We are bombarded with information unlike any other time in our history. One cannot get away from television commercials, telemarketers, Facebook posts, talking heads, Zoom meetings, mobile updates, celebrity scandals, special reports, Twitter feeds, local news, real news, fake news, good news, bad news, etc.
Reading is more important than ever. In this ever-changing world, it is important to be able to process logically the information that is thrown at us daily, hourly, and secondly (is that even a word?). Being able to use critical thinking skills that help us understand the world and the information presented are essential and necessary in 21st century life. The world is not going to slow down; it is only going to speed up. Critical reading and comprehension of these trends will only make us stronger to analyze and address whatever lies ahead down the road.
However, this is all exhausting. So exhausting. After looking at your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feeds, it is easy to be tired from taking in so much information. Your brain takes in so much information in a blink of an eye or the flick of your thumb that you can’t help but feel numb afterwards. The pandemic has brought the workplace everywhere (onsite, your home, your phone) that one really has no sanctuary from it anymore. Burnout is high and work output is never high enough. There are kids to feed and work to do. About our only escape is some sort of an electronic box, whether it is your TV or your phone or a computer to see what other people are doing, not what YOU are doing.
Whatever happened to reading for fun? Remember snuggling up in bed with your favorite book that you’ve read 20 times before because you could? Remember reading an entire book in one day because you had the time to do it? When was the last time you read a book that wasn’t 24 pages long and wasn’t a cartoony bedtime story for the kids? When was the last time you read a book?
Well, this writer has had enough. I understand that I can never escape media-based information bombardment or social media in general. I understand that life does get in the way. But that does not mean that I cannot read what I want, when I want, on my own terms.
Therefore, I have decided to do something silly: I am going to read 75 books in 2021. Yes, this will be a time sacrifice, but if COVID is still around, it is not like I am going anywhere. I may as well read. After some mass computations (I found my calculator), I learned that this averages out to one book every 4 days, 20 hours, and 48 minutes, so roughly 6 books a month with 7 books a month every once and a while. As leader of the History Book Club at Greenfield Library, I already read 10 books for that yearly, so it’s only 65 books that I have to make time for. I am almost there!
I have told my plan to a couple of my peers and have received varied responses, mostly positive. The most frequent response has been, when are you going to find time to do that? I figure it is easy: I’ll just ignore a lot of the above. I will make time to read and make time for myself. I will attempt to ignore my phone which is one of my goals anyway. It isn’t that hard in my opinion: most of it on my phone is doom and gloom anyway.
I plan on reading fiction since I have ignored it most of my life. I feel like the story nature will be easier for me to read without me trying to remember names and dates like I would with my normal non-fiction reading. I do not intend to read short books. Most probably will be in the 250-300 page range on average which I don’t think is anything to look down upon. I will be keeping a log of what I have read and plan to update here via an entry probably mid-2021 and at the end of the year.
After a year like 2020, I figure it is best to take my mind off the world from time to time. What better way than with a book? Do yourself a favor and read what you want to read for a change. It might be the best thing you do all year.
Want to challenge yourself and read your way through 2021? Go for it! Join Greenfield Library’s Winter Reading Challenge for a chance at some prizes while you are reading! Here’s the link:
Don’t know what to read first? I don’t blame you. Go to CountyCat or come to GPL. We will help you find something:
For some early suggestions, here are some things that I read in 2020 that I liked. Good luck in your 2021 reading!
STUFF PHIL READ IN 2020:
Chances are, you’ve seen the movie. But did you know that is based on a book from 1986? While a lot of the movie has scenes somewhat reminiscent of the book, the book is a lot wilder, including Gump being a professional wrestler and being good friends with an orangutan. I don’t want to give all of it away, so check out Forrest Gump the book for a new appreciation of the character. Try reading it without the Gump-Southern accent in your head.
The city of Savannah, Georgia is put in focus of this oddly unsettling book. The author highlights a number of the colorful characters of the city and it all culminates with a murder. This description does not give this book the justice it deserves. If you like the South, odd people, and true crime, you’ll like it. You might just like it if you like none of that.
If you love chaos, do I have the book for you. Told by one of the park owner’s children, this book is just nuts. Action Park was a dangerous amusement park in New Jersey and it only makes sense in an anything goes, 1980s teen comedy movie kind of way. It was the product of its time. The rides were dangerous, people were injured and killed there, and everyone loved it. The people in this book are all funny characters. AND IT ALL HAPPENED! Read this book if you are a child of the 1970s-90s. It is great.
As mentioned above, I tend to lean towards chaotic stuff in my reading. Serge Storms is utter chaos. Tim Dorsey has created a manic and violent character who also has a voracious intellect and an encyclopedic knowledge of Florida history. It is all over the place and a fun series to read if you are into the odd, artificial nature of a Florida vacation with a madman.
This was the favorite book that I read for GPL’s History Book Club for 2020. Many remember him for banging his shoe at the United Nations, but before that in a completely different visit, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and his advisors toured the United States in a really weird tour filled with weird occurrences that went from important locales such as Washington DC, San Francisco, and Iowa? It’s a funny time-period piece that shows the human side of someone who would bring the USSR and US to the brink of nuclear war just a couple years after his visit.