Jackie Collins – The Chicken Soup of Literature

For a day job, I spend my time at a youth shelter and residential program. That means I’m constantly around teenagers and all their germs. After working an extra long week, I was looking forward to five full days off. Unfortunately, some of those germies took resident in my sinuses and I came down with a nasty cold.

I was still able to have a good few days off. Over the weekend, in between naps, brunch and watching Golden Girls, I started and finished Married Lovers by Jackie Collins.


Image from Google

There’s nothing I love more than reading a book full of drama. I love how Collins spin her tales of beautiful people in Hollywood – and of course, Married Lovers was a delight.

Jackie Collins is everything I want to read when I need  a break or feel sick. My day job is really hard. I spend my time with kids who have been severely neglected and abused in their short lives. They come to the organization where I work with typically no more than the clothes on their back and trunks of emotional baggage. I don’t always want to read heavy, complicated books. Sometimes I want to read a silly drama about different rich people in Hollywood.

I’ve always loved romance novels and other books similar to Jackie Collins. It’s an escape from reality. And isn’t that what reading is for? Sure, I read to educate myself, I read to change my viewpoint. I read to challenge all my bias and assumptions. But I also read to help myself fall asleep when I’m too anxious. I read when I need to give my brain a break. I read when I want to spend a good soak in my bathtub.

Having a healthy reading list is important. It’s like having a healthy diet – you can’t just eat raw vegetables all the time. There has to be room for those comfort foods – Lay’s potato chips, chicken noodle soup, layered bean dip. Jackie Collins and her expansive works fall squarely in the chicken noodle soup category of books. They’re soothing and you know you’ll feel better when you’re finished. I was able to take a mental break and give myself the time I needed to rest. Her books always totally suck me in and are so hard to put down until they’re totally finished. That’s what I needed this weekend. Married Lovers gave me time to relax and unwind, ready to go back to work this week.

So if you haven’t before – check out any or all of Jackie Collins‘ books. Her own story is incredible and her books are super fun.


Currently Reading

A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn 

WinterTown – Stephen Emond

A Clash of Kings – George R.R. Martin 

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie 

Parable of the Talents – Octavia Butler 

100 Books in 365 Days

Finished Books 

Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

Parable of the Sower – Octavia Butler

A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin

Winter Town – Stephen Edmond

Dear Mr. Knightly – Katherine Reay

Books to Read in 2017 

Snow Country – Yasunari Kawabata

Zen in the Art of Writing – Ray Bradbury

On Writing: Notes of the Craft – Stephen King

Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer

Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – John Le Carré

Woman at Point Zero – Nawal El Saadawi

An Academic Question – Barbara Pym

A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway

Affections – Rodrigo Hasbún

The Year of the Hare – Arto Paasilinna

Suddenly a Knock on the Door – Etgar Keret

The Queue – Basma Abdel Aziz

Revolutionary Suicide  – Huey P. Newton

The Moving Toyshop – Edmund Crispin


2017 Reading Goals

In 2016, I attempted to read 100 books. And I wasn’t able to accomplish it. 2016 was a busy year and there were times when I just didn’t have it in me to keep that reading train going.

This year though, I’ve got a plan. I want to read 100 books this year. Just because I can. And this year, I have some ways to help me reach that goal.

  1. Sherri L. Smith’s Book Club for a New Administration – I found Smith’s blog on twitter one day and saw her Book Club and I’m so excited to see what comes of it. January’s book is Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. This is my first Butler novel and I’m excited to check it out. I love discovering new authors and learning from their work. I think this book club will expose me to new types of books and ideas and I can’t wait. I’m also going to check out Smith’s own work at my library – her YA novels looks fantastic!
  2. Trump Syllabus 2.0 –  I found this syllabus online in the days following the presidential election. This mock college syllabus is fascinating  and contains so many books and articles that I haven’t read or even heard of. I’m someone that wants to be constantly learning and I think this syllabus will present me with books I wouldn’t have sought out on my own and make me think.
  3. My Blackwell’s Haul – Last summer, I got the chance to study at Oxford University and I loved absolutely every minute of my time there. I came home with an even larger desire to keep reading and learning and an extra suitcase full of books. I’m still compiling a complete list from Oxford and I’ve read a few of the books already, but I want to read the rest of the books I bought while there. I have a horrible habit of continually buying new books without reading the old, so I’d like to whittle down some of the unread books in my personal library.
  4. I need to read, on average 8 books per month to get to my ultimate goal. Some books will take longer than others, but I’ll be keeping this in mind along the journey.
  5. I’ll keep a running tab here, on this site, as well as in my handy reading journal. I figure having people see how many books I’ve read will help keep me reading when the siren call of Netflix beckons.
  6. Last, I’ve also decided to track how many pages of books I read in 2017. I haven’t done this before and I’m really curious to see how many pages I’ll end up with.


Happy Reading!


2016 Year in Review

2016 was a crazy year. I traveled internationally to Mexico, England, Ireland, Canada and Fiji. I completed my first year of graduate school and started my second. I earned my 200 hour yoga teacher certification. And through all this, I wrote countless papers, short stories and essays.

Last year, I wanted to read 100 books. I’ve come close before – clocking 98 in 2013. However, in 2016, I didn’t even get close. I only managed to read 32 books. I keep a journal of all the full titles I read and I’ve found it to be really fun to go back and see what I read when. I think it will be great to look back in the future and see what books I keep returning to or when I discovered new authors. Below is my month by month breakdown – what I read and when.

January 2016 -2 

Tricky Twenty-Two – Janet Evanovich 

Saving Juliet – Suzanne Selfors

February 2016 – 1

Last One Home – Debbie Macomber

March 2016 – 7

Dukes Prefer Blondes – Loretta Chase 

Drop Dead Beautiful – Jackie Collins

Goddess of Vengeance – Jackie Collins

419 – Will Ferguson

Trapline – Carl Hiaason and Bill Moltabano

The Accidental Apprentice – Vikas Swarup

Royal Wedding – Meg Cabot

April 2016 – 0

No books finished.

May 2016 – 2

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen 

June 2016 – 2

The Santangelos – Jackie Collins

Tess of the D’ubervilles – Thomas Hardy

July 2016 -3

The Diary of a Teenage Girl – Phoebe Gloeckner

Undercover – Danielle Steele

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy – Gabriella Coleman

August 2016 -3

The Essential Dykes to Look Out For – Alison Bechdel 

The Great American Whatever – Tim Federle

The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness

September 2016 – 2

The Constant Gardener – Jon Le Carré

The Day of the Owl – Leonardo Sciascia 

October 2016 – 2

Wicked Appetite – Janet Evanovich 

To Helvetica and Back – Paige Shelton

November 2016 – 3

Winter Stroll – Elin Hilderbrand

Dangerous Kiss – Jackie Collins

Oxford Blue – Veronica Stallwood

December 2016 -5 

When the Snow Flies – Laurie Alice Eakes

The Guise of Another – Allen Eskens

Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death and Redemption in an American Prison – Shaka Senghor

Let it Snow – Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lauren Myracle

One – Sarah Crossan


Of all these, my favorite reads included both Jane Austen novels, which I return at least once a year, if not every few years. I also really loved Shaka Senghor’s memoir. I’m looking forward to finishing the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness.

How many books did you read each year? Do you journal about your reading habits? Do you journal that list online or with pen and paper?

Happy Reading and Happy New Year!