“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’ve always been a reader. For as long as I can remember, I’ve read whatever I can get my hands on. Magazines in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, instruction manuals for new computers, beer and wine labels, dust jackets and, of course, the books themselves. To be honest though, my track record is mixed. Sure, I “read” books but, in the past, it’s been pretty rare that I actually finish them.
You know how it goes: work gets busy, life gets crazy, date nights, friends, and all 25 seasons of The Simpsons are on Hulu, so… you know, d’oh!
Anyway, this year I decided to buck that trend and read two books a month—start to finish. In case you’re bad at math (like me), that’s 24 books total in 2013. As of today, I’ve read 36.
Reading more than my original goal wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t because of some highly regimented schedule or diet (“I only ate organic paper at 5am every morning, and suddenly I was able to focus all the time and I lost weight, ask me how!”), but I was somehow able to make reading an integral part of my daily routine. Part of what made it work, I think, is the fact that I only read certain topics while doing certain things.
For example, in the morning over coffee, I read something spiritual to take my mind off of the immediate and focus on something a bit deeper before I dive into the madness of the day. At the gym, I read business, politics, or psychology on my iPad to focus myself on the work I have to do during the day. And when I’m getting ready for bed on weekdays I usually read history or biography. Fiction is for weekends.
So, it seems my mind somehow subconsciously broke down the kinds of books I read based on the type of thinking I would need to be doing next. Since that was the case, I ended up reading three to four different books per day in addition to anything I read online (I also follow a number of blogs and publications, in addition to subscribing to a few magazines).
It’s exhausting just typing the “schedule” out, but it seems to work pretty well for me, and I know it’s a habit I’ll be carrying into 2014.
Before we jump into the New Year, though—and even if you decide not to follow along—I’d like to walk you through everything I read this year, broken out by genre. I read a lot of good stuff, and I’m sure you’ll be able to find something of interest for yourself in this list.
Full list (along with some brief notes and links to buy—most are Amazon Affiliate, for your information—from me) after the jump.