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  • Bill Chastain

100-Book Goal Reached

Updated: Dec 7, 2020

Half-heartedly, I set a goal at the beginning of 2020: Read 100 books in a year. An auspicious goal considering I'd read 33 in 2019. But I figured what the hell. My friend Pete Williams did it in 2019.

I burst from the starting line at a snail's pace. Then Covid-19 arrived. Televised sports went away for awhile, and I began to read more. Before long I'd formed a habit.

I read books via the actual hard copy, my Kindle, and my iPhone. If I found myself in a waiting room, I had a book handy. During TV commercial breaks, I hit the mute button and read. And, of course, I experienced many full-on read rots where I sprawled on the couch or bed and enjoyed a book.

All along, I'd planned to ceremoniously re-read my favorite book, Pat Conroy's The Prince of Tides, to reach the milestone. But when I finished my 99th book, I found myself in the midst of Kathy Hogan Trocheck's (She now goes by Mary Kay Andrews) Callahan Garrity Mystery Series. Thus, I reached the century mark when I finished Trocheck's Midnight Clear (Book 7 of the series) on December 1.

Some observations about my year of the book.

First, I love to re-read books. I enjoy how being older, maybe wiser, brings different elements to light when I experience a favorite book for the second, third, maybe fourth time. The Summer of 42 (book No. 21 this year) is a good example. I first read Herman Raucher's classic when I was 15 (the summer of '72). My parents put me on double-secret probation that summer thanks to a night out, and too much malt liquor. I loved the book. I have no idea how many times I've read it since. Funny, the first reading delivered a coming-of-age experience. Reading the book is now an exercise in rearview-mirror gazing.

Early in 2020, I interviewed Bill Curry, the former football player and coach. That led me to a phase where I read all the books he'd written--some with George Plimpton, and that led me to re-read Jerry Kramer's best-seller Instant Replay (62) about a championship season with the Green Bay Packers. I read all of Kramer's books, and many of Plimpton's as well. I particularly enjoyed the old-school football stories, and those about Vince Lombardi.

Graham Greene's The Quiet American (72), and Jim Carroll's The Basketball Dairies (46), are American classics, bringing the 1960s to life in vivid color.

A couple of books by friends made the list of 100. Tim Wendel's Castro's Curveball (44, I'm looking forward to the sequel, Escape from Castro's Cuba due out in March 2021) and Chris Harry's and Joey Johnston's Tales from the Bucs Sideline (82, a book every Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan should have).

New authors I experienced included Kate Alcott, Lucy Foley, Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Butler, Lydia Fitzpatrick, Lilly King, and Brad Smith.

Favorites? I'd have to go with Lydia Fitzpatrick's Lights All Night Long (45), Nicholas Butler's Shotgun Lovesongs (19), and Lucy Foley's The Guest List (59).

Few of the books I read were stinkers. I'll attribute that to changed reading habits. I no longer feel compelled to finish a book. If I start one and it doesn't grab me, I'll move on to another. There are way to many available books to read to waste time reading one I'm not enjoying.

Now that I've reached my goal, I'm like, "Way cool. You reached 100 a month early."

I think I'll celebrate by reading a book.

I invite you to hang out with me on my site at and read more of my blogs. You can also download FREE chapters from some of my fiction books: Peachtree Corvette Club, The Streak and Retrouvailles. Drop me a line at Asked and Answered. Let's talk about feel-good stories, fun facts, movies, food and, of course, two of my very favorite topics: sports and books. Whatever is on your mind.

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