I have mentioned before that I hate reading books because reading books is for dopes and staying up until 11:35 p.m. reading your Twitter feed is the way to go. But then, after a steady decline over the last decade, I realized that I read maybe four books in 2013 and felt sad. I was previously the type of person who always had my face in a book. I hid novels during English class in high school in the books we were reading for class. I remember road trips as a kid by what books I was reading that kept me from wanting to get out of the minivan to do things. I was so well read by the time I went to college, and then PFFFTT (deflating balloon sound), here I am at four books.
2014 is the year I bring it back. I have challenged myself to read a book a month. And so far I have. I have had a couple of softballs, and was already reading the book I finished in January, but it feels good to be in that habit and I have read some good stuff this year.
January: House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. Age of Innocence is one of the books I read last year and loved it. HOM was pretty great, too. I haven’t read much from that time period (when they’re set and when she wrote them). Wharton is funny (I guess “a wit” is more appropriate) and the stories were sad and fascinating and seemed scandalously honest about things. AOI didn’t end how I thought it would, which I appreciated.
February: Also Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume and New School by Dash Shaw. Blume’s book probably shouldn’t count, but it does here this year. I didn’t realize it until I reread it how much of a cultural touchstone that one is with me. I, like all girls, cite Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? as the book from my youth, but I like this one more. New School is a year-book sized graphic novel (though novel is stretching it since it’s more pictures than words). I really liked it. It took a few nights to get through but I could see reading it again.
March: Heartburn by Nora Ephron. I took out The Most of Nora Ephron from the library and read a lot of essays and even the screenplay to When Harry Met Sally. Heartburn is like a less-intellectual Fear of Flying (which I also reread last year) and was very light and fun (plus heavy marriage stuff, but still light and fun). I’m glad I finally read her work. I also watched Silkwood since Ephron wrote the screenplay, and liked that a lot. I’m late to the Ephron party, but I’m here. She’s not, though. R.I.P.
April: Running In the Family by Michael Ondaatje. Richard picked this up for me because it’s nonfiction and touches on post-Colonialism, two things that I like in books. This is a memoir packed with poetry and assumed memories about life in Sri Lanka. Quick and interesting. Good job, associate.
May: Freakonomics by Stephen J. Dubner and Stephen Levitt. The Freakonomics podcast is one of my favorites, and I finally got to the book. A lot of the chapters have already been touched on the podcast, but still held my interest. I think about the parenting and the crime rate chapters a lot.
June: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I can’t read this fast enough. READING IS AMAZING.
Even if I don’t meet the goal (which there is no reason why I shouldn’t) I’ve still read more books than I did the last couple of years. I’ve even been reading instead of burning through the latest season of Mad Men up on Netflix. That is an amazing show of self control.