For years, one of my new year’s resolutions has been to read more. Until last year, however, I didn’t make it a point to read more. In years past I have bought so many books I would one day like to read, and sometimes I would start a book but seldom finish it.
One day last year, tired of this trend I decided to focus and allocate a little time to reading. While I had set a goal to read 10 books in the year, I only read 7 – which I know is dismal for those who are avid readers, however, 7 is far better than 1 or 2 at most that I was reading prior to focusing.
Additionally, I read fiction books! Prior to last year, I had only read fiction books when mandated by school curriculum – and since I have been out of school (and classes that require reading fiction) since city college, I haven’t read a fiction book in 13 years!
In the year I read:
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and LOVED IT! This book is in the category of speculative fiction that speaks to the importance of books, knowledge, and control by the ‘state’ (as in government). What a fun read – it took me no more than a couple weeks at most to finish while on our travels to Paris.
Why We Run by Bernd Heinrich is a book that blends running and biology together. (It’s in the category of Nature) It analyzes and compares the traits of various animals and the different components used in running, for example, fast/slow twitch muscle of various mammals, or endurance of birds, and the cardiovascular system of dogs, etc. While it’s an interesting and educational book, it can be a little dense if it’s the last thing you read after a long day.
Sin Miedo; Lecciones de Rebeldes by Jorge Ramos was an excellent book. I read it in Spanish to keep the brain engaged in a different way. This book is about the lessons Ramos takes from each of his courageous interviewees. Often these are historical/political figures. From this book, I have learned of a few individuals about whom I would like to learn and read more. (Sin Miedo was in the category of Politics)
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware was a frivolous easy read to just be amused, read a current widely read book that was entertaining. The beginning took a while to get going but it was worth the read. This is the kind of book you take on a flight or vacation. Easy, peacy.
In Paris, at the Shakespeare & Company bookstore cafe next door to Shakespear & Co bookstore which opened in 1919, I found a copy of The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury with French text on one side and English text on the other. This is perhaps my most fun and quirky souvenir of our Paris adventure. While this is a fiction book in the speculative fiction or sci-fi category, I am reminded of it as I read about Elon Musk and his exploration and ambitions toward Mars. Maybe it was a far-fetched book, but maybe it’s not.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis had been on my shelf for years – so much so, that I just found my original book this past week at my parent’s house in my old room. I had read the Screwtape Letters and enjoyed them so much that I bought Mere Christianity but I think the times I had tried starting it before, I was too ‘young’ or immature to stay with it. This book is a simple text, yet as profound and complex as expected. It could be read quickly, but it should be digested slowly. I can definitely see it being a book I will have to re-read in a few years.
Lastly, I read Evicted by Matthew Desmond about the housing crisis in America. Being a Political Science major it’s not surprising that I enjoy a book delving into social and political challenges that affect our society. This book was recommended for a virtual book club by Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, and although I signed up for the virtual book club, I didn’t get any emails about it. However, I really enjoyed the book and the way in which it was written – by telling the first-hand account of several individuals (both tenants and landlords) in Milwaukee. This book, although it reads partly like an academic study, it also reads a little like a play. I am looking forward to hearing the author next week when he speaks at UCSB.
Additionally, to learning about a variety of subjects and enjoying my time doing so, or contemplating life on Mars, etc I also kept track of all the words that I do not know well enough to define on my own. It’s actually embarrassing to admit how much I do not know, but by noting them, researching them, and then applying them is how we learn and grow. So that’s fun too.
Many times, we wish we did more of x but wind up in the exact same place year after year. (X could be reading, writing, exercise, etc) The time exists – we just have to allocate it correctly. I found reading time by cutting minutes away from watching TV at the end of the day. While I still watch a couple shows with my husband, we don’t need to watch the same quantity we were watching before, and reading (especially from a book, not a screen) helps the mind quiet down and unwind. So, what is it that you’ve been wanting to do more of, but have not done?
By the way, another of my new years’ resolutions that have been unkept for many years is to write more, so hopefully, I will also start doing so – as time permits, or as I make time for it.