I’m taking a break from hiking posts to share with you a 2017 new years resolution that I’ve been doing my best to follow through with: reading.
I set my reading goals for 2017 pretty high. I typically read like.. 2 books a year and set my goal at 2 books a MONTH! My pitiful two books a year is not because I don’t love reading, but because I never made time for reading. I realized that my standard “well I just need read a little every night before bed” is not a solution for me. If I’m tired and ready for bed and then I decide to focus on a story, either the story is boring and it lulls me to sleep immediately (Aka I retain nothing on the page that Im reading), OR the book is fantastic and I get sucked in. Like completely sucked in, to the point that I can’t go to sleep until I’ve finished the book (at 3am on a weeknight) and even then my adrenaline is too pumping to sleep. By doing this “read before bed” plan, I was setting myself up to fail and only read 2 books a year.
Once I made my 2017 resolution of reading 2 books a month, I was forced to take a look at these habits and figure out what wasn’t working, and then come up with a plan that works. For example, I now don’t start reading any books after 9:30pm, because if the book is good (which it should be) then I’ll be up all night. I find that the first part of books tend to be slower paced (introducing characters etc) so if I’m starting a new book it’s best done at 6pm when caffeine is still in my system and I’m more apt to absorb what I’m reading to get past the first few chapters until I get sucked into it.
Another thing I’ve discovered is AUDIOBOOKS. How am I just realizing this is a thing? Up until this past year I’d only ever listened to Tina Fey’s Bossypants as an audiobook on a road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. I really just got that because I loved getting to hear Tina Fey read it to me, and I needed something to make the long drive go by faster.
Well, after getting my New Haven library card (another 2017 resolution) I’ve started going once a month to borrow a selection of audiobooks and I fly through them! I thought I would have trouble focusing on the book while driving, but it’s been the perfect solution for long car rides to Cape Cod and even for my 20 minute work commute. I’ve actually sat in bumper to bumper traffic and thought “thank god! I needed to find out what was going to happen next!”
January – April 2017 Audio Books:
The images above are a selection of audiobooks I’ve listened to on cd since the start of the year (there are even more than this!) and I’m super proud of myself. I’ve learned so much from all of these books and they’ve inspired me. Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air will make you feel like you are with him up on Mount Everest in this true story. He also wrote Under the Banner of Heaven which is a look at plural marriage, the history and it’s effects today. This book is especially relevant in 2017.
Betty White’s If You Ask Me (and of Course You Won’t), Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me, and Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck are all really fun books to listen to by their author. Betty’s such an animal lover and listening to her on my way into work in the morning would start my day on the right foot. I’ve listened to a few of Nora Ephron’s books and her wit, wisdom and true stories are empowering. She led such an incredible life, and hearing her describe antidotes makes for really fun car listening. She has a few more books that I’m looking forward to listening to.
Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty and Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman are the only fiction books I’ve read (although both are an accurate portrait of their time periods+ setting). I will say that with these plot driven books, it was a little more challenging to listen and not miss important details as I was driving. I did find myself re-listening to chapters to fully grasp the details while driving. Keep that in mind when you pick a genre of audiobook. Also who is reading the book can be helpful. For example Go Set A Watchman was read by Reese Witherspoon and her acting ability and natural southern accent made this book come to life.
Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance was challenging as an audiobook due to all the charts and graphs that I couldn’t see (keep that in mind when picking a book). I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris was fantastic as an audiobook. Her character and charm made it really fun. I actually own the hard copy of this book but loved getting to hear Amy read it.
Now as for my goal of “reading” (vs. audiobook) 2 books a month, I’m failing. I’m doing the best I can and I keep telling myself I’ll catch up.. but I’m behind. Given all the audiobooks I’ve listened to, I don’t feel like I’m failing, but I’ve only read 5 books since the start of the year.
I started the year reading Jessi Klein’s You’ll Grow Out Of It, which was really funny. She’s a successful, funny female who is completely relatable and I flew through this book. For Christmas I got Kristin Newman’s What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, also written by a funny female comedian/comedy writer. This book is full of true travel stories from a female who lives in LA as a busy writer, but on hiatus lives it up traveling abroad. Warning: you’ll want to book a trip as soon as you’re done reading it (I totally booked a trip).
After two memoirs and a bunch of memoir audiobooks, I switched to a new genre and read The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. It’s part of this genre of strong female leads (think Chicklit but smarter) involved in solving/committing a crime. It has a Big Little Lies/The Girl on the Train/Gone Girl feel and really pulls you in. I read this book over 3 days because it was hard to sleep without knowing how it would end.
Once I hit April and the weather got nice, it got a LOT harder to stay home to read. I ended up re-reading David Sedaris’ Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim because I needed something light and fun. I LOVE David Sedaris so much that when I get a new book of his I fly through them. I should probably re-read all of his books.
Lastly, I’m in the middle of reading The Room by Emma Donoghue (also a major film that has won Oscars). I basically read the first half in one night (another case of can’t-sleep-until-i read-more-itus) but have been stalling on the second half because I just know something bad is going to happen.. as all books have ups and downs.. I’m just stuck and scared to move forward. I will, I swear.. I just need to be brave 😉
Lastly, I want to share some books that I’ve purchased, had for a while on my to-read list, and some pre-ordered books that aren’t out yet, all of which are on my list to read next.
In a Dark, Dark Wood was Ruth Ware’s book before The Girl in Cabin 10 and I’ve heard really good things about it. Into The Water also just came out and is the follow up book by Paula Hawkins, to The Girl on the Train. Both are in that mystery+ strong females category.
The Husband’s Secret is by Liane Moriarty who wrote Big Little Lies. This book I started to read but had a hard time getting through the first 50 pages (introductions). I’m sure it will be fantastic like Big Little Lies, I just need to push myself over the hump to get into the thick of the story.
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby and Theft By Finding by David Sedaris both come out at the end of May and I am SO excited. I wait years for a new David Sedaris book and it’s finally here. I imagine this is how some people feel watching the Olympics. Samantha Irby’s book was an impulse purchase and Im really looking forward to it. Not knowing much about her means it’s all going to be a fun surprise.
Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and Amy Schumer’s The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo are all memoirs by funny women I admire and I imagine I’ll be reading these in-between my more intense crime books.
I’m sharing all of this not to brag, but to hopefully 1) inspire you to read more and 2) suggest some good books to you. Listening to audiobooks is now one of my favorite things, and I wish I had given it a chance sooner. Plus books and audiobooks are expensive and really using the public library has saved me SO much money. I highly recommend it. Also, reading these genre’s of both crime solving strong female characters and real life memoirs from awesome females I look up to has inspired me to write more. Not necessarily publicly, but for now it’s been fun to write creatively and it adds spice to life. I think in a former life I was Nancy Drew, so it’s fun to imagine what that life is.