My 2019 Reading Year
In 2018 I read 57 books and so my plan to read a Century of Books in one year was quite ambitious. I ended up reading 80 books in 2019, and not all of them even counted for my Century (one book published each year from 1920-2019). Am I looking at this as a failure? Heck no! Here's what I learned:
-Reading shorter books does not take less time. This was one way I thought I could make the jump from 57 books to something close to 100. It is most definitely not true, the obvious example being Hemingway. It just takes a while to digest his complex sentences and who would want to rush that? His words are sparse but each line holds so much. On the other hand, some of my fastest reads were also my longest.
-Southern Gothic might be just a bit too much for me. I live in the South, I went to school in the South, darn it I should have intimate knowledge of all the great Southern writers. This was one of the mini goals within my challenge: read at least one book by every great Southern writer. I fell in love with Flannery O'Connor with the title short story from A Good Man is Hard to Find, the irony and dry humor was so strong I was able to look past the grotesque. However, I had to draw the line at I Cormac McCarthy's Child of God. I plowed through it, trying to focus on the admirable writing, but the story of a crazed, necrophiliac killer was pretty unnerving.
-Diversity in reading is awesome! I made it a point to not end up reading a century of books by people that live and look like me, and my books by underrepresented authors were some of my favorites. I re-read Their Eyes Were Watching God (from my UNC literature class) and expanded my reading of Toni Morrison with Song of Solomon; those were as great as expected. Two delightful surprises were The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian and The House on Mango Street. I'm definitely going to continue this trend in 2020.
-For the love of books (and your future self), write down what you thought about it! Oh, how I wish I was better about keeping up with my book journal. Looking back at some of the books I read even earlier in 2019, I can't remember exactly why I loved it. That's why my biggest goal for 2020 is to write down some notes about every title I read. I wished I had this habit throughout my life, but there's no time like the present!
I'd love to hear from you: How was 2019 in books for you? Any lessons learned you would care to share?
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