Friday, December 9, 2016
One Thing Every Bookworm Should Do Before 2017
Lingering is the best antidote to a goodbye. As we say goodbye to 2016, it leaves us with memory. For some, exquisite happiness. For others, some very dark days of wandering without being able to see the stars.
God is there in both places.
In my life, I've made two mistakes about remembering which I suspect most everyone has made: the one, is to not linger long enough in appreciation of good times, and the other, is to not correctly process the sorrowful seasons.
Such times come even to bookworms. So as we rapidly close out the old year, I thought it might be fruitful to write an article about how to linger and remember the bookish side of our year during the holiday season.
I'm the queen of lists here, so I'm going to put this in list format.
1. Make a list of books you've read. (Or head over to Goodreads).
I'm a big proponent of making book lists. I used to make them by hand, but Goodreads is a lot easier for people who are on the go on their computer. Just mark a book as finished when you're done, and away you go! At the end of the year, you can look back at all of them, marvel, laugh, and remember. If you don't have Goodreads, get out some gel pens and nice paper. Don't sweat if it you can't remember all the books. After all, this is supposed to be fun.
2. Make a list of new books you enjoyed. Mark off old favorites that you revisited.
I discovered Jason McIntyre's Flight School, A.A. Milne's Poetry, and Fierce Convictions. All of them gave me new thoughts about children, gospel, and women in the culture. I also got to revisit Kidnapped and The High Deeds of Finn MacCool, two beautiful old favorites.
3. Write down the books on your TBR list that you checked off.
I got to read Metaxas' Bonhoeffer this year. I tackled Ben-Hur. I'll recap more in future posts, but those were big books I had been putting off for years, saying "I'll read it next year." I was pretty tickled to have those done.
4. Write down a regrets list: books you regret not reading, or books you wish you hadn't read.
I don't regret the books I read, but I regret not being able to read The Shock of Night, by Patrick Carr. I love his books, and I'd been waiting for book 2 all year, but it was too intense to handle right now. So for the state of my own mental health I'm waiting. And that was disappointing. I also regret choosing so many review books that I got burned out, though I don't regret any of the ones that I read--almost all of them were a home run.
5. Share what books you got your friends into.
I love the fact (though I sometimes look longingly at commissions) that I can get books into the hands of friends through this blog without worrying about affiliate links. Recommendations have power, and it tickles me to no end when someone says "I bought this book you told me about." Books this year were 20 Things We'd Tell Our Twenty Something Selves, A Sparrow in Terezin, and The Broken Way. I'm sure there were others as well. (And friends got me to buy books, too. You'd better believe.)
6. Write down the books you read with your family.
Maybe y'all don't read aloud, but we still do (after all, Jane Austen adults did in their stories, even if Edward Ferrars couldn't read poetry to save his life.) It's a tradition I highly recommend starting if you haven't already. Probably Sutcliff stands out as the shining star of our reading time this year. We read both The Eagle of the Ninth and The Silver Branch, and sis read them beautifully. But we also got a taste of John Bunyan, Gene Stratton-Porter, and Jan Karon.
7. Jot down a list of books you want to read in 2017.
I'm already picking out my themes for 2017, but I'll share those later. Jot down a theme list you want to follow, books that are releasing, authors you want to try out, or recommendations you want to pursue.
8. Jot down a list of ways you want to read differently next year.
I want to be more intentional about judging my time and energy for review books. In some instances, that might mean buying the book so I can read it on my own time rather than getting a free copy with a deadline.
9. Write down some big themes you took away for your own spiritual walk in 2016.
Reading is fruitless if we merely absorb without allowing the content to change our thinking and ultimately, change our actions. What things do you want to apply from 2016 reading? Maybe it's a way of thinking, maybe it's something you want to improve in your walk with God, a relationship you want to handle better, a writing technique you want to apply, or an author you want to support.
10. Jot down a list of authors to support in 2017.
I already have several in mind. Suzannah Rowntree, Nadine Brandes, Patrick Carr, and more. Buy books from these people. Leave them Amazon and Goodreads reviews. Follow them on social media, and give them as gifts to your friends. That's the gift that keeps the book world spinning.
Linger over these prompts if you want. Make your list a pretty, artsy keepsake. Or scrawl it out on the back of old envelopes during the car ride to Christmas gatherings. Throw it up on your blog, put it on a social media post, mail it to another bookish friend. Email it to me. However simple or complicated, short or long--take some time to relish and remember this past year's bookish victories.
Let's carve out some time on Christmas break and linger over what we've learned and loved this year. I'd love to hear your answers to any of these prompts in the comments.