Last year was a big year for me, mostly centered on moving to Mexico for the Day Job. Which is very interesting and I probably should blog about it, but for now I'm going to narrow the scope, lest I risk overwhelming my three whole blog readers with too much disparate information in one dump.
What I want to talk about today is this:
2015 was the year I became a reader again.
But time marches on and my relationship with writing has been going through some evolutionary pains the last couple of years. Day Job has become something I actually find very stimulating, and something I care deeply about cultivating and doing well, no longer just something to tide me over until maybe my ship-of-the-lucky-artistic-breadwinners came in. Additionally, ten years of trying to get published without any (truly) notable results can take their emotional toll. Writing has lost much of its lustre. Some of that loss is permanent. Some, I hope, is only for a season.
Early last year I decided to take a sabbatical from the pressure of writing. I was moving to another country, which is a pretty difficult change to navigate without adding unrequisite pressure.
Around the same time, (late 2014) I had just invested in a beautiful new set of IKEA bookshelves (pictured above) and was taking great delight in seeing all my books in one place instead of scattered between several mismatched shelves. One evening, out of curiosity, I went shelf by shelf and, with a few special exceptions, pulled off every book that I had purchased (or been given) but never actually read. My book-reading energies may have been subdued for ten years, but my book-buying energies were suffering from no such strain, so the resulting stack was considerable in size, around thirty or so books. I made a Pinterest board called "The Forgotten Bookshelf" and pinned all the covers of the books in my stack.
I started tackling The Forgotten Bookshelf stack in December of 2014 and made it my 2015 New Year's Resolution to finish it off by year's end.
And, I'm pleased to say, I did it.
It was a really fun experience. Some books were more challenging than others. I'm not drawn to stuff that doesn't read like a story, so non-fiction and or collections of anecdotes were challenges to push through (fortunately, these were few in number). I'm also proud to say that I read my very first complete book in Spanish, a beloved children's book from Chile called Papelucho. It was a gift from my Chilean host mom when I studied there. (I really wish I could share this book with some of my English-speaking, children's book-loving friends, not to mention my niece and nephew, because it is SO CUTE, but as far as I can tell, it's only been translated into English once, for a short time, and was only available in Chilean markets.)
I discovered a lot of new favorites. One of the early books sitting around on my shelf was The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima, first in her Heir Chronicles series. Even though Book #1 was the only book that applied to the Forgotten Bookshelf project, I liked it so much that I took a detour to read the whole series, which was just the sort of thing I hoped would happen.
Even though the Forgotten Bookshelf was my reading road map for the year, the momentum I got from working on it spilled over into a lot of other books. I could sing the praises for The Lunar Chronicles all day, a series very deserving of its hype and popularity.
Alas, the Forgotten Bookshelf pinterest board in its original form does not exist, since I kept moving pins off it as I achieved them. Perhaps I should've preserved it for posterity, but I didn't. It still exists to keep track of those new books I've bought and still need to read, which is a pile that will probably never truly be down to zero, but maybe I should change the name since they're hardly forgotten anymore.
Anyway, when all was finished and counted, I read 80 books last year, and I wouldn't trade a word of it. (Pinterest Board)
My inner reader is back and I hope she sticks around for a while.