93 Books

93.

Sounds impressive, but I’m a bit disappointed. My goal had been 100.

Nonetheless, 93. Not bad.

It’s amazing what can be accomplished when social media apps are removed from your phone.

Earlier in the year (pre Covid times), I was reading a book in a waiting room, and ‘an-older-than-me’ woman sat down and commented on how much she enjoyed seeing someone read a real book. And how people are spending too much time on their darn phones. (Spoken with a sweet southern accent, of course.)

Back in my teaching days, I struggled with reading logs. To require or not to require. That was the burning question. Everything in me told me it was the right thing to do. So I did.

My goal was not to micromanage. And I didn’t want it to be busy work.

And what I really didn’t want was a bunch of titles and forged signatures scribbled down seconds before class.

I simply wanted students to be reflective about their reading. And as I reread this I’m laughing. Yep. Just wanted middle schoolers to be reflective. No biggie.

Typically, I’d glance at their logs during reading conferences to monitor reading behaviors. (Which was a natural lead into deeper conversations about their reading lives. I was pretty sneaky that way.)

Now that I’ve kept a reading log for a year, I’m glad I trusted my instincts.

Reading logs are genius. You should try it.

Here’s what I learned about my reading self:

  • favorite author does not necessarily equate to favorite book (apparently Baldacci and Patterson are comforting and entertaining, but not thought provoking authors for me)
  • setting a lofty goal forces you to explore new authors (John McPhee, Daniel Silva, and Fredrik Backman are among my new faves)
  • nonfiction takes longer to read than fiction (just a friendly reminder)
  • it really is okay to abandon a book (not that I did, but life’s too short to read a book that’s giving you nothing in return…and I did force a couple, but I won’t name names…or titles as it may be)
  • I appreciate quality word choice and I really appreciate authors who write in ways that entertain me while making me think (Mitch Albom, Anne Lamott, Fredrik Backman)
  • I also appreciated rereading some classics (although it made me wonder what I was doing in college that I seem to have blocked out reading them the first time around)
  • some people are excellent book recommenders

12 Favorite Books of 2020

(In no particular order. Actually, yes. Changed my mind. Alphabetical by the third letter in the author’s last name. And for the record, I wanted it to be a top ten list, but I struggled to keep it to ten. So I didn’t. My blog. I can do what I want to.)

Impeachment An American History by Meacham, Baker, Naftali, and Engel (made me realize history continues to repeat itself and what a political $hit$how politics really is)

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (I really want you to read this book…and then I want to hear your thoughts)

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (perspective as in I never realized the full extent of my privilege and how judgemental I was about people whose upbringing was vastly different than my own)

Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom (made me think about a lot about interfaith relationships)

Bear Town by Fredrik Backman (new author who I am obsessed with…he makes me think)

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (perspective as in I can’t believe this type of stuff is still happening)

A Time for Mercy by John Grisham (I’ve already ooed and aahed about him in a previous post, so I won’t put you through that again)

The Unlikely Spy by Daniel Silva (another new author for me…mystery and suspense with a lot of historical exposure)

Writing to Persuade by Trish Hall (Want to know how to get people to consider your side without pissing them off? Yeah. This book will help you with that.)

Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott (great inspiration for pretend writers like me)

Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast by Ken Forkish (if you make bread, you need this book)

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (made me feel classy)

Something to Eat

French Toast Casserole

by Nora Cooks

I made this for Christmas morning brunch and it was delicious. I put it together the night before, so all I had to do in the morning was make the crumbles for the top. I had some fresh raspberries that were on the ragged edge, so I decided to throw those on as well. Excellent game day decision. A drizzle of maple syrup gave it just the right amount of sweetness. Definitely adding this to my rotation of fancy breakfast dishes.

Something to Read

You’re not really expecting anything here, are you? I mean I already gave you a list of twelve.

Something to Ponder

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

Haruki Murakami

Looking forward to hearing your book recommendations as I begin 2021. I’m adding a new column to my reading log this year, but not sure about the wording. Perhaps ‘What I learned’. Maybe ‘My thoughts’. At any rate, I truly hope your 2021 is off to a great start. Take care, my friends!

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