I use Goodreads to keep track of the books I read each year, and during 2019, I only read 25 books.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with reading 25 books in a year. That’s approximately a book every two weeks. Nothing to be ashamed of.
And yet – this is unusual for me. During 2018, I read 56 books. During 2017, I read 42. During 2016, I read 44. And these numbers weren’t the result of any kind of effort to meet a challenge on my part; I just love to read. The only reason I have access to the numbers is that I use Goodreads to keep track of the books I read, so the data is readily available.
Now, I hate to blame things on my children, or to use them as an excuse. (Just kidding, I do it all the time and I’m fine with it.) And to be clear – Edgar is blameless in this situation. He was born in 2016. The number of books I ready during Edgar’s babyhood and early toddlerhood was pretty much the same number of books I read before I was a parent.
So, if there’s any blame to be had to here, it is going to be lain right at the early-walking feet of my SECOND CHILD. Baby Jonas, who started walking when he was 9 months and 4 days old, and started running pretty much the next day. Baby Jonas, who is lovable and kissable and tries his best to defy the laws of gravity every single day of his life,
JONAS, I OFFICIALLY BLAME YOU FOR MY LOW BOOK COUNT IN 2019.
I am laughing as I write this, but it’s true. I believe my limited reading time in 2019 was due in part to life with two young kids. When I was the mother of one, I could conceivably read a book while my toddler played happily with a toy, even if it was in five minute increments of time. It also was easier to trade off Me Time with Tamara – like, you watch the baby for the next 30 minutes while I read. Now, we do a lot of tag teaming, so that we get one-on-one time with the kiddos. And, just in general, having two kids feels like it requires way more than twice the work, time, and energy that having one kid requires. Plus, it takes Jonas approximately four seconds to go from playing safely to climbing on top of the highest piece of furniture in the room, so there’s limited time to squeeze in a few pages.
Even though there is definitely nothing to be ashamed of, I was a little bummed about my number for 2019. I take pride in reading a wide range of titles and making reading a priority. I prioritize reading over TV and movies, and I simply love books and reading.
So, while I’m not beating myself up about “only” reading 25 books, I am hoping to read more in 2020. I’m hoping to choose books over scrolling and Netflix more consistently, and I’m also hoping to challenge the other big impediment to my reading: INDECISION. My indecisiveness is nowhere near as much to blame as Wild and Crazy Jo Jo, but it does play a role. There are time when I angst over what I am going to read next with a level of stress that could be associated with deciding whether or not to have a baby. (Please see my post What To Read – An Ongoing Dilemma for a little glimpse into my first world struggle.) This indecisiveness is especially problematic when it comes to nonfiction and audiobooks. When I’m choosing a nonfiction book to read or listen to, I think of it as an opportunity to educate myself about parenting, mindfulness, adoption, race, social justice, writing, etc, and I can get really caught up in my head deciding which book or topic to prioritize.
Thanks to a few amazing books, my 2020 reading list is already off to a great start. I’ve read four books so far, and they were all fantastic; Such A Fun Age, So You Want To Talk About Race, Dear Edward, and The Nickel Boys. My Reading Challenge a la Goodreads for 2020 is to read 52 books over the course of the year. I don’t really feel any pressure to actually achieve that goal, but it does feel satisfying to see my book count increase and creep closer to that goal; it’s a sign that I’m prioritizing reading over Netflix, as I am this morning. (Listening to Catch And Kill on audiobook while making my coffee!) Happy 2020 reading to all!