I read 57 books in 2021, which is surprising, given that I didn’t want to read all that much this year and went weeks at a time without cracking open a book.
I also started watching more TV this year. My TV watching has been abnormally low for the past few years—partly due to being distracted by the internet and partly due to self-consciousness and a reluctance to watch stuff by myself. I’ve always been this way: I don’t like using the TV to watch stuff no one else in the house is interested in. I love watching with other people, I’m just not comfortable using a shared TV to watch things only for me.
So this year, we set up a second TV in our back room where I can go watch by myself without worrying about it. It’s also a smart TV, so I can stream YouTube full screen and Bluetooth connect my noise cancelling headphones to it. (First world solutions for first world problems.) I spent a good amount of time catching up on some of the shows I’ve missed, which is nice.
Continue reading “2021: My Year in Reading”
Every December, librarians across the land take to Twitter to list their top 10 favorite books published that year. This year, I picked 11 because I just couldn’t whittle it down. For the complete list of my #LibFaves2021, go here:
My #LibFaves2021 at the Johnson County Library
I read 41 books this past year, which is one more than the least amount I’ve read of any year since I started tracking (2014 only had 40). Honestly, this is more than I thought it would be because… well, because 2020. This was not an easy or normal year. 22 titles were assigned to me by Booklist to review.
2020 is the first year in the past six that I didn’t track my reading in depth. I kept a list of titles but I didn’t record start or end dates, or the number of days spent on each book. I explained why I chose not to keep a detailed reading list anymore in a previous post.
Now it’s time to assess: Was this a good choice?
Continue reading “2020: My Year in Reading”
Every December, librarians across the land take to Twitter to list their top 10 favorite books published that year. For the complete list of my #LibFaves20, go here:
My #LibFaves19 at the Johnson County Library
I love this article from the Harvard Business Review! It’s another article documenting the neurological, psychological, and social benefits of reading fiction. There have been several such over the past few years.
“The Case for Reading Fiction” by Christine Seifert
Published by Harvard Business Review, March 6, 2020
I love that we’re beginning to accept reading fiction as something that’s good for us on a deeper level than just entertainment and escapism (not that entertainment and escapism aren’t valuable in-and-of themselves!) Complex fiction builds empathy, connection, social intelligence, and theory of mind. It boosts creativity, both for new ideas and for problem solving. It improves our ability to grapple more productively with the complexity of the world we live in.
I love that businesses are beginning to realize the value of having employees who are educated beyond the requirements of job training.
And it’s not just reading fiction which presents these benefits: it can come from powerful storytelling in any format. Oral stories, theater, movies and television, music, visual arts. All of it, so long as it’s complex and nuanced. Stories are how we know who we are, how we’re both the same and different from one another, and how we relate to our world.
But this article also frustrates me. This is where I turn into a curmudgeon and tell you all:
I told you so!
Continue reading “The Case for Reading Fiction”
All of the data that follows was collected by me throughout the year using a combination of Google Sheets and Google Calendar. This year, I analyzed my reading using both the start and finished dates for each title: for example, I totaled how many books I started reading each month and also how many I finished each month. I calculated separate averages for both and found the overall totals work out the same either way. Average days to read titles are based on the number of days actually spent reading each title, and not necessarily the full span from starting date to finished date.
A complete list of all the books I read in 2019 is at the bottom of this post.
For a list of my favorite books I read this year, go here >
I participated in #LibFaves19 on Twitter. See my selections here >
I didn’t create a “Least Favorites” list this year. I started to but then realized I enjoyed even my least favorite books too much to justify such a list. It was a good year for reading!
Continue reading “2019: My Year in Reading”
I posted a list of my favorite books I read in 2019 on my library’s catalog:
My Favorite Books of 2019
Today was Day 10 of #LibFaves19 on Twitter. Every December, librarians across the land take to Twitter to list their top 10 favorite books published that year. For the complete list of my Top 10 #LibFaves19, go here:
My #LibFaves19 at the Johnson County Library
Starting Monday, December 9, I’ll be posting my top 10 books from 2019 on Twitter under the hashtag #LibFaves19. In preparation for this, I’ve begun creating my overall favorites and least favorites lists for the year, and prepping for my annual Year in Reading post.
This has me thinking more about my recent post on reader burnout. And I’ve made a decision:
This will be the last year I do a Year in Reading post for a while. I won’t track my reading in 2020.
This will be the sixth year I’ve tracked it and it’s not working for me. I think it does more harm than good. My hope is taking that obligation off my plate will relieve much of the stress I feel around my reading life. Which means I won’t be able to do a comprehensive Year in Reading report next year.
I’ll still participate in #LibFaves and I’ll continue to post lists of my favorites and least favorites of the year. But no more tracking or reporting. I just want to let my reading be what it is without worrying about it.
I want to talk about reader burnout. I think this is something a lot of readers deal with but I find that being a librarian makes it worse.
I’m a voracious reader. I always have been. It’s a core pillar of my self-identity.
But there are times when I just don’t want to read, sometimes for few days and sometimes for couple weeks or more. I feel guilty about this. Readers read, right? Reading is a good thing and we should all do more of it, right?
I didn’t used to feel this way. I used to read as much as I wanted, when I wanted. And that was that. It was all good.
Some of this sense of guilt started when I became a librarian. As a librarian, I feel a professional obligation to read as widely as I can. It’s part of my job to understand the reading landscape so I can help guide patrons through it.
A lot of this pressure to read more started when I began tracking my annual reading a few years ago. Tracking reading is something a lot of librarians do. I hadn’t ever thought to do it until I saw how popular it is on library Twitter and the librarian blogosphere. For many people, it’s a useful thing.
For me, it turned reading into a focus on quantity rather than quality. Continue reading “Reader Burnout”