Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What to Read in 2016

Our family loves books, which is evident the moment you step through our front door and into our living room. As you turn your head slightly to the right, you are struck by the sight of four, floor to ceiling, every shelf full, mahogany-brown, wooden bookcases.


Generally though, you won't find me sitting at a desk in the middle of the living room, like a librarian waiting to check your books out. I took this self-portrait earlier in the year for one of Vivienne McMaster's self-portraiture classes, now I finally have a reason to use it.

The library bookcases were something we had long talked about investing in. Two years ago, when we updated the furniture and wall color, we made the commitment to purchase some aesthetically pleasing bookcases to house part of our vast collection of books.


The last few days I have been half-heartedly going through Susannah Conway's Unraveling the Year Ahead workbook, hoping as I answer the questions, I will find my direction for 2016. But after reading through the workbook,  I have not settled on a "word" to pin my hopes and dreams to for the year ahead. I always feel that somehow I let my word down every year, not living up the potential it saw in me. So I have bypassed those questions for the time being.

 A little farther into the questions about 2016, I came to one that had me scrambling around the house gathering books and quickly filling three pages of journaling in my Inspiration Journal...List three books that you want to read in 2016?

Only three? I had already gathered a stack of ten, and that didn't even include the books on my iPad waiting to be read, or the e-books I have stored in iBooks.


I love to read, and in 2015 I re-devoted time and energy to learning, most of all learning through reading. One reflection note from 2015, I have found I do best if I am reading one inspirational book and one just for fun book at the same time. I need the constant influx of inspiration in my life that reading creative related books provides, but I also need a just for fun book to read before bed. Each book I read tends to be a spring-board to another book that wasn't on my Goodreads "to-be-read" list, no wonder that list never gets any smaller.

Instead of choosing only three books, I made two piles of three books each. One pile for inspiration books and one pile for just-for-fun books. Here is what I have so far:

Inspiration books


Just for Fun books




I will start with these six and see where they lead me. Unfortunately there isn't any room on those  aesthetically pleasing, wooden bookshelves in the living room for these books when I finish them. Maybe we will have to start another library area downstairs in the family room. Oh wait there already are four, half bookcases down there, well...maybe the music room...

New Year's Bonus

Some fun facts about me and my reading habits

  • I prefer to lie down when reading, unfortunately more often than not, that leads to napping.
  • I have been keeping a list of all the books I have read since I was 20, in 27 years I have read 947 books. It really seems like it should be more.
  • I set a goal on Goodreads each year of how many books I want to read during that year. For 2015 my goal was 40 books. I will fall a couple of books short, but still not shabby. 
  • For 2016 I think I will set my Goodreads goal for 30, then I can read thicker books and not feel so bad.
  • I have a whole bookcase next to my side of the bed, filled with books I have not read yet... maybe I could open a library.
  • I am happy reading on my iPad or reading real, tangible books.
  • Real books photograph better though
  • I love bookstores, especially independent ones. 
  • Glen and I use to dream of owning an indie bookstore when we retired.
  • I always read when I am eating alone.
  • I must read before bed
  • The one advantage to throwing my back out is that I can lay on the couch for hours and read and not feel at all guilty. 
I would love to hear what you want to read in 2016. And if you are on Goodreads - let's be friends!

26 comments:

  1. I had to restrict my reading urges in December in order to accomplish other necessary (holiday) things. At last, yesteryday I had the luxury of picking up a book and climbing under a quilt. Today, I continued to the very last page. :) So many of the things you note here that I relate to.
    I'm constantly surrounded by stacks of books in our home. I wouldn't have it any other way!

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  2. I had to restrict my reading urges in December in order to accomplish other necessary (holiday) things. At last, yesteryday I had the luxury of picking up a book and climbing under a quilt. Today, I continued to the very last page. :) So many of the things you note here that I relate to.
    I'm constantly surrounded by stacks of books in our home. I wouldn't have it any other way!

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  3. Goodreads said I read 46 books in 2015. I don't count or make goals, I just read. I don't have shelves of books because most of what I read comes from the library.

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  4. I keep adding books I want to read to my Amazon Wish List....it is easy for me to access to either buy the book/kindle book or find the book in the library. I too have been keeping track of the books I read. I use both Shelfari and Goodreads to keep track. Last year my goal was to read 36 and I accomplished it. I will probably choose 36 again for 2016.
    I have been donating my physical books to our local library or I put them in the Little Library (http://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/) I set up a couple of years ago. I just feel the need to simplify. Your bookcase system is beautiful.
    Here is my 2015 in reading. https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2015/2209101?utm_medium=email&utm_source=yyib_2015_12

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  5. Oh my books, books ,books. We have had to build shelves in our house too, in the sitting room and two bedrooms ! So many books I worry if I haven't got a pile by the bed and a little cache on my Kindle. I used to work in a second hand book shop and it was a dream come true....

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  6. wow…those bookshelves and those books!!! i have no idea how many books i read in 2015, as i don't keep track and my list of what i want to read next is manageable…there might be 9 or 10 on there…but i no longer keep all the books i read. instead, i've learned to keep the "really good ones," the ones that truly left a mark on my or in me, the ones i've already re-read at least once, and without physically getting up and counting them, i'll guess there are probably 25 of them. here's to 2016, with a book in one hand and a cup of tea in the other…often!!!

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  7. Love this post! I take the time to read everyday usually the hour before bedtime. I rarely buy books anymore, only ones I know will be keepers. Other books I read come from the library. The cold winter always has me reading more. I'm just waiting for the cold winter, hasn't gotten here yet! Happy New Year to you and your family!

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  8. Sometimes I "discover" a book on our bookshelves that I have not read, and that is all I need to camp out on the couch and enjoy the pages. Our favorite places to go are antique shops and book stores. We find books in both places!

    I also have a Kindle, but do enjoy the paper pages the most. Something about not having to depend on electricity just to read appeals to me.

    Such a fun post! I'd love to browse your library.

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  9. Sarah, This is one of your most inspiring posts of all time . . . and it is simply because your passion shines. Sometimes I forget just how blessed we are to feel excited, to love discovery, and to share with each other. Like a few of your readers above, I mostly check out books from the library, but there a few that affect me so deeply and hold my heart such that I must own them. And I will have to check out this thing called Goodreads that you mention! I'm currently deep into the stories written by Wendell Berry - Fidelity is a great book for short stories and worth adding to your list! Also, I adore your self-portrait!

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  10. Have fun! (Twyla Tharp's book is amazing). I've made a similar goal after reading Andy Miller's 'The Year of Reading Dangerously', but mine runs from Sept. 2015-Sept. 2016.

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  11. I am hoping to get more reading done in 2016 - The Boys in the Boat has been on my nightstand since April! Your list is impressive - the Southern Man also sets reading goals for himself each year and keeps track of books...I guess that's why he has 6 bookshelves in his office! Enjoy your literary pursuit!

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  12. I am in the throws of cleaning out my office/studio space right now. Oh, the books - the books I have yet to read that I have found in here!
    Maybe I should take your approach though, a learning/teaching book along with a fun book at the same time. Maybe then I'll finally get through a "teaching" book and not get bored.
    Did someone say "squirrel"???
    Happy New Year!

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  13. Wonderful post, I love your librarian photo. I have quite a collection of cookbooks. That wanderlust book looks interesting...

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  14. You do look like a librarian in that photo! I wish I'd kept a list of books I've read over the years. It would have made a book in itself by now, since I often go through several in a week. I still have my Nancy Drews - five of the first six in the series - that I received for childhood Christmases. (I lent Secret of Lilac Inn to a friend and never got it back.) That Wanderlust book is one I've heard about that I'd like to read. I've had the Twyla Tharp on my Kindle for ages but haven't read it yet. As a t-shirt I once had read, "So many books, so little time." So much more I could say on this subject...I should do my own post about reading!

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  15. Sarah, good post. You are so right to have written these books in a notebook. I would love to have my own now. I wish that I had had a notebook to write down my anniversaries. Happy New Year.

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  16. I am on goodreads but not active. That is quite a list of books you've got going...do you cross them off as you go? Oh to find an independent book store (sigh)...any book store...(double sigh) Here's to good reading year Sarah! xo Happy New Year.

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  17. From seeing this self portrait, you would definitely make a lovely librarian greeting the quiet book seekers. I actually volunteered at my high school library one year because I loved being in the library, handling the books, and stamping that check out card with the rubber stamp date. I do commend each of those who commented and you for all the reading you do, along with everything else. I'm a slow reader, and get absorbed into the book so deeply that I can't put it aside to do anything else. Enjoy reading your books this year!!

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  18. Happy New Year! My daughter's friend joked she was "two books short of a library." That was remedied post-haste! I suppose she'll have to acquire a table now for check-outs! Great selfie, by the way.

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  19. I love it when blogging friends talk about the books they're reading; I find the best authors this way. My house is also filled with books, spilling over into every room. There are always a dozen books on my dad's oak drafting stool, which stands by my side of the bed. Right now, there are beginning watercolor painting books, four novels, and a half dozen photography books. And I am on Goodreads... let's be friends!

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  20. This is really scary! I sleep with full bookshelves on both sides of our bed. I remember when Jackie Kennedy died and John, Jr. updated the press that she was surrounded by her friends and her books. Don't you find seeing them so comforting? What is it about them? I tend to be a nonfiction or historical fiction kind of reader...and want to always be learning something.

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  21. This was a lovely post. As you might know, I also love books but I found last year that I did not do as much reading as I would have liked. I've upped the ante this year. I laughed when I saw that you always have a fun book and an inspirational book to read at the same time. That is one of the challenges I gave myself for this year. Your books look quite fascinating...and I totally understand about book case space. Mine, and I have a lot of them also, are busting at the seems. I cleaned and cleared this past week just so I could get the 12 that I got for Christmas on the shelves..LOL...such a hobby. I'm not picking any number to set aside. When one is finished I'll just see what strikes me...good luck on your list this year Sarah...Your self-portrait is very nice. I've tried to do them but I never get the darn camera to focus right...maybe I'll work on that in 2017. I'm going to try to have a more relaxed year this year...Thanks for sharing all your lovely book thoughts here on your blog.

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  22. Well I don't feel so bad now about the fact that my collection is taking over our house. I have far too many art/textile/mixed media books and have often wondered if I should do some pruning.....hmmm, maybe not :-) Thank you for helping me make up my mind.
    My favourite novel last year was The Light Between Oceans and I will always be grateful to you for recommending it to me. I can't wait to see the film, but sadly we have to wait a year for it in England :-/ In the meantime, I wish she'd hurry up and write another novel.

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  23. Reading before bed in a necessity! I also have an inspirational and fiction book always going at the same time, sometimes more than one of each. Keeping a 'book list' is a great idea, even if I start it this late in life. :)

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  24. Such a fun post, Sarah! I just counted them for the heck of it... 93. That's pretty good! I read before bed too out of necessity, but I fall asleep quickly too. :) I'll go in on that independent bookstore with you.

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  25. What can be better than books. I too have thousands. Practically need a house just for my books. Even have some I ordered on my weekly reader when I was in grade school, and that was a LONG time ago

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  26. I check out Goodreads all the time. Can one join? I must have a look! I enjoyed reading about your reading habits! They all sound good to me!

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Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)