It has been another stellar year of reading. I love looking back at what I have read and analyzing the various books and the tangents that I went on for the year.
I overshot my goal of 100 by just a little — I managed to read 170. I was all prepared to be really impressed with myself but when I took a closer look it just means that I read shorter books than last year. For example, the shortest book I read was a book that my daughter brought back to me from her visit to Atlantis Books in Greece called “Unpacking My Library” by Walter Benjamin. It was a slight 23 pages long. And the longest book I read was “Mencken: The American Iconoclast” by Marion Elizabeth Rogers at 662 pages, which is still about 300-400 pages shorter than my longest books for previous years.
Our library took part in Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge for 2018 and so, of course, I couldn’t resist. I even took the challenge a step farther in reading only books by women in the hopes that I might get a little closer reading at least half of my total books for the year by women. How did I do with that goal? I read 110 books by women!!! That is my first time ever breaking (or really even getting near to) this goal of reading 50% by women authors. And how has that affected me overall? I have to admit that I have much less patience for old white men now. I hope to keep this trend of reading more women up in the coming year and I’m already planning out my Read Harder Challenge for 2019.
I still managed to read broadly through time with many books from before I was born such as “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf, and “Excellent Women” by Barbara Pym. But a large portion (58) of the books I read were published this year. There were only a handful of books that I felt compelled to actually own including, “Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too” by Jomny Sun, “Educated” by Tara Westover, “In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills” by Jennifer Haupt, “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald” by Therese Anne Fowler, and “Dear Fahrenheit 451” by Annie Spence.
Looking over the topics in my reading list, it’s obvious that I have continued to be worried about politics and the state of the country, as well as racial issues. I have tried to understand the present by learning more about the past with books like “Leadership in Turbulent Times” by Doris Kearns Goodwin and “Impeachment: An American History” by Jeffrey A. Engel. I have also tried to figure out my part of the racial imbalance in our country with books like “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo and “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide” by Carol Anderson. And then I have tried to figure out what’s next and what can be done with books like “How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals” by Sy Montgomery, “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think” by Hans Rosling and “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels” by Jon Meacham.
I have made a list of my FAVORITE books read for the year if you would like to take a peek. I don’t know where next year’s reading will take me but I know it will take me through a lot of excellent books, and I’m excited to go there! You can join me at the library for the 2019 Read Harder Challenge and we can journey together.