My new year’s resolution is typically to hit the gym, lose weight, or stop being a miserable bitch, but this year I’ve decided on something that I’d actually like to do. I will spend the year reading. A few days ago, I proposed to myself that I read one book a month, making that about 10 more books than I read last year. But I’ve just begun my second book of this year and it feels right.
Those that know me know that I’ve been a bookworm all my life. I used to cut class in high school to go to the school library and read with my friend Rose. Last year, I had to implement a “no-buy” policy for books because the spending was getting out of hand and my bookshelves were bursting at the seams. The thing is, several years back, I was taking some pretty heavy medications for anxiety and depression and they just fucked with my brain chemistry. My ability to sit for long periods of time, focus, and be creative took a hit, big time. Any motivation to read just wasn’t there. And part of me also felt shitty because I’ve always wanted to write something beautiful and never have – reading someone else’s art felt like a reminder of that.
A few months ago, however, as I lay in bed bored to hell and back, I discovered the world of “booktube” on YouTube. It’s a community of readers that review, share, and gossip about books and reading. How nerdy, but also how glorious for me to stumble upon it. Some of the booktubers I follow have really piqued my interest in getting back in the reading game, and the name of the writer Brit Bennett came up in several videos. This past weekend, I hit the Pawtucket Public library in search of her book The Vanishing Half, but came up empty-handed (trust me, I requested it). I instead found her debut novel, The Mothers, and good god! It’s a great story with beautiful and complex characters, but her writing style and the way she views and describes things – even the most mundane – is what blows me away. When I have to put a book down to blink the tears back into my eyes simply because of a single sentence, I know I’ve found a good one.
I am sharing this with y’all not because you give an actual shit, but to hold myself accountable. I need to set the intention, say it out loud. Here is an abridged list of books that I am interested in getting into asap:
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (starting now),
Homecoming by Yaa Gyasi
The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Bloodchild by Octavia Butler
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
If You Come Softly and Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
If anyone has any suggestions, reviews of the above books, or would ever like to “book talk,” let me know, baby. These are wild and frightening times, let’s go somewhere else for a while, even if imaginary.