From everything I’ve read lately, I’ve learned that you’re either one of those people who sets goals or resolutions when a new year rolls in, or you aren’t. I am the former (whereas I used to be the latter). Lately I’ve been setting intentions rather than resolutions — they serve me well and allow me to interpret them differently as the year progresses and as my progress warrants. I realised this morning that one area where I haven’t set an intention in a number of years is reading. I read consistently so it’s probably a simple case of I know I’m going to read books this year and that’s enough.
That said, I do track what I read on Goodreads and, inevitably, I re-up on their annual reading challenge, committing to 52 books for the year. Still, I don’t consider that an actual intention because I don’t pay any attention to how close I’m getting to hitting my target. And maybe it’s just me but their interface doesn’t seem to do a lot to encourage you towards meeting your goal as the year progresses? Regardless, as I said, I always assume that I will read books this year, just like I know I’m going to, I don’t know, take showers, so there seems as little point in paying attention to how much I’m reading as there is in paying attention to how many showers I’ve taken. So I don’t. Which is why I found myself particularly surprised when I looked at my 2018 shelf on Goodreads on December 30th only to realise that, hey, 52 is exactly the number of books I read in 2018. Cool.
There’s quite a bit of research-related stuff on the list (I was on research leave for the first 5 months of 2018) and aaallll sorts of books about drawing and painting (pretty much all of which I would recommend, particularly Felix Scheinberger’s stuff). So in terms of fiction and general non-fiction, here’s what I’d recommend from my reading year (listed in the order in which I read them):
- Drawn In: A Peek into the Inspiring Sketchbooks of 44 Fine Artists, Illustrators, Graphic Designers, and Cartoonists, by Julia Rothman
- The Mother of All Questions, by Rebecca Solnit
- The Customer is Always Wrong, by Mimi Pond
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown
- The Best We Could Do, by Thi Bui
- Educated, by Tara Westover
- Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say, by Kelly Corrigan
- You & a Bike & a Road, by Eleanor Davis
- Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, by Elizabeth L. Cline
- All the Sad Songs, by Summer Pierre
- The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer
- An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
- Heart Berries: A Memoir, by Terese Marie Mailhot
- Becoming, by Michelle Obama
- The Music Shop, by Rachel Joyce
- The Break, by Katherena Vermette
- The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, by David Sax
- Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, by Safiya Noble
- Calypso, by David Sedaris
Read well, friends.