A year and a half ago, I started working from home. I’ve very recently rejoined the office culture, but my 18 months of residential working taught me many things. It also changed a few things, both good and bad. On the one hand, I learned how to self-motivate and work more efficiently with a remote team. On the other, I became more sedentary and secluded.
But the one thing that changed in my life that bugged me more than any other was that I stopped reading books. I used to be a book fanatic. I’ve read so many books I can’t even remember them all and have found myself halfway through a novel only to realize I’ve read it before—and that’s happened multiple times. But when I stopped commuting (which was a big chunk of reading time) and moved in with my fiancé at the same time, suddenly all of my built-in reading time was gone. And so the reading stopped.
At first I didn’t notice. Then about six months in, I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I’d read something longer than a magazine article. I decided to fix this immediately. But then I ran into another problem—I was suddenly unmotivated to read, and unable to fully immerse myself in a book. I started and prematurely stopped many books over a couple of months. I wrote a bit about that here. Eventually, I finished one, and procrastinated starting another. During the 18 months I worked from home I read probably less than half as many books as any other 18-month time period since I started reading at age 3. And this bothered me.
I rejoined the commuter culture at the start of this year (this Monday, to be exact), and decided that if a new job, new year, and new commute didn’t signal to me that it was time for a change, then I don’t know what would. So I immediately signed up for the Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge and pledged to read 36 books by December 31, 2016.
Thirty-six books in a year was nothing for me, back in my heyday, but I’m honestly a little nervous now. When last I read voraciously, I had a commute, a 9 to 5 job and a mostly single lifestyle. I’m now married, with a full-time job, and a magazine on the side. I think I can make it to 36, but I guess only time will tell.
So this has been a pretty long and possibly boring story, but it leads me to this: I’ll be trying to read at least 36 books this year, which means you can fully expect way more literature coverage on BE. I’ll post reviews of select completed works and progress updates on the blog portion, and you can follow along with which books I’m reading on Instagram and Twitter. I’ll even let you know when I start a new book, in case you want to read it as well and then email or tweet and we can have a little digital book club!
I decided to start off easy with a little cozy mystery (I love cozy mysteries, don’t you? They’re quick, cute, and a good way to reintroduce myself to speed reading!) called Murder of a Smart Cookie by Denise Swanson. I’m actually almost through (maybe I can make it to 36!) and haven’t yet figured out what’s next. So leave your suggestions in the comments! Tell me what you’re reading or what you’ve read that you loved, and please feel free to make your own pledge—formal or informal—and update us on your progress as well!