Hello my fellow book friends!
2018 was quite the year of reading for me. I don’t know about you, but I read some of the best books of my life this past year. From new books published by my favorite authors like Jodi Picoult and Kristin Hannah to discovering new authors whom I’ve fallen in love with, like Rebecca Makkai and Rea Frey, I am entering 2019 feeling so accomplished, fufilled, and inspired for this new year of reading.
If you follow me on Goodreads (you definitely should!), you’ll know I surpassed my 2018 reading goal of 30 books and rounded out the year with 56. While some book lovers I follow on social media have read upwards of 100+ books last year making my 56 seem puny, I am proud of my list! And I am proud of this blog; an idea that flourished in my mind, became a reality in April of 2018 and has provided a creative outlet since conception where I can share my love of books with others.
A new year brings forth the opportunity to reflect on the past year and set goals and intentions for what lay ahead. Like so many others, I am a little giddy to sit down with my new 2019 planner and a fresh notebook to map out my year – is there anything better than personalizing and decorating a new planner?! It’s like a fresh start, a do-over for some. However, when it comes to my reading life (and really, my personal life) I don’t want to forget about the past year; I want to use what I’ve learned and read to fuel my motivation for the new year.
I am deeming 2018 the year that I officially re-fell in love with books all over again. I have always been a reader; I was raised by a teacher who prioritized reading so it is all I’ve ever known! However, as many of you may know, my mother (that teacher who taught me to love books) was diagnosed with cancer at the end of 2016 and passed away in 2017. As one can imagine, I was at my lowest point. With tragedy comes learning experiences and since then my perspective on life has changed immensely. It’s like I am a refreshed clone of myself with a new set of eyes to view the world. I truly believe this experience has helped me to read books in an entirely new and insightful way; I think and feel deeper, I relate easier, I analyze and understand better, and I appreciate the stories more.
While I don’t mean to derail from my intention with this post, it’s important to understand why I love books as much as I do. During long nights and early mornings where I dreaded my new reality without my mom, books provided a safe space I could get lost in. They provided a new world, a new life to temporarily escape to while forgetting the harshness of the real world. Because of this, I have learned to LOVE my books. I mean, really love them. They are an extension of who I am, who I want to be as a reader and writer. They are a tribute to my mom for without her, I would not have found my gateway to another realm.
As Anne Bogel stated in her book “I’d Rather Be Reading”, I adore my life – I do – but my books allow me to live a thousand different lives, while still getting to come home each day to my sweet and tender rescued greyhounds and my loving and supportive fiance. I get the best of both worlds.
In 2018, I have traveled to Alaska in The Great Alone, lived through the Chicago AIDS epidemic in The Great Believers, transformed into Lily the Dachshund in Lily and the Octopus, and suffered racial injustices in The Hate U Give. I have been forbidden to contribute to mainstream society in Educated, attended a nutty family vacation in The Vacationers, and taken one last stroll through New York City in Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk. I witnessed the decline of ALS in Every Note Played, kidnapped a neglected young girl in Not Her Daughter, survived a school shooting in Only Child, and learned about Lyme disease in Sick. I have lived a thousand different lives and have come out a better person because of it.
When someone asks me if I read to become a better writer, the answer is yes. I learn a great deal about writing styles from the books I read. But the better answer is this: I read because I become a better human. I am more knowledgeable on various subjects, more supportive of my community and its reading scene, and more empathetic for the alternative lives and worlds that others face in real life. Reading is who I am, forever and always.
Thank you for joining me in this blogging journey. I am looking forward to sharing more incredible reads with you in 2019!
Happy Reading! XO