As I wrote last week, 2022 was the year I resolved to get back to all the things that made me happy before I was anyone's Mom -- reading, writing, and horseback riding.
One of my three goals, the simplest of them all, was to read 52 works of fiction by the end of the year. Reading has always been one of the ways I find it easiest to recharge my "ME" in the face of all of the "THEM" in the world, but after the kids came along, and life got super busy, sitting and reading for myself, with myself, just felt too ... luxurious? lazy? wasteful?
There was laundry to do! Playdates to organize! Doctor's visits to coordinate, school volunteering to do ...
Well, screw all that.
2022 was the year of reminding myself that Mom has to put her oxygen mask on first if she's going to keep anyone else alive, so I'm happy to report that as of today, December 28, 2022, I have managed to find/make the time to read 35 novels since January!
Here's a list of the books I liked best:
I am pleased with myself, though I didn't quite hit my target of reading 52 novels in 2022.
Ah well. 35 works of fiction read is nothing to sneeze at.
Here are the strategies I used to read more fiction this year:
I automated book delivery
I signed up for the Imaginary Friends and the Signed First Edition Clubs at Skylight Books in Los Angeles. They sent me a book each month from each club.
I also gifted myself a year's subscription to the quarterly Strand Fiction Box.
And I became a Friend of the LA Review of Books, and signed up for Audible so I could "read" on the road, too.
There were tons of benefits to automating my book-buying, the first being enormous time savings (lazy afternoons in bookstores are just not part of my life right now). The second benefit was the thrill of unboxing the books as they arrived at my house, and the third, most wonderful thing, was getting exposed to novels I might never have chosen myself.
In fact, of my favorite books of the year, I only chose one for myself -- HAMNET -- and I read it on the Libby app. (Have you seen the Libby app? It's amazing. It searches libraries and delivers books to your phone and kindle -- and it's a great way to get books sent to you for free.)
I tracked my reading on Goodreads
Do you use Goodreads? I use it mostly to keep records of what I'm reading, or what I want to read. Making a "Want To Read" list is especially useful for those miraculous moments when I do have ten minutes to run into a bookstore, or when I'm gearing up for a long road trip and want to load up Audible, or I'm traveling with my Kindle instead of a stack of novels, so I'm loading up the Libby app.
I calendared my reading time, and I always carried a book with me
I made an effort to read a physical book, on paper, for at least 30 minutes before bed each night, which helped wean me off my Instagram-before-bed addiction, and helped me sleep more deeply than I had in years. I also always carried a paperback or book of short stories in my purse, that I could dip in and out of when I was sitting in a doctor's waiting room or killing time anywhere else. Towards the end of the year, I made sure to always have a book cued up in the car, on Audible, too.
I had so much fun reading this year that I am going bake it into 2023, too.
2023 is the year that I am going SIMPLIFY, SUPERCHARGE, and RECONNECT -- and reading absolutely satisfies the goals of SUPERCHARGING and RECONNECTING.
Reading TOGETHER would SUPERCHARGE the RECONNECTING even more!
I'm excited to announce I'm launching a 2023 Book Club here on the site.
I'm still percolating over the parameters of this project -- will we do a monthly Zoom, or Instagram whatever? Or just chat about the books here? Who knows. I guess we'll feel it out as we go along.
But I really am going to try to read a book each week, so buckle in!
(And no, you are not expected to keep up with that. I set myself silly challenges sometimes.)
I do hope you will dip your toe in, though. Sign up below to receive announcements of the weekly-ish book choices, and short reviews, and other books-related things, too.