In this fast-paced digital world, I find myself craving slower, tangible experiences. Most of my workdays are spent staring at a screen. Finding time to put my nose in a book feels like a luxury. I don’t particularly enjoy reading books on a screen either. I prefer to feel the pages between my fingers and have a stack waiting patiently on my nightstand. The issue is, I haven’t made time for reading much in the past five years. Running a small business plus having two children means that any extracurricular activities had to be chosen wisely. Reading was one of the first things to go.
This year, I plan to change that. I’ve always been a scattered reader. Sometimes reading as many as 10 things in one month. Reading is often influenced by my mood. While I don’t think that’s drastically going to change, this year, I’ll make more of an effort to streamline my readings each month. I’ve contemplated making book goals and joining a book club to help motivate me, but I worry that will take away from the magic that reading offers me. I’m afraid it will turn it more into a goal to accomplish than a pleasurable privilege.
Instead, I plan to share my monthly readings with you (finished or otherwise), whether they’re books, journals or magazines, in the hopes that it will inspire you to pick up a book. I’d also love to know what you’re reading each month. I don’t have comments on this site, so for now, share over on my Instagram DMs.
January Reading List
- The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion: I’ve had this book for years and have started it many times. For some reason, I never finished it. This month, I finally pushed past my habit of starting a book only to forget about it and this book was the first I tried. I’m almost finished and can already say it lives up to its hype. It’s hard to get through at times, but Didion is such a beautiful writer that you can’t help but devour her every word with pleasure. I do hope to read more of her books this year. Her documentary, “The Center Will Not Hold,” on Netflix was really interesting, too.
- The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution by Alice Waters: I don’t know about you, but I love reading cookbooks. I wouldn’t even call myself a cook (neither would my family), but I find reading cookbooks very relaxing. Alice Waters is an inspiration. I would love to eat at her restaurant in Berkeley, CA, Chez Panisse, this year. I finished this book and it’s really great for people looking to start cooking or people inspired to start cooking more simply.
- Alice Waters and Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution by Thomas McNamee: In keeping with my Alice Waters obsession, I’ve started a book about the genius of Alice and how she started her food revolution.
- Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers: I love “Mary Poppins,” who doesn’t? The original movie had me charmed from the very start. I was really thrilled to take my daughter to see “Mary Poppins Returns.” It was magical and optimistic. It reminds us to hold onto childhood wonder. I’ve never read the books, so I decided to give them a try. I actually enjoy reading books aimed toward young readers. I plan to save them for my kids.
- Fuzzy Logic Essay by Maya Singer, (Vogue, January 2019): This is an interesting essay about women’s body hair. It discusses the topic of “to shave or not to shave,” and how that should really be up to the woman. Where do you land on the spectrum?
- On Being A Woman in America While Trying to Avoid Being Assaulted by R.O. Kwon, (The Paris Review, January 2019): This article really resonated with me. I’m also that woman. All women are. I really struggle with fear of being assaulted. Nothing serious has ever happened to me, but like the author, I have experienced catcalls, being followed and disrespected by men. My parents have practically tattooed VICTIM on my forehead. It’s not their fault, they were just being protective of their daughter. Heck, I probably will end up doing the same to my daughter; constantly telling her to be careful, don’t go outside when it’s dark, don’t answer the door, walk with your keys out. I’ve found myself feeling it more and more since becoming a mother. I feel vulnerable and exposed every single time I am out in public. I don’t even go on runs much anymore in fear that I’m going to be followed or hollered at. This is partly my own paranoia, partly from my upbringing, but mainly because of how society treats women. It’s time to make a change.
Images of Françoise Hardy