Back when I was young and still had joy in my eyes, I would spend pretty much all my free time reading. Time went on and high school and college did their thing, and the amount of free time I had – as well as my motivation to spend said free time reading – dropped precipitously. This summer, though, I don’t have any excuses. I just graduated, am not teaching or doing research for the first time in three years, and just recently found the charger for my Kindle. Having just emerged from an undergraduate degree, I’m pretty qualified to add 2 and 2 and in this case, they sum to the goal of reading 50* books this summer.
This blog (which isn’t quite the word I’m looking for, but is close enough) is my way of holding myself accountable. I don’t imagine that many people will be following it avidly, but the idea that somewhere down the line, someone might come across this page and feel a vague sense of disappointment that I didn’t make it to 50 is enough to keep me turning the pages. In college, I did 90% of my work in a coffee shop because working in a crowded place kept me honest, and I suppose that digitizing my reading list is the 21st century equivalent of just that.
The ostensible idea here is to write about the books I’m reading, usually when I’m done with them. I usually juggle 2 or 3 books at a time, so there may be points at which I write about books in progress, rather than ones I’ve completed. Often, it’ll be a review of the book, but sometimes I’ll focus on a part of it that I’ve found particularly interesting and on occasion I’ll just dive down a rabbit hole that the book exposed for me.
That said, I do have two ulterior motives that I want to be transparent about. The first is that I am not usually a particularly reflective or meditative person, since both of those activities bore me incredibly quickly. That said, having just finished college and possibly the best year of my life, there’s plenty I have to reflect and meditate on. I’m going to try to use the books I use this summer as a proxy for reflections on my own life and goals, and for that reason, I’m using a pretty loose definition of ‘book’: novels, biographies and collections of essays all count, but so do graphic novels, short stories and long form articles, as long as they’re non-trivially long and thought-provoking. Most of them will be books I haven’t read before, but I am going to dip back into a few childhood favorites. Secondly, having spent the majority of my time in college doing CS or STEM classes, it’s been a while since I was just able to write creatively for the hell of it, and this site is a great way of merging the goals of reading and writing more this summer.
Okay, I think that’s all you need to know. If you’d like to check out the list of books I’ve planned thus far, you can find it here.
*I arrived at this figure somewhat arbitrarily: it’s pretty satisfying to me that the summer is exactly 100 days long, and I feel like I can probably average a book every 2 days.