Last year, I made the commitment to read more for pleasure — to read more widely and without maybe a critical agenda. This was a lofty goal. I gave birth to my first child in January and two weeks later was teaching online from home. (I developed and taught FMU’s first online business writing class last spring.)
Despite my busy schedule and new responsibilities, I have read for pleasure pretty consistently throughout the last twelve months. The reason I was able to do this, I think, was that I changed reading platforms. Normally, I enjoy reading on paper, but most of my pleasure reading was done in ebook form on my phone. That way, I was able to read not only at night during 3am or 5am feeding/soothing sessions, but also with the assistance of only one hand.
In addition to the mounds of longform journalism I read, both in print and online, I read quite a few full-length books. Here’s an abbreviated list (in no particular order) of some of my “non-required” reads from 2014.
Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Diana Gabaldon, Outlander [NB: I’m not done yet. No spoilers!]
Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle
Alice Goffman, On the Run [NB: I quit early and will probably finish, but that’s another post.]
Susannah Cahalan, Brain on Fire
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Veronica Roth, Divergent Trilogy
S. Josephine Baker, Fighting for Life
Turns out that, despite my attempts to read more widely, I gravitated towards genres and themes that I focus on in my scholarship. (Go figure.) Meaning, I read a lot of memoir, and I also read texts that dealt with themes of illness, health, and medicine. One pleasure read, Fighting for Life, the last text on the list above, turned into an academic project, which I’ve blogged about here previously.
In 2015, I hope to continue the tradition, and have already staked out a few good reads, including Eula Bliss’s On Immunity.
What’s on your reading list for the upcoming year?