I don’t place much stock in New Year’s resolutions, at least not as much as I do in setting yearly goals. I always get satisfaction when I cross something off my to-do list…whether it’s something small like washing the sheets or a much loftier achievement. One of the few goals I set for myself during 2016 was to read at least 50 books.
I was always a voracious reader and I’ve always been adamant about finishing the books I start (even the bad ones). However, I almost stopped reading entirely in the two years after I graduated from college. According to my Goodreads account, I read 35 books last year and a whopping 0 the year before (to be fair, I certainly read, but didn’t track it). This year I was determined to make time for one of my favorite hobbies.
With the latest trip around the sun almost complete, I’ve successfully read 14,568 pages for a total of 50 books! And, in no particular order, the top 10 books of my year:
- Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes
- Sex Object, by Jessica Valenti
- Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay
- Notorious RBG, by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
- milk and honey, by rupi kaur
- Scrappy Little Nobody, by Anna Kendrick
- Talking As Fast As I Can, by Lauren Graham
- Where Am I Now?, by Mara Wilson
- The Memory Box, by Eva Lesko Natiello
- Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
I think next year’s goal might need to remain at 50. The majority of my reading was done before I started graduate school this fall and I saved the last 8 books for December, when I was finished with classes and papers. 50 even seems like a stretch for this upcoming year, since I’ll still be a full-time student for the whole calendar year. Here’s to 2017 and 50 more…
- The Freshman Project, by Erin Fischer and Friends
- The Memory Box, by Eva Lesko Natiello
- Red Bones, by Ann Cleeves
- Stolen: Is Social Media Stealing Your Identity?, by Jessica Fralin
- Sex Object: A Memoir, by Jessica Valenti
- Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Standing in the Sun and Be Your Own Person, by Shonda Rhimes
- The Almost Moon, by Alice Sebold
- Reasons to be Pretty, by Neil LaBute
- War Child, by Emmanuel Jal
Almost doubling my goal of finishing 5 books this month, I think it’s safe to say I rocked July. This month finally brought a bit of stability to my schedule and my life; I’m finally settled in one place, am a resident of a new state, and am the proud owner of a public library card (after many, many years of not being able to)!
The nearest library is only five minutes away; it’s one of the smaller branches, but I’ve already put their online request system to good use and am eagerly waiting the arrival of seven books on my “to-read” list!
This month was about new releases, exploring my new library, and finally making sure those unread books on my shelves felt a little love. This month’s standouts were, by far, Sex Object by Jessica Valenti and Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes! I switched it up with Year of Yes and got the audiobook; listening to Shonda’s words in Shonda’s voice just took this book far above and beyond. I laughed; I cried; basically, a good time was had by all.
As for August, I’m looking forward to my library requests — particularly So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson and Hunger by Roxane Gay — and some new purchases, like Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West and, once payday hits and I can merrily skip to the nearest bookstore, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling!
- Everyday Sexism, by Laura Bates
- When Watched: Stories, by Leopoldine Core
- He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know, by Jessica Valenti
- Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things, by Jenny Lawson
- Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, by Jon Krakauer
- Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit
- The Girl’s Guide: Getting The Hang of Your Whole Complicated, Predictable, Impossibly Amazing Life, by Melissa Kirsch
And by reading seven books in one month, I’ve finally caught up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge! I’ve been collecting books at at a faster pace than I can read them and am excited to continue my goal of “read fervently” into July.
While I had to force myself to finish #3, the rest of this month’s books were excellent! #3 wasn’t a terrible read; I definitely recommend it to anyone who is starting to learn and read about feminism or misogyny. For anyone who’s already started that journey, this book may be too simple to hold your interest. (However, I love Jessica Valenti’s work–especially The Purity Myth!)
I’ve been following @EverydaySexism on Twitter for quite awhile and loved hearing the story behind its creation; I always love hearing real life experiences and Everyday Sexism gave me exactly that.
It took my awhile to get into Men Explain Things to Me, but once I pushed through a particular essay that didn’t speak to me, it was everything. I particularly loved learning about the evolution in feminist linguistics and how that ultimately impacts the movement.
- A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin
- A Paris Affair, by Tatiana de Rosnay
- An Expected Guest, by Anne Korkeakivi
- After You, by Jojo Moyes
- We Should All be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Last month was a relaxing practice in reading easy, light and fun books, like A Paris Affair, An Expected Guest, and After You (which I hated with a passion!). Of those, A Paris Affair was my favorite; it was a series of heartbreaking or amusing short stories tied together with the common theme of adultery.
I read We Should All be Feminists in twenty minutes, as I sat on the floor of a Barnes and Noble looking through the Women and Gender Studies section. Based off of this TED Talk, We Should All be Feminists definitely resparked my drive to get through my ever-growing pile of books about women, feminism and rape culture.