Sunday, December 19, 2010

Here's to Henry

"The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, And all the sweet serenity of books." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This year was by far my worst year of reading . . . ever. Although there are 11 days left in the year, I am calling it. I do not think I read even 15 books this year. January started off fine, maybe 1-2 books off pace. But then, that was it.

I don't want to be one of "those" people - a person who doesn't read. How can a life-long well-loved habit be lost so easily and seem almost insurmountable to regain?

Do I need a fabulous recommendation? Not really. I have lots of books, hundreds, in my house to choose from - books that once must have intersted me. I've started The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman - that Mary references below in her most recent post. I'm on page 36. It's a perfectly good book - but rather than lie in bed and read for 1-2 hours in the evening, I just lay there and stare at the TV.

Maybe I should give my TV away? :-)

I don't know what to do to make 2011 what 2010 was not - a wonderful year of reading.

1 comment:

John Michael Cummings said...

re: book review request by award-winning author

Dear Reading Gals Blog:

I'm an award-winning author with a new book of fiction out this fall. Ugly To Start With is a series of thirteen interrelated stories about childhood published by West Virginia University Press.

Can I interest you in reviewing it?

If you write me back at, I can email you a PDF of my book. If you require a bound copy, please ask, and I will forward your reply to my publisher. Or you can write directly to Abby Freeland at:

My publisher, I should add, can also offer your readers a free excerpt of my book through a link from your blog to my publisher's website:

Here’s what Jacob Appel, celebrated author of
Dyads and The Vermin Episode, says about my new collection: "In Ugly to Start With, set in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, Cummings tackles the challenges of boyhood adventure and family conflict in a taut, crystalline style that captures the triumphs and tribulations of small-town life. He has a gift for transcending the particular experiences to his characters to capture the universal truths of human affection and suffering--emotional truths that the members of his audience will recognize from their own experiences of childhood and adolescence.”

My short stories have appeared in more than seventy-five literary journals, including North American Review, The Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Chattahoochee Review. Twice I have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. My short story "The Scratchboard Project" received an honorable mention in The Best American Short Stories 2007.

I am also the author of the nationally acclaimed coming-of-age novel The Night I Freed John Brown (Philomel Books, Penguin Group, 2009), winner of The Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers (Grades 7-12) and one of ten books recommended by USA TODAY.

For more information about me, please visit:

Thank you very much, and I look forward to hearing back from you.


John Michael Cummings