March 20, 2013


Back at the beginning of the year, I put together a few new years resolutions. Because that's what you do in January, you know? I have to be honest about it now: at the time, if someone had held a gun to my head, I could have told you exactly which ones I'd keep and which ones I would look back at to say "Oh, wasn't that a crazy nice idea?" I was sure that a few would fizzle before the first light of February (as so many resolutions do). I also pledged that there would probably not be any follow-up posts, because I'm normally not a big fan of measuring my failure in a public forum.
Well. It's a good thing no one held a gun to my head, because I have made a liar of myself in a big way. First, of course, this is the post I said I'd never write. I'm not exactly "recapping," but I am certainly revisiting one of those resolutions (in fact, I've done this a few times already, although I've tried to sneak it in without really admitting to what I'm doing). Secondly (and much more interesting-ly): one of those resolutions that I was sure I wouldn't be able to keep? I've been killing it. Well... except for January. But since finishing the-book-that-took-me-a-lifetime-to-read (All the King's Men), I've been rocketing through books like they're going out of style. Color me pleasantly surprised.
In a way, I feel like I've finally gotten back to myself again. I grew up with a book (or two) in my hands at all times. I read three at once. I always, always had an answer for "What are you reading right now?" So the past few years of slow, uncommitted reading have been odd and uncharacteristic for me. (I blame it on a combination of college assignments and the lure of free Kindle samples -- I've read hundreds of first chapters but precious few whole books.) But as soon as I made a little bit of an effort to pick the habit back up, there it was. I've been finishing books in record time, and I've rediscovered the fact that I'd rather read than do just about anything else.
In light of this, I've decided to up the ante a bit: for the rest of the year, my goal is to enjoy not one but two books a month -- two books that are somehow similar. I got the idea when I was browsing through a few of those Kindle sample that I downloaded recently, and I realized that some of them fit into perfect pairings. I started a list, and in the past few weeks I've gone on to plan sets of books for 6 of the next 9 months. Their common thread varies -- some share a setting, some a subject, some a type of writing. I don't doubt that as I read, more similarities will be revealed, and I'm truly hoping that ultimately, each book will enrich the other. 
Here's a quick hint at a few of the pairs I'll be jumping into this year:
can you spot the connections?

I first started to contemplate this idea when I had just finished what was originally my one-and-only book for March, The End of Your Life Book Club. Although I quickly got excited about pairing books for the coming months, I kept putting off the decision to jump in, thinking I wouldn't start in earnest until April. I really couldn't imagine a book that could hold its own alongside Will Schwalbe's story, and I couldn't find anything that seemed similar enough to truly pair. So I waited, picked out my April books, and was ready to get a jump on the first one when my second March book essentially walked up to shake my hand (ok, it definitely didn't, but wasn't that a nice visual?) So at the risk of starting off this project on a truly depressing note, over the next 10 days I'll be reading this book:

Written by a mom whose little boy was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease, a congenital and fatal disorder that left her childless just three years after her son's birth, it is sure to be a heartwrenching read (just like End of Your Life Book Club was), but I don't doubt that it will also be a celebration of life (again, just like its pair). I listened to a Fresh Air interview with the author just last night, and I knew immediately that this was my second book for March.
So 2013 will be the year of book pairs (although thank goodness I didn't think of this idea at the beginning, can you imagine how long it would have taken me to read a second All the King's Men??) If you've read any books that matched nicely, let me know -- I still have a few months to fill!
Happy reading!



0 had something to say:

Post a Comment


Blog Template by