Happy new year! I wanted to pop in here to review my 2018 year in books and talk about what I’ve been up to lately.
I read 38 books this year, which is not a lot, but I spent most of the year not feeling like reading. In the last month or so, I’ve been reading constantly. This is because I read Goodbye, Vitamin and I remembered why I love fiction. The main lesson I learned in 2018 is that sometimes we need to take a break in order to take off running.
Here are my top 10 books I read in 2018:
1. Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
2. Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides
3. Florida by Lauren Groff
4. Sweet & Low by Nick White
5. Lit by Mary Karr
6. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
7. Educated by Tara Westover
8. I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street by Matt Taibbi
9. What if This Were Enough? by Heather Havrilesky
10. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
My reading goal for 2019 is to read 30 books. Secretly, I want to read much more, but I am learning the power of secret goals. Secret goals are when you tell no one about what you plan to do until you’ve already done it. It’s a good way to confuse and amaze people, and best of all you avoid unsolicited advice.
IRL goals: I’d like stay off social media, except Goodreads and Litsy and this blog and I don’t know, LinkedIn, for at least 3 months. I’ll check in during March to see how I feel about continuing it all year long. I was inspired by John Green, but I didn’t want to promise a year. I’d also like to run another marathon. I plan to graduate with my master’s degree in library and information science and then we’ll see where the future takes me. I am only a little bit very anxious.
What I’ve been doing lately: I recently started volunteering with CRAFT literary, an online magazine, as a reader. Reading other people’s unpublished fiction has been so valuable for me. I’m realizing how important that first paragraph is, and how often people over-explain in their fiction. I’m realizing how often I do the same thing.
I am slowly working my way through a book called DIY MFA by Gabriella Pereira, which is inspiring me to create my own writing education, and I’ve also realized the importance of workshops. Currently, I’m enrolled in Fiction I online with Gotham Writers, which has been such a delight. I just finished a draft of a new story, the first one in a long while that feels complete. This spring, I will be giving Grubstreet‘s online classes another whirl with a novel intensive (because I have some secret goals). Having homework and deadlines has been helpful. I feel focused and evolving as a writer for the first time in a while.
But, also, I’ve been busy, and I hate being busy but I’m not sure how to do all the things I want to do without being busy. The other day I took a nap that transported me to heaven and then brought me back to life. Resting, too, has become another homework assignment.
Along with being less interested in reading this year, I lost my appetite for talking about books, but it’s coming back to me. Writing more has gotten me reading more and vice versa. It’s like a pendulum, swaying back and forth. Maybe this year I will update this blog regularly. (Only time will tell.)