This year I set a goal for myself to read more books, which is a goal I make every year and fail at. But this year I did something different… and it’s working!
What I did differently this year was to give myself a number of books to read — 25, which seemed both mildly ambitious, given that I’d averaged only about 10 a year for the past seven years or so, yet doable. And I figured reading 25 books in a year would require some change of habits, which was also a motivating factor for me (less screen time, for example). The other thing I did differently this year was to write a list of books I wanted to read, by researching and comparing around a dozen or so “best books of 2018” lists from sources I trust (like NPR, for example). Then, I went to my library’s website and looked for any of the books that might be available for immediate check-out (there were two or three out of my initial list of 27 or so books). From there, I added several to a hold list and then went to the library and checked out the ones that were already available. Since then, it’s been a successful cycle of reading a book and then getting a notice that one of my holds is available and waiting for me, so that I’ve had a continuous stream of books to read, which makes it so much easier to stay on track towards my goal. I love libraries!
Anyway, I started my #25InAYear challenge in the final few days of 2018 and have so far finished five and just started my sixth. (I guess, technically, I have started a sixth and seventh, but I put this one aside because it’s a loan from a friend that I can return at leisure, whereas the other is a library book that is due back soon.) Part of my challenge is to read only women and gay men authors, and since there has been some interest in what I’m reading (here and when I post on my Instagram stories), I thought I’d share the titles of what I’ve read so far, along with some brief thoughts.
1. His Favorites
My favorite so far! It’s a petite book (160 pages), but each page packs a punch. This is a suspenseful novel that explores the vulnerabilities of young women in a #metoo world.
This is a novel about a middle-aged gay man on a trip around the world in search of himself. It’s ultimately a love story, and while it took me much longer to get into the story as I would like, I stuck with it and I’m really glad I did; the end is so beautiful!
3. And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready
This is a memoir about pregnancy and the first year of motherhood and it gave me a little PTSD reading it, to be honest. It was well-written and honest, and I probably would have enjoyed it more in the earlier months of my own motherhood journey, but at this point in my life, I am happy to sort of put those days behind me and not re-visit (or re-live) them too much. I’d recommend for a first-time mom (or mom-to-be) though – especially one who might want affirmation that she’s not alone in her struggles.
4. Little Fires Everywhere
Ooh, this one was a page-turner! It’s a “riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.” It leaves the reader questioning what makes a mother — and, really, what makes a family. Really engaging storytelling with rich, complicated characters you can’t help but root for, even when they do stupid stuff.
5. Look Alive Out There
This was an entertaining book of humor essays from Sloane Crosley, who’s been compared to everyone from Dorothy Parker to David Sedaris, and I’d probably hate her a little bit for all her success if she weren’t so likable and self-deprecating in her writing. Her essay about her obnoxious neighbors and how she got revenge on them is worth the price of the book alone (especially if you check it out for free from the library like I did).
What are you reading these days? Anything I should add to my list for this year?