My New Year’s Bookbuying Resolution — Join Me!

On Saturday, on my way out of Home Depot in American Fork (Utah), I saw something which surprised and delighted me: a Barnes and Noble bookstore. I had never seen it there before, and technically it’s not there now, but I wasn’t hallucinating. It’s “coming soon,” opening in “winter 2024.” This inspires a new year’s bookbuying resolution or two, in which I’d love for you to join me.

I welcome the new arrival. Like the arrival years ago of Home Depot in American Fork and Lowe’s across the street in Lehi, its proximity means I will expend less time and fuel traveling to Orem or wherever else. That means, in theory, more money to buy books and more time to read them. There’s a tiny environmental impact too.

Barnes and Noble American Fork - Bookbuying Resolution

However, silver clouds have dark linings. For me this silver cloud has two: one from the past, nostalgic and not very useful in the present, and one for the not-too-distant future, which you and I can do something about.

Hence my resolution. You’re welcome to share it, once I’ve explained, which is after some related chatter, er, context.

That Teetering Stack of Books I Read in 2022 and 2023 (ish)

I love reading books, and I learned at least in time for graduate school to love writing about the books I read. My intention, these last two years or so, was to keep blogging about the books I read, as I had done sporadically for a while, then more methodically here, here, and here.

Those posts were fun to write, and they were well received, and the routine was simple enough. When I finished a book, I stacked it in a particular place until I had written about it here. Well, the stack has grow too large. I haven’t taken time to write about the books since September 2022, and I was playing catch-up then.

So today we catch up. I’ll list some books in passing but stop to chat about most, knowing full well I won’t do justice to any of them. Sixteen are fiction and grouped accordingly. Seventeen are nonfiction and separated into books about writing and others.

Books I Read Lately – Winter 2022 Edition (in September)

When I finish reading a book, I stack it on a certain shelf near my desk in my home office, away from but in sight of the UCRC, my Unconscionably Comfortable Reading Chair. There it sits until I write of it in a “Books I Read” blog post such as this one.

The stack is now 24 books. It’s getting precarious. And I should long since have written this post and two or three more like it. Such is life.

Here are five books from that stack. I’ll tell you where I found them, unless it was Amazon. I’m trying to reduce my dependency on Amazon. I’ll never overcome it entirely, I suspect, but I do love a good brick-and-mortar bookstore.

I’ll write about the others later. Ideally, sooner.


John Steinbeck - Travels with Charley in Search of American - Books I Read Lately

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley in Search of America

I enjoy telling people about one of my sons, who grew from a precocious early reader immersed in Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series to a mature mind preferring thick history books and great novels. One of his acquisitions was a passion for John Steinbeck’s writing.

He gave me this book as a gift. It is memoir, not the fiction for which Steinbeck is more famous, and it charmed and delighted me, page after page. It is a rambling account of his rambling journey across the United States with his dog Charley, who is surely one of the best-written canine personalities in prose. They traveled in a custom camper Steinbeck christened Rocinante, after Don Quixote’s horse.

Recent Reading: 10 More Books and a Memory

The more I read, the more I want to talk about what I read — and I’ve been reading more lately. I don’t mean more than I’ve ever read before. There was graduate school at Cornell — in Russian literature, a landscape of giant novels (which I still love), countless poems and short stories, and sprawling artistic manifestoes. Long before that were nineteen days at my grandparents’ farm in April 1975.

Do you mind very much if I remember for a few moments before I list the books?

“Every Good Thing”

Author's Note
I wrote this for the front page of my congregation’s (ward’s) monthly newsletter for November 2016.

Peter said that the Savior “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). What if he had said something slightly different: “he went about doing no evil”?

That’s true too, and it’s important for us to avoid sin, with God’s help — and when we fail at that, to remove it from our lives, also with God’s help. But it’s not enough simply to do no evil. We’re to do all the good that we can.