At the beginning of 2019, I started a Goodreads challenge to read a book for every month of the year. Thanks to my local library’s rentable e-books, I just found myself completing that challenge – which is crazy because last year I read half as many books. (All 12 books will be listed at the very end if you’re interested.)
I, like many others I’m sure, used to read constantly, but with an increase in reading for school, a busier extracurricular schedule, and the introduction of YouTube and Netflix, my reading time was down to next to nothing for a while there. I also felt pressure to only read books that were popular or cool, or to only read Classics, or to listen to audiobooks and podcasts.
But this year I found time to read and started to make the tiniest of tiny dents in the list of books I’ve been meaning to read when I get the chance. Some books took months to finally find the time to finish; other books were completed in a day. Some books had been on my list for years; other books were read immediately after my Goodreads account recommended them.
Many of them were not physical copies – instead, read on my phone in between appointments or on the metro to work. As a serious binge reader, this new approach to reading changed what stories I could follow and what books I had to set aside for reading on that vacation I might never take. I also gave myself permission to not finish a book if it wasn’t fulfilling my curiousity or if I just didn’t like the style.
Though my to-read pile is still rather large and LSAT prep could probably have taken some of those minutes spent reading, I’m really pleased with how much time I spent this year with my nose in a book (/on a phone).
And as I start to work on another set of books that might be read or might be delayed, I realized that every book I read this year was written by a woman.
There’s something powerful in visiting stories that don’t simplify the female characters to love interests or swift side mentions. Many of the stories I read had female main characters, but not all did. They explored dynamics from sisterhood to friendship and delved into mysteries and murder and high school drama. In each story, I could connect to characters who had stories to tell and whose stories were being told.
I don’t feel like I missed out on any superbly amazing reads this year because of my chosen list and if anything it’s expanded the number of authors I want to spend more time exploring. There’s definitely room in my pile for more stories by writers who are people of color or who aren’t American-born English speakers.
But that’s a challenge for next year. (The year isn’t over yet… maybe I’ll get another book or two complete before December 31…)
Who did you read this year? Or better yet, who are you excited to read next year?
Lily’s List of Books: (** designates my favorites of the year)
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
- The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
- The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
- Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
- My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite **
- Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston **
- Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush
- The Mirror Crack’d by Agatha Christie
- The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
- P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
- Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia