I rarely miss a deadline. It’s my job as an editor to meet deadlines every single week! I am reliable!
Last year, I set a goal to read 50 books in 2018. I did a brief update in July on my progress, and at that time I was definitely behind since I was supposed to be reading about 4-5 books a month to stay on track, but I’d only reached #22 (https://alyssagoesadulting.com/2018/07/30/50-books-in-2018-part-1/).
However, as the year wore on, I really picked up the pace. I was averaging 1-2 books a week, constantly visiting the library. By the week of Christmas, I had up to book #45 in my possession, and I sought out recommendations for short stories to try to cram in 5 more.
Life happened, though. Luke and I went out of town last weekend, I had New Year’s Eve plans, and Jan. 1 came before I could crack open another book.
So… I set a goal of 50, and I made it to 45. OK!
At first, I was disappointed. Again, I rarely miss a deadline, but mid-year I definitely slacked in my reading speed, and one particular book took me weeks because I wasn’t loving it. But I belong to this group on Facebook where people make book recommendations, and on New Year’s Eve, everyone was sharing their reading goals from 2018. It went something like this:
Person 1: I set a goal of 50 for the year, and I read 52!
Person 2: I set a goal of 60 for the year, and I read 70!
Person 3: I set a goal of 100 for the year and read 300!
I swear, it was something like that. Something CRAZY where that person must just read books in between meals and sleeping or maybe listens to books on tape while sleeping? I have no idea. Good for you.
These people also were breaking down their favorite books, breaking out how many were by women, women of color, etc.
Yeah… I’m not going to do that. In part 1 of this post, I talked a bit about some highlights and I’ll do that again here, but there will be no “demographics,” so to speak. Nah.
But first, a little confession from my school daze, just for fun.
Do you remember those mailers we got in school with books that you could order, and you’d take them home to your parents and convince them to order you a bunch of books?
We had a bit of a battle in my house growing up. I’ve always loved to read books. Always. At some point in my youth, I became drawn to young adult (YA) fiction. You know, like you do. My parents were not having it, though.
My dad would spot a Sweet Valley Kids/Twins/High book in the bathroom.
“What is this TRASH?!”
I started reading Goosebumps when those become popular.
Mom: “You need to fill your head with more quality reading material!”
It got to the point where I felt I had to hide a lot of my reading material from them. I mean, how ridiculous is that?! I wasn’t reading Playboy, for goodness sake! We weren’t an overtly religious household. We didn’t have a library wing stacked with the classics. I don’t know why this was the hill they chose to die on in my youth, but… they sure did.
So back to the mailer. After a few attempts to order the books I wanted to read, and my mom saying no, I started implementing a pretty brilliant strategy. I’d read the synopses for the books to order, choose 4-5 of the ones that sounded dreadfully boring, and then tack on one I actually wanted to read. I’d present the list to my mom with a pitch along the lines of, “Yes, I want to read all these great, historical educational books, but like, let’s throw in that one Goosebumps book JUST FOR FUN?”
Her: “OK, dear, sounds good.”
It was such a waste. I don’t know how many books we ordered that I never even cracked open. It’s not like they quizzed me or anything! I wonder how many are still at our house that I might actually like to read now? Ridiculous!
So, yeah, that was something.
As an adult, I think I mix it up pretty well. I LOVE crime/murder mysteries and suspenseful reads, but I’ve also read some really great memoirs this year and other thought-provoking novels. Maybe I’ll talk to my parents about this when I go home in a few weeks so they can see that Sweet Valley didn’t ruin me for good.
So, some of my favs from 2018, not mentioned in my previous post:
This book was creepy in the way that the Handmaid’s Tale is creepy. It’s another world where women are less than, and in this one, women are only allotted 100 words a day or they receive an electric shock. Sinister.
My friend Katie lent this to me when she visited in October, and it was extremely thought-provoking if you’ve ever struggled with your weight.
3. A Spark of Light
Jodi Picoult does it again. Author of “Small, Great Things,” another fav from 2018 (and it’s being made into a movie!), in this one she tackles the abortion debate, but with a unique literary style and from several different viewpoints.
4. This Will Only Hurt a Little
Busy Phillips memoir. OMG. So honest!
I feel like I’m jumping on the bandwagon with these next 2, but like literally everyone else, I thought “An American Marriage” and “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” were both pretty exceptional.
I did NOT go crazy over Bird Box, though. The book or the film. And I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it!
I really enjoyed this goal, so I’m doing it again in 2019! I’m setting it at 50 again, so we’ll see if I make the deadline or if I get to be one of those people that’s like, “I set it at 50, I made it to 100! NO BIG DEAL!”
Happy New Year!