Life Imitates Heart

Some sleep-deprived thoughts about reading 52 books in 10 months

This is crazy, I’m a monster, and I’m never reading this many books again… 

… who am I kidding. I live to out-do myself. Not in 2018. 2018 is going to be for the giant books I’ve been too scared to open for the past three years. But maybe 2019…

It’s okay to not finish the book. Reading more inevitably means ditching the books that you can’t get into, and this year I set aside a record number of books while managing to only feel a slight twinge of guilt. Life is short. Sometimes it’s okay to DNF and come back to it, or never touch that stupid The Magicians book ever, ever again (apologies to the fans).

You find the time. I’ve started sneaking reading in wherever I can. Fifteen minute break at work? Door closed, book open. The ten minute wait at the doctors office that we’re all pretending won’t actually be forty-five minutes? Perfect time to sneak in a few chapters. And, as always, there are the pre-dawn hours where “one more chapter” becomes a form of religious chanting.

Don’t stop reading diverse books. I made it a point to broaden my reading scope this year, from LGBTQ romance novels (Call Me By Your Name) to novels written by and about people of color (The Hate U GiveEverything, EverythingThe Sun is Also a StarThe Sun and Her FlowersHomegoing, Rebel of the Sands), to self-growth books (You Are a Badass) and books about Buddhism (Buddhism Through American Women’s Eyes) and meditation (A Little Bit of Meditation). I only have the lived experience of a straight white female, but diverse storytelling helps me understand what it’s like to grow up in a predominantly black neighborhood or the importance of the representation that I’ve always had the privilege of overlooking because everyone I read about looked just like me.

I own too many books. This has never been more apparent than the ache in my back last week from moving totes on totes of books up the stairs to my new apartment. I’ve considered adding up all the money I’ve spent on books this year but I’d prefer not to crush my soul right before Christmas.

I’m a series girl. Fun fact: when you’re a reader, saying the word ‘series’ out loud will automatically earn you a gigantic eyeroll from your mother, as she’s been trained for years that if you buy a girl book one, you’ll have to buy her books two, three, and four. I didn’t go out of my way to not read many series this year, but that’s just how the cookie crumbled; instead, all year I found myself finishing one book only to pick up something similar and promptly shove it back on the shelf. It’s felt less fluid, and I’m looking forward to jumping back into some extended series next year (Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings, here I come…)

Am I cheating? I started off the year by reading my first e-book and felt like a snake. I’ve been a hard critic of the Kindle era and my feelings are still conflicted, but where I really felt like I was cheating was listening to the audiobook of Call Me By Your Name (but c’mon, Armie Hammer’s deep voice in my ear for seven hours? No contest). Can I add that to my ‘read’ list? What about the books of poetry that I sneaked in just to check off another box? The jury is still out.

love reading. 

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