Let’s talk BOOKS! Every time I see this quote, I get even more excited about reading good books:
I just set my annual reading goal on Goodreads and I’m excited in advance for all the books I get to read this year!
I really wasn’t much of a reader until I turned 25. In college and grad school, I just told myself that I didn’t have time to read because I was always reading textbooks and studying for exams. But once I finished grad school, I decided that it was time to stop making excuses; if reading was something that was actually important to me, I would find time to read more books.
– In 2016 I decided that I’m going to be A Person Who Reads Books, so I set my Goodreads goal at 100 books and I reached that goal. That was before I had kids. #duh.
– From 2017-2020 I read somewhere around 60 books/year. Lots of these were audiobooks! I love listening to books while I’m road tripping, grocery shopping, going on stroller walks with Milo, or just driving around town. 60 books a year was a pretty realistic goal until 2020 happened..
– Last year I finished 47 books. I didn’t get to my goal of 60, but I’m proud of myself for finding time to treat myself to 47 indulgent, fun, life-changing books amidst a year of a newborn, moving houses, renovating, and 7 surgeries for Nate. It was a hectic year, but reading has always been my solace.
– This year I decided that 52 books is a reasonable goal for me.
Why is reading so important?
Mostly because it’s fun for me. Fiction is a form of magic (I adore this podcast episode about the magic of fiction – what else can transport us to other eras, worlds, or take us inside someone else’s mind?) Reading fiction is one of the most fun things I can do with my mind. It’s fascinating that black ink on a paper page can make my heart race or tears form in my eyes. Books can make time speed up or slow down, and they can make me feel as if I’m literally living in a different time than 2021.
Nonfiction is important because it gives me access to centuries of wisdom. With enough patience and time, I can discover anything I want to know by reading a book. With the knowledge I gain from books, I can transform my health, start a new career, love my family differently, start new hobbies, shift my entire paradigm. Nonfiction is endless.
How can I read more books this year?
I overcomplicated it for years, but it’s really so simple: just find books that you want to read. I overcomplicated it for too many years. I told myself that I had to start by reading all of the classic fiction I had missed in high school, or I should work through a “100 books to read before you die” list.
Turns out, those weren’t “me” and the way that I fell back in love with reading in 2016 was by reading lots and lots of beach reads. Emily Giffin, Liane Moriarty, Elin Hilderbrand, and the like. From there, I branched out and fell back in love with historical fiction. And then I went through a phase where I read lots of thrillers, and then I went head-over-heals for self help books (which started getting really woo-woo and I got super into Law of Attraction and manifesting and meditation.)
But the important thing is that whenever I find that I’m falling out of love with reading and I want to find joy in it again, I choose a book that sounds fun.
A few of my favorite books from 2020
I didn’t share an end of the year book review in 2020 like I did in 2019, but I did read lots of great books in 2020! Here are a few memorable ones:
Eat a Peach by David Chang // if you love the foodie/restaurant world, this memoir is a must. David Chang is one of the biggest voices in the food industry today, and he talks about building his Momofuku empire, growing up as a Korean American, and lot of deeply intimate and heart-wrenching details about what it’s like to live with his bipolar diagnosis.
The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Daré // I put this one off for far too long, and it ended up being one of the best books I read all year. It takes place in modern-day Nigeria about a girl who grows up in a rural village, but is determined to get an education and find her “louding voice” and break the cycle of poverty and abuse. It’s really powerful and stuck with me long after I finished the final page.
Open Book by Jessica Simpson // I silently judged anyone who called this book “amazing!!” until I picked it up and read it for myself…and you guys, it is fantastic! I didn’t know a lot about Jessica Simpson’s early life, career, marriage, and public persona, but she dives deep and literally shares all the details. It made me like her a lot, and it also reminded me that every celebrity has a public image that’s probably different than who they are on the inside.
Oona Out Of Order by Margarita Montimore // If you want a fiction book that’s just fun, try this one! It’s about a woman who wakes up on Jan 1 in a different year of her life…she’s literally living her life out of order. So internally she’s aging normally, but on the outside she’s 21, then 74, then 48… It’s a really fun, catchy, quick read.
Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo // my favorite self help book of 2020. I bought a hardcover copy to keep on my shelf because I enjoy referencing certain chapters. It’s a very empowering truth: if there’s something we want to figure out, there is 100% a way to do that. And it will be hard and frustrating and there’s probably going to be some backtracking, but if it’s important to you, it’s figureouatable.
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins // So when Stephen King wrote a review that said “I defy anyone to read the first 7 pages of this book and not finish it,” uh TRUE! It’s gripping. This is the fictional story of a mother and son who are forced to flee from Mexican drug cartel and their lives in Acapulco, riding on the tops of trains all the way to the United States in order to save their lives. It’s unputdownable, a sticky book that makes you think about it for a long time. I was only 1/4 of the way through when I told my sister she HAD to read it.
Looking forward, I’m planning to read lots of fiction this year! I took a break from reading in fall 2020 while we were moving houses and life was crazy, and I was reminded that I don’t feel like myself unless I’m giving myself time and space to indulge in books every now and then. It’s my selfish time that I will unapologetically claim in the year 2021.
Cheers to a fantastic year of reading. friends!