Saturday, December 1, 2018

One Year Closes and Another Begins

On the eve of the season of Advent beginning anew, I have had the perfect day.

Following a great clergy gathering last evening, I slept in this morning, but from just after I got up, to just before this day drew to a close, I spent the majority of the day participating in two of my favorite things...reading and writing.

I like to think of myself as a avid reader and for the last few years, I have set a goal to read 52 books,  Advent to Advent. Beginning in Advent 2015, the first year of my book challenge, I read 40 books and I was pleased to get to that number because I really had no idea what to expect having never had a system for keeping track before. During my second year, the number of books read grew to 47. This year, I was determined to make it to 52.

Beginning on December 3, 2017 through today, December 1, 2018, I am proud to say that I have successfully met my book reading challenge by completeing a total of 54 books. Of course, I do have two additional books I’m currently reading that I just couldn’t get finished before day’s end, but don’t think I didn’t try.

Over the course of this year, but also the two others before, I have read with a goal in mind, but I have primarily read because I love to read. I have read fiction, poetry, memoir. I have read some books electronically, listened to a few audiobooks, and of course read with the physical copy in my hands. I have read books recommended by friends and strangers alike and have stumbled across some of my favorites by complete accident. I admit I had to abandon a few along the way and I still have shelves of books waiting to be picked up to be read any day now, maybe this next year will be the one for them.

So as another year ends, I look back while also planning ahead. On social media yesterday, I shared how delightful I was to have received a message from my dear friend, Kim that said, “It’s the end our reading year just about! What’s your number? Favorite book? Hopes for the coming reading year?” I am grateful to have a friend who knows me this well and shares this passion. She and I bond over reading and writing and our friendship has deepened over the years because of these simple and yet meaningful things.

And so here are my answers to be shared with you and with her. Of my 54 books, I have a few favorites. I really enjoyed 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. I highly recommend The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrice Khan-Cullors. I also really liked A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle and am slightly embarrassed that I just got around to reading it now.

As for my goals for this next year, I have a few. Again, 52 will be the goal. I am not setting out to exceed this year’s number, but instead am content to continue to average a book a week. I have a never ending book list, but one reality for me is that I have many books that I own that I haven’t yet read. I am hoping to make a dent in those piles while balancing library books, new releases, and new purchases. I also want to reread Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider. I read it back in 2014 and it was a book that drew me in and caused me to pause and ponder. I want to return to it now to re-evaluate what I noticed then and to see how it speaks to me now. It will also accompany me through “Like Your Life,” an online video course that Oxenreider delivers that I have slowly been working through.

I’m sure this nex year will include some of my plans and the occasional interruption and even potential change of course, but I am eager to begin. I am feeling confident in where I am in my reading life, but also in many other areas as well. I am feeling more rooted while making progress. I am setting goals. I am stepping up to the challenges before me. And this time, I’m inviting you along.

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