For a whole year after I finished my graduate program I didn't open a single book. Even the books I taught I had already read a bunch of times, so I didn't even bother to re-read them (I probably should have). My relationship with books was at it lowest, I have never read zero books in a year.
And then... at the beginning of 2020 I decided to board a plane by myself to visit my friends, and because for once I wasn't prepared, I bought a book in one of the shops at the airport. When I entered the bookstore and walked around I didn't know what I was looking for, and all of a sudden I see a book in Spanish!!! Isabel Allende's "In the Midst of Winter". I got excited to see a novel in Spanish by an author I knew. I wasn't really a fan of Allende's novels, I never really understood why everyone loved her first magical realism books... but I decided to give this book a try, because nothing else caught my eye.
I finished the book that weekend... I LOVED IT!!! and it reminded me why I love reading so much. It was so easy to get caught up in the story and flip the pages so quickly to find out what's going to happen next. I went back to work and I talked with one student who had already read more than 10 books in that year (it was mid-January when I had this conversation with her) Listening to her talk about books and recommend me books reminded me of myself at that age. I was so happy talking about books... I decided to create a Goodreads account that day and I talked to my BFFs in LA and decided to start a bookclub...
We agreed to read novels written by people of color and for people of color. We started choosing titles and then I realized I was the only one reading... life happened and I got it! Their priority wasn't reading. I told myself that no matter what I would finish at least one book a month... and then I got my BFF from SF to join. We decided to read anything and everything that caught our attention and we started reading more popular titles.
In March, when the pandemic hit, I was so comfortable at home, I read FIVE books... yes, FIVE in one month. I don't know how I did it... but I did it and I was so proud that I was actually keeping up and writing about each book in this blog. However, my joy didn't last too long.
During the summer I started taking a lot of seminars, attending virtual conferences and started reading a lot of non-fiction books (which are not my jam). These took longer for me to read because I wasn't always engaged and it felt like homework once again. I stopped writing about the books I read. So... that explains why I hadn't written anything in this blog for quite a while.
I hit my goal of 12 books by July and I thought it would be a good idead to bring the number up to 20... I still think it was a great choice!! but the moment when I decided that I was already adding too many things to my To-Do List. Sometimes I want to get everything done at once and then it becomes overwhelming... I am aware of it.. it's something I'm work on.... By the end September I had read 18 books and I felt I was going to hit my goal so quickly that maybe I could change my goal to 25 books, but I decided to wait to complete the 20 first before making any changes to my Goodreads account... I'm so glad I didn't change that goal.. I wouldn't have made it.
I actually stopped reading ... I didn't finish any books in October or November. I have been stuck in the last two books for the past three months... and I am not ok with that. Realizing that I was not going to achieve a goal that was important to me helped me recognized that I was falling into old patterns. I was putting work first and letting go of all the good, healthy habits that I had worked really hard on while we were sheltering in place. I actually made the most of my time stuck at home and I was so happy about it; but realizing that I was letting go of all the good I had accomplished was shocking. I thought I was past that and that I wasn't going to go back to old habits, but I was doing exactly that... I refused to let work win!! So I finished book #19 two days ago and I am at 55% book #20. I WILL REACH MY GOAL!! I refuse to go back to prioritizing everything and everyone else. Instead I am focusing on what is important to me, which is reading, writing this blog (and the other blogs in this website), creating resources and building relationships with my students. The rest, can wait...
I hope there is something that you love that you refuse to let go... you deserve to make that your priority! Having a life aside from work is important and giving ourselves the time to enjoy our hobbies is a form of self-care.
I started writing and this post took a life of its own... so I'll just leave the collage of titles I read this past year. I will probably write another blog post to rate them, because I didn't really write about every single one of them as I planned... but you can always email me for recommendations.
- Un abrazo
Welcome to Jime's Book Reviews. Each month I read a different novels and I write about it. Some of these novels are great for the classroom and, if they are, I will let you know, but I mostly read for fun and to help you find something you enjoy outside the classroom.