Around May of this year, it dawned on me that I had only read one book in the first half of the year. It was the first year after I graduated from my master’s program. I had read so many books during my program I guess I subconsciously gave myself a break.
However, when you are a writer giving yourself a break from reading is career suicide! So I decided that I was going to get my act together and get back to reading – because BOOKS!! I love the smell of books 🙂
But how was I going to do this? Especially with the internal struggle of feeling as though reading was self-indulgent when I was working my ass off to build a new business.
What I had to do was get over it. Reading is good for the mind and necessary to professional development. I decided that the only way I could commit to reading more books was to *actually* commit to reading more books.
I chose to create a daily page goal. I created a slot on my calendar to read 20 pages every day. Since I love reading, it doesn’t feel like a task. What a beautiful way to start the day – a good read and a good cup of coffee!
So here is what my reading list looked like for 2017 and the upcoming list for 2018 :
There were several highlights on the 2017 list including Maya Angelou’s Mom & Me & Mom, and Andrea Young’s Life Lessons My Mother Taught Me. Both books were about a strong mother figure. They helped me tremendously in working through the character description of the grandmother for the book I am writing.
There are no words to describe Angelou’s work that hasn’t already been said. She has a rhythm and a cadence all her own. Mom & Me & Mom was warm even during the parts that were ugly.
Andrea Young has a public policy background, so for me, it was interesting to see such a straightforward writing style around a topic that was clearly close to her heart.
The surprise standout, I have to say, was Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I don’t usually have to look up too many words anymore, but this one forced me into Google dozens of times. The French translation caught some flack for pretentiousness, however, I think that the language was necessary to the characters that Barbery created. I thoroughly enjoyed how this book stretched my skills, and so I ordered her second release, Gourmet Rhapsody. By the way, I have to give a shout out to Alison Anderson who translated the books into English – I don’t read French, but I imagine Anderson did an excellent job of preserving the language.
Next year’s list has a lot of public policy topics, The Federalist Papers, and A Tale of Two Cities. I have already started reading Maria Goodavage’s Top Dog. Timmy picked it up for me for my last trip. I can already tell it’s going to break my heart! But it is military and dogs – two things I love!
If you have any tips or tricks for getting through your reading list, I’d love to hear them and share them!