2019 was not a stellar year for reading. It was, however, a good year for learning about reading. Or, should I say, learning about not reading. Here are a few of my 2019 insights if I really want to read more in 2020:
- Take a break from other people’s recommendations. This includes book clubs, which are designed to maximize your time spent reading other people’s book choices. It also includes friend recommendations that you are told you “absolutely have to read”. Also business books, which I would almost never pick out of a lineup as something I really want to read. And most definitely books about “happiness”. Goal for 2020: look for a few neglected authors and series from the past few years and pick them back up.
- Overworking is not sustainable. Due to a high-profile project on a very tight timeline, and my role as lead project manager, I spent more than half the year working 10-11 hour days and then would spend the evening in a state of exhaustion watching reruns of Seinfeld (this is true). Any books I read during this time were likely on airplanes if I wasn’t clearing out my email. Goal for 2020: regular work hours. That is all. As a corollary, regular work hours are set to Pacific Time.
- Social media kills! It kills time. It kills creativity. It kills motivation. It kills conversation. I spent WAY too much time skulking around on Facebook and Twitter in 2019. However, here’s my dilemma in terms of a goal for 2020. My extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins are all on Facebook. My local friends are primarily on Instagram. My carefully curated follows designed to maximize my enjoyment and happiness is on Twitter. What is the best way to reduce my social media time? Set a social-media-free day per week? Limit each day to under 3o mins? Limit apps to days of the week, i.e. Twitter Tuesdays, Facebook Fridays, and so on? Ack!!
So that’s what 2020 is going to look like. We’ll see what kind of impact it has on the reading list. Meanwhile, here is my somewhat lacklustre 2019:
- in a dark, dark wood, by Ruth Ware
- A Briefer History of Time, by Stephen Hawking
- Essentialism, by Greg McKeown
- The Disappeared, by Kim Echlin
- Leave me, by Gayle Forman
- A Brightness Long Ago, Guy Gavriel Kay *
- To Heaven and Back, Mary C. Neal, MD
- The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware
- Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney
- Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
- The Other Einstein, by Marie Benedict
- The Difference, by Marina Endicott *
- Haunted Ground, by Erin Hart