Newsletter editor Lily here.

So, I’m a roll this year with my reading goal. A lot of this is having a ton of time to read over my vacation in addition to spending my first weekends of 2020 mostly reading; I definitely don’t see myself keeping up this “book a day” pace for long, but it’s a nice buffer for when I have lots of other things happening in my life and I can’t read as much as I want to.

I do have a goal within my reading goal though: I want to get through as many of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels as possible this year.

For those who don’t know, romance-turned-mystery/action novelist Janet Evanovich has written a total of 26 books about her heroine Stephanie Plum since 1994—and she hasn’t set an end date for the series yet. The books follow Stephanie after she loses her job as a lingerie buyer at a department store, and desperate for cash, becomes a hilariously terrible bounty hunter for her cousin Vinny in Trenton, New Jersey. The books may be formulaic in setup and plot, but Evanovich has really created sharp characters and a vivid world around Stephanie’s life, one that I’ve come back to over the years for well over a decade now.

The Stephanie Plum series also holds a lot of nostalgia for me. One time when my mom and I were driving to Orlando when I was in middle school, she popped the first audiobook into her car’s CD player and we listened along while she fast-forwarded through any sections that could be considered a little steamy. We got through the first couple of books on and off during other long stints on the road. I loved those car rides; they were some of my favorite bonding experiences with my mom from my childhood and adolescence. Almost eight years later, when I took a total of eight road trips between my home in Florida and Wesleyan during college (roughly 18 hours during each stint), a portion of my drives were always dedicated to getting at least one Stephanie Plum audiobook in.

So, after another half-decade break from Stephanie Plum and her band of Trenton misfits, it was time to dive back in. I love these novels because they’re short (only 5.5-6.5 hours on 1.0 speed on audiobook), they’re fun, and they make for great marathon training run material since I can listen or zone out as I please. And since I spend a lot of my days writing about our country’s political mess for my various gigs, it’s a nice juxtaposition to come home and listen to the adventures of a Stephanie Plum book when I cook dinner.

Ah, the simple pleasures in life.

(And if you love to read or want to do more reading this year, goal or no goal, we’ve got a great thread going about it!)

Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:

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