The edits kept me too busy to read much, but over the past couple weeks I did finish five books toward my goal of at least 75 books this year:
40) Bar Sinister, by Sheila Simonson. Simonson published four traditional Regencies about a linked set of characters, and I've now read them all. I almost hesitate to call them romances--the love story here is more a subplot, an undercurrent, than anything else. But Simonson has a knack for creating fully realized communities of characters, and I'm always pleased to run across another writer who knows her Peninsular War and Waterloo military history cold.
41) How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm, by Mei-Ling Hopgood. Explores a variety of childcare practices around the world that would be mutually appalling to members of other cultures. Fascinating if you're at all interested in cultural anthropology, and gives the overall cheering message that children are fairly resilient and adaptable.
42) The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, by Caroline Preston. Coming-of-age story of a 1920's New England girl, "a novel in pictures" featuring vintage memorabilia. I don't think I'd enjoy a steady diet of such books--most of the time I'd rather read the words and let my imagination supply the pictures--but this was a fun way to pass a sunny Sunday afternoon reading out on the deck. That said, I get so TIRED of stories where a young woman goes off to the big city, only to ultimately return to her hometown and the boy she left behind. For some us the big city really IS that much better than what we left behind.
43) Capturing the Silken Thief, by Jeannie Lin. I often think the very short novellas in the Harlequin Historical Undone line are too short to convince me of the couple's love and commitment unless the couple already know each other well--reunion stories, friends-to-lovers, and the like. But I make an exception for Jeannie Lin's Undones, because she makes me believe the hero and heroine's chemistry will have staying power, and I enjoy the unusual Tang Dynasty China setting.
44) The Willpower Instinct, by Kelly McGonigal. Part of my never-ending quest to make myself more efficient at time management and less stressed. I checked it out from the library, but I think I'm going to buy the Kindle edition and work through the chapters slowly. It's well-written and full of scientific, evidence-based insight on what works and what doesn't when one is trying to cut back on a self-destructive behavior or work harder toward a goal--e.g. shame and guilt are pretty much useless as motivators to change. (INWARD shame, that is--threat of public exposure has been shown as a useful deterrent to things like shoplifting or hiring a prostitute.) Also, it's better to acknowledge the fact that one is, say, craving chocolate or anxious about going to the dentist than to tell yourself if you really wanted to lose weight you wouldn't want chocolate, or that if you weren't such a coward you wouldn't have this pesky dental phobia.