Books

Books: Are We Reading This Year or Nah?

Short answer: Yes.

Longer story…

Last year I fell all the way off. My vision board goal was to read 40 books for the year. Pandemic. The previous year I started writing reviews which you can check out by looking at posts in that category. And then in my usual consistently inconsistent ways, I fell off. Feeling like I had to write a review for every book felt like pressure (from no one other than myself btw, because literally no one asked for my opinion on books I’ve read). Anyway, last year when I presumably had the time I just didn’t and I don’t have very many valid excuses.

Twelve books works out to be about one book per month, so compared to most adults I know, that’s not a bad deal, but I try not to compare myself to others. Compared to previous years, 12 is 1/3 (roughly) of what I usually read.

There were a few books that I started that I didn’t finish and I was feeling pressure to finish…I don’t know. Maybe I’ll give the books another chance this year just so that it can stop lingering in my head as an unfinished product. On one hand I should read more out of my comfort zone because growth or whatever but on the other hand, but why? I don’t like it, why must I endure something I’m finding not entertaining?

There were a few books that I started that I didn’t finish and I was feeling pressure to finish…I don’t know. Maybe I’ll give the books another chance this year just so that it can stop lingering in my head as an unfinished product. On one hand I should read more out of my comfort zone because growth or whatever but on the other hand, but why? I don’t like it, why must I endure something I’m finding not entertaining?

We’re still in a pantomime so this year I’m not making it a hard and fast rule on how I approach my reading goals. I’m incorporating audiobooks into daily activities like cooking and showering, where my mind can be occupied. (Upon further retrospect, there were a lot of shifts and changes in my life last year even beyond the panini so I didn’t have as my friend says, the bandwidth to accommodate doing this, but also puzzling became a bigger thing.)

I’m also trying to either read for 30 minutes or read a single chapter if it’s an e-book and not audio. This will help me improve my attention span which has certainly been on a decline thanks to spending copious amounts of time on social media scrolling past content longer than 5 minutes.

I don’t know if I’ll be using GoodReads as much to track my reading. I was introduced to a black-owned website and app called TheStoryGraph. It’s sort of the same as Goodreads where you can have a reading challenge, join other challenges by reading books from particular categories and get reading recommendations based on your stats. I was able to easily import my Goodreads data into The Story Graph, which I thought was pretty cool and efficient. Story Graph’s layout seems cleaner, smoother, less words on the screen competing for you to read them.

Follow me on there. I’m nosey. I wanna see what y’all are reading.

Starting new things can be fun. We like the new car smell of things in their exciting phase. It’s when the new smell fades away and it just smells like nothing, it can be hard to keep going. My goal this year is still 40 books but I’m not going hard on the categories. I want to finish what I’ve started, read books that I have that are collecting dust and read enjoyable books.

Best & Worst Reads of 2020

The best book for me would be a book so good I’d reread it and actually….none of those books above would make the list. That doesn’t mean they were bad, they just didn’t hold me so much that I’d read them again. I did quite like a few of them:

  • Such a Fun Age: from Melissa’s Bookclub. A black main character not just focusing on black struggles is always a vibe.
  • The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl: these books were written by the same pair of authors and they have women leads in the books. I like this type of psychological, suspense. They go back and forth in time, perspectives of events and it creates more imagery in my mind. I wouldn’t reread, but I would read more books from them.
  • Daydreams, Nightmares and Fantasies: It’s a trio of books by a black woman author I found on IG so of course black characters and they’re successful. I still need to finish off Fantasies because I know the end means the end end, but the books were a comfy vibe. Black people can enjoy luxury too.

Worst Read

Sometimes reading reviews of books before you read them can create a bias in your perspective and shift your expectations or how you receive the story of the book. Just because a friend likes a book, doesn’t mean that you necessarily are going to enjoy it (this is why I don’t like getting tv show recommendations from people) and when you don’t enjoy it as much as them, they may feel a way about it and that’s okay. I like stumbling across books, the way you would read a title of a book in a bookstore and it catches your eye. Then you turn to the back to read the synopsis and it peaks your interest, so you literally judge the book by it’s cover, but… buy it and then actually enjoy it. I can’t say the last time I’ve been in a bookstore but I do the same thing in my Libby library app. I scroll through genres and see what catches my eye and it’s usually these books that are a pleasant surprise.

Disappointedly, the worst book from the list was Dan Brown’s Origin. I own a hardcopy and I was honestly disappointed and it felt a bit anti-climatic. I usually (or used to) enjoy his books. They’ve been described by others as cheesy beach reads, and very formulaic but I like how very vivid they are to the locations, especially the ones featuring Robert Langdon (who will now and forever be imagined as Tom Hanks). You almost need a google images to help create the pictures from the locations unless you’re a very traveled person familiar with historical sites and art museums.

Anyway, don’t take my word on what books to read in 2021, but at least try to read more than news articles and social media posts this year. Let me know, what are y’all reading?

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