Today is Tuesday. I have taken to telling myself what day it is during the pandemic, when it feels like one day sort of merges with the next. The days seem especially indistinguishable during the winter holidays when we don’t even have our jobs to keep us on track.
Some people waited to start their new year’s resolutions until yesterday (Monday, January 3rd) which might make today only day two of the new year. I have been practicing for the new year since at least sometime in December of last year, perpetually honing my good habits in order to get a teensy bit better at life. Did you have a chance to read my 22 for 2022 list yet? If not, it’s here.
One of the things I am doing lately is giving myself credit for what I DO rather than feeling bad about what I didn’t get done. It’s another mind-shift that is intended to bring me more joy.
One of those things I’m giving myself credit for is reading. I read a lot in 2021. According to Goodreads, I managed 72 books over the course of the year! That higher than average total has a lot to do with it being the first year that I really got into reading on my phone via CloudLibrary as well as listening to audiobooks. For context, in 2011, I had set the modest goal of one book per month because I realized I hadn’t been reading much at all. Many of the fiction books in my pile last year were part of a series (Bosch, Gabriel Allon, Stephanie Plum, Weezie & Bebe). New to me in 2021 was the Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny, whose standalone novel State of Terror was also excellent. I didn’t love the first Gamache book but some local friends convinced me to give it another go, and I am glad I did. I don’t finish or include the books I don’t like on my Goodreads list so you can consider any of these a recommendation if you are looking for something to read. They’re not all high-brow, and I am not apologizing for it. Reading is such a good thing to do! There are innumerable benefits. So I hope that everyone will set a goal for one book this year, even if they haven’t read anything since school. In fact, that will get them a bigger high five than my high score. I’m still proudest of 2011 when I set that goal of one book per month and met it by October.
Tips for reading more:
- Find a series whose character(s) you really enjoy.
- Likewise find an author whose writing you like.
- Often, if you like a series by an author you will like their other books, too.
- Don’t worry about retaining the material. You’re not being graded. You can enjoy and benefit from reading a book even if you can’t really tell someone what it’s about later.
- Get a library card! Besides being able to check out physical books you can usually also get ebooks or audiobooks via Hoopla or CloudLibrary.
- ABR! Always Be Reading.
What was your favorite book of 2021? What are you looking forward to reading this year? I would like to read some of the books that feel like classics but I haven’t read yet: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion, the mysteries of Raymond Chandler – who inspired Michael Connelly, author of my favorite series about LAPD Detective Harry Bosch, and All About Love by bell hooks.
Incidentally, I think I am going to keep this blog going, simply because the process of writing something (even if no one reads it) is beneficial to me. It’s good to practice the habit of writing, then publishing what I write. I don’t want to overthink it. Nor do I want to silence my voice. I read Katie Couric’s memoir Going There over the holidays and I was inspired by the advice that Walter Cronkite gave her. He said that he knew he was being fair when everyone was mad at him. I can’t imagine that anything I am saying here will be controversial enough for people to be mad at me, but it does feel freeing to not be concerned about it. You can buy the memoir — which I read compulsively over the course of two days — at the Real Houses of East Lansing bookshop online here. Every dollar you spend there helps to support this site so thank you!