Monday, December 30, 2013

The Reader's Year in Review

Hello, fellow furious readers.  It's been awhile since my last post.  My big reason for my absence is I spent more time reading wedding books than books of substance in the last three months of 2013.  All ignored socioeconomic status and contemporary changes to gender roles and all annoyed the hell out of me (Really? Choosing the wrong silverware will make or break my wedding?  Really? My entire existence does not rely on my goals and accomplishments as a person, but by how my groom sees me in my "princess gown" for the first time?).  And what have I learned from wedding books and magazines?

Absolutely,

positively

nothing.

Seriously.

Nothing.

Not to bore any of you, but I've come to the conclusion that any wedding guide/book/magazine that promises to be "helpful" is most likely NOT going to be helpful, and instead ruthlessly murders your brain cells, creates a feeling of inadequacy as a person/woman, and prompts you to make decisions in which you compromise most of your principles. I believe that you can learn anything from books (even if it is how to NOT write a book), but I struggle with what I can take away from wedding books.  It does encourage me to write something of my own in which I stress that wedding days are overrated (with the most important part stressed as everyone's true colors are exposed on a wedding day) and, if presented with a TARDIS, would most likely try to stop the whole business from happening.  But I digress - as I often do.

My second big reason is I spent the last four weeks of 2013 grading and reading papers for my classes.  Some were gems and some were concerning.  Some were clever and some were ordinary.  Regardless of which type of paper it had been, I continue to believe that this country needs to offer more artistic outlets.  Obviously, the most important creative outlet should be reading.

My third big reason (I do this because I enjoy when things come in threes) is I spent the last four months of this year focusing on a big adjustment (a much bigger adjustment than my wedding).  I lost my cat, Minerva Jove, to cancer in September, and then gained a new addition in October - a little kitten named Alaska, appropriately named for our favorite John Green novel, Looking for Alaska (she looks like the cover of the book:  dark with little wisps of gray smoke curling around her).

On top of these major life moments, I also spent my time looking for something worthwhile to read.  As with most major turning points in my life, I turn to books to help guide my way.  I went through a nonfiction obsession over the last couple of weeks, which did nothing to persuade me to see nonfiction reading as lifestyle.  I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but one does not need to be a good writer to get anything published and this thought process holds true for most nonfiction pieces (more on that in 2014).

Despite the life responsibilities pulling me in different directions, I found myself celebrating my love of reading.  Believe it or not, the wedding helped reinforce the one thing that is important to my husband and myself:  books.  We gave out books as wedding favors (one of my favorite moments in the wedding planning); we piled over 200 books in various baskets on the favor table and encouraged our guests to choose the right book for them.  Nothing made me happier than to see our guests take this job very seriously - what book should they go home with?  Should they choose something they've read years ago, or take their chances on a new name?  Inside the favors were bookmarks commemorating our event (beauty and functionality - my favorite combination.  I suppose that's my American thought process showing itself).  For our honeymoon, we are going to create a "bookstore crawl" of London.  For Christmas gifts this year, we made sure that everyone had a book included with their gift.  This has been working so well that I think I will include a personally selected book with any gift I give someone.  We've decorated our place so that books are the stars of the show - not DVDs, not electronics, not expensive art.  Books - those pockets of knowledge in which personalities have been forged - are everywhere in my apartment.

With one day left before the new calendar year, I'm excited for the books I will read in 2014 and I'm holding my breath for the duds I will come across in my reading travels.  Today I've turned to a new page in my reading list journal and, as I wrote "January 1, 2014 - December 31, 2014," I grew dizzy with all the possibilities that await me.

Here's to more furious reading!

"Give me a man or woman who has read a thousand books and you give me an interesting companion. Give me a man or woman who has read perhaps three and you give me a dangerous enemy indeed"  Anne Rice, The Witching Hour


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