Amanda Lutey


Reporters strive to be without bias, but I often find myself drawn to sharing stories related to books, libraries, authors, literacy and more. I love to read. I tend to inhale books and read more than 220 in 2015.

I strived to limit the number of books I re-read in 2015, and did not include the first five books in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon in my reading tally. My excuse? Starz turned the books into a series and I wanted to catch up before watching the first season. And then I got hooked on them all over again and did not stop after the first. I highly recommend the series, especially to anyone fascinated by Scotland and historical fiction.

My year in reading included a visit to Milwaukee – conquering a trio of anxieties: driving in city traffic, in the dark and in the rain – to meet Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess. Boswell Book Company, a fabulous book store on North Downer Avenue, hosted Lawson for a reading and signing. She read selections from her second book, “Furiously Happy,” answered audience questions and signed books.

Bestselling author Sarah MacLean’s ninth book came out on Tuesday. I follow her on Twitter and Facebook, and gleefully joined her FB reading group, the Old School Romance Book Club. If you enjoy reading romance novels, I recommend sending a request to join the group, now nearly 3,000 members strong. We talk books, hold the occasional book exchange and make new friends. MacLean signed copies available for preorder at her local bookstore, and I succumbed to temptation and ordered one. My reward for this indulgence? The book arrived before its release date, allowing me to escape into it on Monday night.

I began tracking the books I read in 2007, and started using Goodreads to track books I read and want to read a few years ago. Goodreads lets you set reading goals, offers book giveaways and recommendations based on what you like. My list of books I want to read passed 700 this year. Visit to create an account. If you use Facebook, you can link the accounts for easy log-in access and to share what you read with friends.

I intend to tackle books on my “To Be Read” shelves, but books I already own often get overlooked for library books with a looming due date. It seems I require deadlines in more than just my work.

I need to weed my book collection, and found the motivation to get to that task. The Title 1 program at Randolph Elemenatry/Middle School plans to hold a Literacy Night in January for community members and seeks new and gently-used book donations for readers of all ages for a book giveaway. Look for book drop-offs at various locations around Randolph, including the school offices, public library and home basketball games. Libraries and the Beaver Dam Area Arts Association also hold book sales, and Little Free Libraries abound in the area, offering more ways to share books.

Libraries help me save so much money, but a bookstore gift card I received as a Christmas present may not last long. Perhaps I should only allow myself one new book for every five I give away.

What are you reading this year?