If you’ve been following my blog since its inception a little over a year ago (I’m looking at you, Mom!), you might remember that I made some pretty ambitious reading goals for 2017. But a lot happened this past year that impacted my reading life. First, I signed with a literary agent and spent a lot of unadulterated time editing. I also committed to consistently face one of my biggest fears and joined Toast Masters, a weekly organization to help with public speaking. Next, I grew my tutoring client base significantly. And this is all not to mention that the world was undergoing a huge political and social upheaval and oftentimes my brain felt too fried to think about anything else, let alone read.
And yet, while I didn’t achieve every reading goal this past year, 2017 reaffirmed what I hold most dear about our literary friends: books are powerful tools to foster empathy, expand horizons, and of course, provide comfort and distraction. I will always, always read books. And during this past year more than most, I found solace and hope in their pages.
Now let’s take a look at my reading resolution results!
First, I set a Goodreads challenge to read 48 books and finished 44. The objective of this goal, however, is much more about consistently sitting down with a book rather than meeting a specific number, so I’ll take my 44. This was also an increase from 2016 in which I read 35, so I’m happy!
I also wanted to read more books written by or about underrepresented voices, including people of a different nationality, ethnicity, or sexual orientation and books that explore social, racial, or gender injustices. (Here’s my article outlining that resolution if you’re interested). Knowledge increases empathy, and empathy increases compassion, and as we all know, the world is a better place when we are compassionate with one another.
Of the 35 books I read in 2016, only 14 (40%) fit into one or more of these underrepresented categories. Of the 44 books I read in 2017, 22 (50%) qualified, which feels like a significant improvement. These books gave me a glimpse of what it was like living in France under the Nazi regime, they explored the lives of immigrants escaping a war-torn country, and they showed the experience of being a minority in present-day U.S. No other medium can do that and I hope to read even more books like this in the upcoming year.
Finally, and as always, I wanted to read books that I love: those that make me cry, those that make me laugh, transport and enchant, books that change the way I think. I loved many of the 44 I read this year, but I love-loved and recommended 22 on A Book to Love. And my absolute favorites were, in no particular order, The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney; Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe; and Woman. No. 17 by Edan Lepucki.
What were your reading resolutions for 2017? How’d you do?