As best as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed reading. I have my Mom to thank for that. Summers growing up were spent visiting the local library on a weekly basis and the school year seemingly revolved around the Scholastic Book Fair and the perennial Book It! program (motto: “Read Books, Get Pizza!”). At one point toward the end of high school, I set a goal to read as many works as possible from a Barnes & Noble-curated list of the best non-fiction of the twentieth century.
In my adult life, most of my reading has revolved around my career—books, blogs, and articles about Web design—intermixed with the occasional graphic novel or re-read of favorites like The Great Gatsby or Slaughterhouse-Five. I never stopped buying interesting-looking books, but the pace of acquisition far outstripped the speed at which those books were read.
This year, I resolved to change that. I set up a Goodreads account, began taking advantage of my DC Library card, and spent as much free time as I could reading. So, seven months into the year, how have I done?
Pretty good, I’d say. Here’s what I’ve read so far:
- Blankets by Craig Thompson
- Feynman by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick
- A Short History of Nuclear Folly by Rudolph Herzog
- Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown
- The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
- The Art of Happiness at Work by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
- The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling by David Shoemaker
- Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein
- A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Madeleine L'Engle and illustrated by Hope Larson
- Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown
- Thoughts on Design by Paul Rand
- Laika by Nick Abadzis
- Adaptive Web Design by Aaron Gustafson
- Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World by Rachel Swaby
- The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long, Jim Demonakos, and Nate Powell
- Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm
- March: Book One and March: Book Two by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
Not bad. Looking back at this list of eighteen books, some patterns emerge:
- The list is dominated by non-fiction.
- There are a good number of graphic novels. I think this makes sense: they’re quick reads and, well, I like good graphic novels.
- I read three books related to the development and early history of the atomic bomb, three books (all graphic novels) on the civil rights movement, and two books about professional wrestling.
I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read so far this year, but I’ve particularly enjoyed Rachel Swaby’s Headstrong and the first two volumes of March, which chronicle the life and work of civil rights leader John Lewis during his time in the turbulant American South in the 1960s. You should absolutely read those three books.
I’m not sure what book I’ll pull off the shelf next, but I’m enjoying myself immensely and learning quite a bit. Hooray, reading!