Features, Musings

2019 Reflections: What Reading Taught Me This Year

This has been an unusual reading year for me.

It’s been a weird year, period.

I finally finished library school in August, and although my program was only two years, working full-time made it feel more like ten years. Then my husband and I moved across the country for my dream job, and while I won’t miss 400+ inches of snow each winter (not an exaggeration), starting your life over in a new place is exhausting.

It’s also not ideal for those who want to blog!

There’s no doubt: The last few years have been tough. (Read this post from 2017 if you want a walk down misery memory lane.) I’m tired. I’ve experienced some heartbreaks and serious lows. But for the first time in several years, I’m entering the new year on a hopeful note.

While this blog exists largely as an outlet for my book thoughts (and hopefully to benefit someone out there besides my mom—hi mom!), I haven’t been able to write as much as I’ve wanted to with graduate school, shoveling snow, and other life circumstances the past two years. I’m ready to write again.

While I love Advent, one of my favorite parts of December is reflecting on the past year and thinking about my goals, hopes, and plans for the year to come. And In 2019, my reading has helped guide my resolution-making for the new year.

What I learned & resolutions for 2020

This year, I’ve read more books than ever before (70 books!!). I’m proud of that accomplishment, and it’s been fun crushing my Goodreads challenge. But in my rush to read as much as possible, I wonder if I’ve missed some opportunities to stop and reflect. It’s so tempting to scratch another book off my list and immediately dive into a new one.

1. For the first time in several years, I’ve decided to try not doing a Goodreads reading challenge.

It feels a little rebellious. It feels a bit like slacking. But this year I want to focus on the quality of what I’m reading rather than the quantity (I know it’s a bit cliche, but it feels revolutionary).

I’ve also learned some important lessons from my reading this year. Cal Newport’s book Digital Minimalism made me pause and take stock of my digital consumption, hobbies, and reading habits. He reminded me that instead of immediately firing up an audiobook, I need to be intentional about embracing solitude as a personal discipline.

2. In 2020, I’m following Newport’s advice and honing some high-quality leisure activities to fill my time. I want to learn how to sew and learn how to bake bread. I also want to incorporate more walks into my routine.

I believe books have the power to transform lives, spark empathy, and reveal truth. This year, I experienced that power as I read several books about the pervasiveness of racism, and how it infects and influences our behavior, attitudes, and actions every day. I’ve read some truly disturbing and heartbreaking books this year, and I’m hoping to write a post on the topic soon. To be honest, I’m nervous about writing on such an important topic. I want to do my best, and yet I still have so much growing to do in my knowledge and understanding in this area.

3. That’s why this year, I’m committing to reading one book on anti-racism each month, and to doing the difficult work of examining myself, unlearning racist thoughts and habits, and acting on that knowledge.

2019 Reflections

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

If you’ve been going through a tough time at work, at home, in school, or wherever you are, my heart goes out to you. It’s hard to go about your daily existence with the weight of stress and disappointment on your shoulders. But take heart. A new year is beginning, and a new day is dawning.

I feel as though I’m emerging from a great darkness, but light has finally come. It’s been a hard few years, and I’m thankful for the books that have helped me stay sane along the way.

I can’t wait to see what books I’ll read in 2020.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts of my favorite reads of 2019!

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