I read eight books this summer. By my count, there were 10 weeks of summer (starting after graduation and ending this week), so I came close to my goal of reading a book every week. I ordered 10 books, so I have two to work through at the start of the year. I’ve already started one of them. I have to say it’s not only a challenge just to find the time to read, but it’s also a challenge to find the energy. While there were a few fluff books on my list (about half were novels/memoirs), most of the books that I read are challenging, so it’s not like I can just sit back and relax with a good book. TV and social media (where I also read a lot of newspaper and magazine articles so even that can be challenging) often feel more appealing after a long day of work.
Still, I’m hopeful that I can continue to read at a reasonable pace over the school year. It’s something I find great value in and the books I read have often enriched my life over and over again. This summer, a few stood out as books that will be with me for a while.
Algorithms to Live By, one of the more challenging books I read (written about here) has reverberated again and again over the last few weeks. I’ve used bits of what I learned from that book in both my personal and professional life and have referred back to its pages a number of times. Absolutely worth the time it took to read it.
Everybody Lies, another math-y science-y book, has also stuck with me (written about here). It really makes you look at data and surveys much differently. What I wouldn’t give to slice and dice Google searches more locally (which I’m sure is possible, but likely takes time).
I read two memoirs (David Sedaris’ diaries and Annabelle Gurwitch’s latest). Sedaris’ book was as delightful as always, funny and sad simultaneously. Gurwitch’s was fun, but not as good as some of her other work. I also read two novels set at independent schools. I’ve always enjoyed academia fiction and I had hoped that these would be as good, just with a slightly different setting. And they were okay, but academia just lends itself better to this kind of fiction. The eccentric characters you find in academia just make better reading. And academia cultivates these people.
So, now I head into the new school year, mostly hoping to maintain my sanity and calm in the busyness that I know the first few weeks bring. Reading may or may not be a part of that, but here’s hoping!