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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | Thoughts

   Published : 2021   ||    Format : print   ||    Location : Colombia ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.. Thoughts : Infinite Country follows two characters - young Talia, who at the beginning of this book, escapes a girl’s reform school in North Colombia so that she can make her previously booked flight to the US. Before she can do that, she needs to travel many miles to reach her father and get her ticket to the rest of her family. As we follow Talia’s treacherous journey south, we learn about how she ended up in the reform school in the first place and why half her family resides in the US. Infinite Country tells the story of her family through the other protagonist, El

2020 Reading Goals and Challenges

Is is too late to share reading goals? Although I have been thinking about my 2020 reading goals for a while, I kept going back and forth between wanting to write about it (and thus feeling held to my words) and just going with the flow (which, as we all know, is not as fun). Half the joy is in the planning.

Before I talk about 2020, let me be honest - my reading count for each of the past three years was in the single digit. I did however read parts of many self-improvement books. When I was in the mood for one, I read enough of the book to get a gist of what it's suggesting and then I was done.

So, with such minimal reading in the preceding years, I don't want to go full on gung ho about my reading goals for the year.

I'm keeping them simple, and hopefully achievable and intentional.

Read more

Let's start with a basic goal, yeah? If I can beat the numbers from last year, I'll consider that a win. But I'm going to go a little further - I'd like to read at least 2 books a month that are not graphic fiction/memoir or coffee table books or picture books. Usually, when I focus on reading more or reading X number of books, I have a tendency to fill my count with small or fast reads. I can still do that, but I do hope to read something more substantial as well. 24 for the year should hopefully be doable.

Read more with the kids

This may be an easy one because it's built into our daily routine. Plus, we make a trip out of going to the library twice a month and read plenty of books while there. For this year, I'd like to read at least 200 books with my daughter. If my routine stays the same, I may end up reading much more but since we also re-read a lot, I'll aim conservatively. I'm hoping that by the end of the year (or sooner), my son will join our little reading club but we shall see how that comes to pass.

Read from my shelves

Ah, the quintessential recurring challenge of many a reader. My stacks have been greatly ignored since I moved here. I still don't have a bookshelf - am still debating if I need them or what kind they should be. So all my books are stacked along the wall in the basement closet. Before you feel too sorry for them, I have the board games in there too - so it's a fun spot. Maybe I'll know where I want to put up my books if I read some of them? This year, I'm looking forward to reading at least one book from my shelves (physical or virtual) each month. I did start the year with one from my shelves, so I'm already ahead. #smallwins


I know better than to join a challenge. I didn't have great successes with them even during my best reading years. However, I'm in the mood for one and want to give it a shot even if it fails - that's part of the fun too (at least I tell myself). I debated between the Reading Women Challenge and the Read Harder Challenge, finally picking the latter, because most of my reading is going to be women authors without even trying.

The Read Harder Challenge does have 24 tasks and I'm not sure how achievable that is, so I'm going to aim for 12 instead. Have you ever read Jon Acuff's Finish? Acuff shares several strategies and ideas to help finish something - be it a goal, a report, your thesis, or a project. In chapter 2, he puts forward a great idea that I've employed occasionally since reading about it. He suggests cutting your goal in half. Want to walk a mile every morning? Start with half. Want to write 50 pages? Aim for 25, and see where it goes. I don't want to say that's the reason I'm going for 12. It's not, I'm simply staying practical. But by his theory, I may actually get closer to 24 if I aim for something smaller first. But then again, I've not finished reading challenges in the past with smaller goals, so this may all be an exercise in vain.

For now, that's all I'm going for this year. I may further simplify (brutally cross out items) if I get nowhere in the first quarter. Or maybe I'll double a challenge. We'll see.

Anyone doing the Read Harder challenge? I could most definitely do better with more inspiration and maybe a reading buddy.