This week I am excited to participate (for the first time!) in The Sunday Post meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. The Sunday Post is for sharing news and recaps, and I’m using this installment as an opportunity to reflect on my 2016 bookish resolutions and to thank you, my fellow book-lovers, for the ways in which you have opened up my reading life. ❤
This year has marked a dramatic turning point for me re: my book obsession. Prior to 2016, I could have counted the number of times I read a “new release” on one hand. I only interacted with friends I knew from “real life” encounters on GoodReads; I didn’t read book blogs or write my reviews with any thought to how they might be read.
Until December 31-January 1, when I greeted the New Year immersed in the collection about censorship on GR after the Amazon acquisition, Off-Topic: The Story of an Internet Revolt. This revelatory book provided the spark that initially inspired me to seek out bookish friendships in the virtual world (I’d not much adapted to new ways of digital life and hadn’t been part of an online community before). I was so inspired by Off-Topic that I made it my New Year’s Resolution to immerse myself in the virtual book community. And as my friendships on GR (and more recently, on this blog) developed, my reading interests expanded in wild, unpredictable directions.
Examples: this week I read a book about the history of toxic waste in the US, a beautifully written middle-grade drama about children’s lives in the Alaskan wilderness, and a sci-fi novel about a fold in space. Right now, I’m wildly crazy about James Anderson’s debut, the Western-noir Never Open Desert Diner, in the throes of my first physics book in 10+ years (ok, it’s just pop-physics, but Penrose is next), and am also quietly enjoying a cultural history of rain.
My budding fellowships with other book-lovers also galvanized me into making new (related, bookish) resolutions. Like setting a goal to read more non-fiction, and aiming to read at least one newly-released book a month. Now, that was life-changing. I used to only read books that had been vetted; I poured over reviews, analyses, synopses… in retrospect this amounted to extreme risk-aversion that dramatically limited my reading choices. How little did I realize about all that I was missing out…
My first new-release was debut Girl through Glass by Sari Wilson, which I read in late January. I’m almost embarrassed by my review of it at the time, because it reveals my previously deeply-held… snobbery. My response to this absolutely stunning literary work of art amounted to something like “Wow, I expected this to be a Lifetime-channel worthy drama, but it was really good and I loved it so much!” I was basically shocked out of lifelong beliefs, such that contemporary literature is for the most part illiterate or pulpy (unless, of course, it’s won some prestigious award).
It’s now only a few months later, and I’m falling in love with every other new release I read, which seems to be pretty much all I ever crave anymore. I’d love to regain a balance at some point and return to catching up on the past 2000 years in world literature, but for now I’m like the kid in the candy shop for the first time.
And I’m going to allow myself to indulge for the remainder of 2016. Here’s to a Year of Bookish-Community & Discovery – of getting lost and sidetracked and surprised and enchanted and swallowed whole by books spinning way out of my usual orbits 🙂