I was a voracious reader when I was young. There’s a whole backstory to that, why I tended to escape between the pages when I was a kid, but it’s really one of the things that I enjoyed about my childhood. I wasn’t a wide reader, though. I had my favorite genres and I rarely read books outside that comfortable corner. When I was a teen, part of my rebellious phase was pointedly refusing to read anything my mom recommended. When I started working, I found that without the benefit of the regular allowance my parents gave me, I actually couldn’t afford to buy books. As a young professional, it became all about the hustle. I worked in the call center industry and I was frequently tired and emotionally spent. Imagine an introvert spending hours constantly talking on the phone. I was overworked and underpaid and I could not afford to shell out the extra money to buy books. They’ve become luxuries. I also felt like I had no time to read. So it faded to the background, along with all the other hobbies that I used to consider indispensable to my well-being–writing, keeping a journal, making art.
When I made a drastic career change in 2009, it came with a lot of challenges but one pleasant surprise was that I started to rediscover the things that used to make me happy. I started to read again. Slowly at first, like someone relearning how to ride a bike, then speeding up to a feverish pace, until this year, when I think I’ve settled into a more comfortable and relaxed pace. I also discovered new genres and developed a taste for them. I’m happy that I can afford to buy books again, and that I also have the luxury of long blocks of time to sit quietly and read.
This year I read a lot of memoirs, some of my favorites include “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive” by Stephanie Land and Heather Armstrong’s “The Valedictorian of Being Dead: The True Story of Dying Ten Times to Live”. I read books on race issues, politics, religion, history. Some of my favorites are Philip Yancey’s “Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God’s Image”, “Uncivil War: Race, Civil Rights & the Nation”, “The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future” by Joseph Stiglitz, “Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America” by Michael Emerson, among others. I suppose your tastes in book can still change later in life. I read fewer books this year compared to last year, but I enjoyed most of the books that I picked.
I’m looking forward to the book that I’ll read this 2020. I wonder what new titles I will discover.