Origin story: the why, the what, and the wherefore

I’m in a controlled skid, and I’m working on pulling up. Mixed metaphors are certainly not the worst of what’s on offer here. My reading this year has been a little frantic– three months down, and I’m at 63 books done since January, or approximately 21 books a month. A few things have gone into this: I decided to start posting completed books with a few words of description on Instagram, and the little thrill of “oooh finished another book!” went to my head; being a voracious (mom’s word) reader has long been a part, and kind of a big part, of my self-identity; finishing a book has been a brag-worthy happy-dance accomplishment since about 3rd grade when winning the summer reading competition was the absolute highlight of my life; and genre-world (where I’ve been lately) is comforting in its predictability. And I set my reading goal for the year higher than usual this year– at 150 instead of 100– and so I had to level up.

But on the flippity-flop side of that: I’m reading so much and so fast that I’m not really tasting my food. I’m finishing a book and starting the next without moving, thinking, or really coming up for air. It feels a little frantic, a little manic, a little hiding from the world, not luxuriating in this creation. And in this binge, this bender, other things are getting shelved– my diss is overdue, I have good article ideas that need to just be written, there’s a novel that I want to write.

So I’m going to try to slow down and chew my food, so to speak, this month. My goal is to drop the 20 books a month to 10, to set some intentions around my reading, and to write /review/at least debrief each book that I’ve read.

April reading plans:

  • The Late Scholar, Jill Paton Walsh
    • the last of the Wimsey/Vane novels, and the end of my most recent binge
  • My Name is Red, Orhan Pamuk
    • I’m *trying* an online bookclub again, and this is the book. I’m interested, I want to change up some of my reading habits, so we’ll see!
  • You Had Me at Hola, Alexis Daria
    • This is part of my clearing the decks goal: I’m “currently reading” 7 books on Goodreads, the first 30% of this was super fun, but got swept under the Georgette Heyer/Dorothy Sayers carpet.
  • Ariadne, Jennifer Saint
    • Also clearing the decks: started it in January, didn’t grab me, but probably because it is a physical book, and I’ve been just walking around with my Kindle lately. Giving it another shot.
  • Evelina, Frances Burney
    • Same. Started it in January, I’ve read it before but wanted to revisit, I was enjoying it, but it didn’t fit in my early 20th c detective sprint so it got shelved.

I’m also about halfway through with Vesper Flights, Helen Macdonald; Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard; The Gang: The Gang: Coleridge, the Hutchinsons, and the Wordsworths in 1802, John Worthen; and Little Weirds, Jenny Slate.

As I write this out, I’m wondering if 10 books is at all possible, especially since I’m around halfway done with several of these. But we’ll see. A bigger goal is to think and write about everything that I’m reading, so I’m not going to get too wrapped up in staying below a certain number.


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