this one might not be for you):

The books that surprised me but I loved were

Rabbit: The autobiography of Ms Pat by Patricia Williams (SO eye-opening and probably was made more powerful to me because I was reading Bookends by Zibby Owens at the same time and wow, are those two women from completely different worlds).

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (all I’ll say is, man, I did not see that coming, and one more thing – masterfully conceived and written).

Loving Edie: How a Dog Afraid of Everything Taught Me to Be Brave by Meredith May. (I read this in preparation for interviewing Meredith for Dogs & Books Yappy Hour and she simply stole my heart with this beautiful story.)

The books I recommended the most were:

There are two books on my list I didn’t finish, but I put enough hours into them that I felt like I had, so counted them as finished (but labeled them DNF).

I’ve tried to leave plenty of reviews for the books I’ve enjoyed. If I didn’t love a book (I rarely finish a book I don’t at least like, unless it’s for bookclub), I don’t review or rate it. As an author, I know how bad reviews sting and as someone who has been a member of one book club or another for over twenty years, I also know that book taste is subjective.

So much work goes into writing a book — plus editing it, pitching it, selling it, editing it more, and then doing the crazy-awful work of marketing it. So, no, I won’t tear down another writer’s work publicly.

I will try to review it, though, because I know how important those reviews are. A writer friend of mine gives away his books readily to pretty much anyone. His only requirement is that they have to read it. And if they like it, they have to post a review on Amazon or Goodreads. And if they don’t like it they have to send the review to him. It’s a good policy.

How about you, what’s your review policy? And do you have a Goodreads goal? Are you going to meet it? If you don’t have a goal, will you set one this year? Oh, c’mon, it’s fun. I challenge you to set one.

I’m planning on making my goal this year, and I’ll up it for 2023. There are just too many books to read and too little time.

Hey, thanks for reading. I know you’ve got lots of options, so thanks for sharing a few of your minutes with me.



My latest novel, Blind Turn is a mother-daughter story of forgiveness in the aftermath of a fatal texting and driving accident. Learn more about it and find out how to get your copy here.

If you’re curious about what else I’m up to, check out my website, CaraWrites.com.

If you’d like to subscribe to my occasional e-newsletter, click here.

And If you’re a dog lover, check out my other blog, Another Good Dog. And if you want to know what is really happening in the animal shelters in this country, visit, Who Will Let the Dogs Out.

I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram, and I’m thrilled to get email from readers (and writers), you can reach me at carasueachterberg@gmail.com.

My book, 100 Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues is available anywhere books are sold, but if you’d like some help finding it (or want to read some lovely reviews), click here.

Author: Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and dog rescuer. I live in the darling town of Woodstock, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley with my husband and three rescue dogs (who rescue me on a daily basis). Find more information about my books, my dogs, and all my writing adventures at CaraWrites.com.

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