BOOKS, BEANS & BREWS: Reading goals for 2024

New year, new reading goals! We've got a great place for you to start


Samantha Jacquest is the owner of Blue House Books, Kenosha's full-service independent bookstore in Downtown Kenosha. Sam loves sharing her love of books with the community and bringing in popular and local authors for events. When not at her shop, Sam enjoys traveling and spending time Downtown with her friends, family, and rescue dog Flash.

Happy New Year, Readers! 

If you’re a huge bibliophile, you get just as excited as myself and Blue House Books customers for the new year, because it means new reading goals and challenges! We at BHB love challenging ourselves to read outside our comfort zone or beat the number of books read the year before. Nothing like a good competition with yourself or friends to encourage you to keep reading all year long!

A bunch of us have started using StoryGraph, a fantastic app and website that helps you keep track of your goals, provides fantastic stats on your reads for any given time period, and allows you to log all the books you own so that you don’t accidentally buy the same book twice! And if that sounds ridiculous to you, you wouldn’t believe how often it happens!

If you need help picking out some fun reading challenges and motivation to stick with it all year long, I recommend grabbing The Ultimate Reading Challenge from Blue House Books! Designed similarly to an advent calendar, it provides reading challenges and provides a little prize as you complete each goal.

Our staff and customers love sharing our reading goals, so stop by Blue House Books soon to let us know what you hope to accomplish in the world of books this year, or join the conversation in our Facebook group.

A fantastic book to contribute to your goal is this week’s book recommendation: The Waters by Bonnie Jo Campbell! This title is extra special, because not only do we have the author coming in for an event on Saturday, January 13th, but it’s also the current Reads with Jenna Book Club pick for January! We’re so honored to have Bonnie Jo Campbell at Blue House Books this Saturday from Noon to 3 p.m. to chat with readers and sign copies of her books!

You can find the event details here, and we highly recommend coming in to grab your book early or reserving a copy online.

The Waters just released today, and I enjoyed the first few pages with a Peppermint Sage latte from The Buzz! This delicious latte from their seasonal menu is the perfect botanical beverage for a book that focuses on the beauty of nature. The homemade syrup is even made with fresh sage! Enjoy it hot to beat off this wet, cold weather!

BHB staff member Melissa was able to read an advanced copy, and here’s what she had to say about this beautiful new novel:

“The Waters” tells the story of a family of women living on an island in the Massasauga Swamp in Michigan.  Hermine “Herself” Zoom is an herbalist and natural healer who ministers to the nearby rural community of Whiteheart.  A drawbridge to the island keeps it private, but Hermine meets with neighbors to dispense her cures just across on the mainland.  Campbell’s characters all have a strong tie to the natural world.  Her descriptions of the area and how it’s interwoven with their lives are gorgeous.

Hermine has raised three daughters in Rose Cottage on the island, as well as her 11-year-old granddaughter, Donkey, one of the most unique and lovable characters I’ve ever known.  You might say that about nearly everyone you’ll meet in “The Waters”.  If you’ve loved other stories of beautiful, natural lives like Gene Stratton Porter’s “A Girl of the Limberlost” or Delia Owens’ “Where The Crawdads Sing” you’ll appreciate the unique beauty of this book.  Cambell’s characters, human and animal, will draw you into their lives in a profound way.

I loved that women are especially honored in this book.  The men in their lives are a pivotal part of their stories, as well, and also wonderful characters.  The focus is on the strength and power of the women in this family and how they discover and develop it when their way of life is challenged.

We hope to see you at the event with Bonnie Jo Campbell on Saturday! Happy reading!