Report from Louisiana: Need Book Recommendations

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT —  Are y’all on Goodreads?  I am, but I’m not sure why.  I think I signed up so I could get reading suggestions from my friends, but I suppose I don’t need Goodreads to do that.

This year everyone was signing up for the 2019 Reading Challenge. For some reason I decided to do one, too.  In my usual overzealous fashion I vowed to read 100 books this year. One hundred books!  What was I thinking?  It’s already July and I’ve read 29.  I think I’m going to fall short.

I logged on to the site today to check my progress and to delete a couple of books I didn’t ever finish; I might have overstated my goal but I’m no cheater.

While I was there, I looked at the 29 books I’ve actually read this year. It’s a pretty vanilla list, heavy on Southern lit and more than a few YA novels – research for my classroom library. The best book on my list of books that I’ve finished this year was The Sound of Building Coffins by Louis Maistros. That book…man.  It was something else!  Loved it!  I’ve read quite a few that I really enjoyed this year, but that one is just gifted writing.

Sometimes I read odd things, books that I pick up at book bazaars and such.  Right now I’m reading Southern Plantation by Lillian Britt Heinsohn. The book was published in 1962 and would be considered politically incorrect on several levels today, but it does paint a picture of the author’s life at the time as she and her husband purchased a thousand acre farm and old house in Georgia. I thought it would be about her efforts at restoration and refurbishing the house, and it has been to some degree. She also writes a great deal about restoring and planting the gardens and landscaping.  It is difficult for me to relate to though because I don’t have a staff of tenant residents or a seemingly limitless bank account to help me buy plants, trees, cows, etc.  At any rate, it’s been an easy book to read while I while away the hot afternoons in the porch swing.

I seem to go through spurts or phases in my reading. I went through a YA phase last year while I was stocking my classroom library. I prefer non-fiction, usually, but it depends on the subject. I really don’t go in for chick-lit much, although there are a couple I’ve read this year that were okay. I love anything James Lee Burke writes, and when it comes to fiction, or novels, prefer literary fiction. I’m all over the place, really.  No rhyme or reason to it.

Goodreads says I am twenty-two books behind schedule! Ha!   #truth.

You guys need to give me some suggestions – what are you reading? I need to catch up!

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia. She is currently working on her second book. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.