I have not blogged in so long so I will digress a bit and start with an unrelated introduction.
Last year, I actually wanted to take up blogging again. Only my laziness hindered me. Also, I didn’t know where to begin; I didn’t know how to set it up again to reflect my current tastes; and I wasn’t sure if I will be able to follow through.
I’ve curbed my social media use and am only down to Instagram, but even that I’ve tried to limit, successfully, might I add. The only thing I found that forces me to go back is without an outlet where I may write thoughts and feelings weighing me down, it’s harder for me to move on from life’s challenges. I realized that writing forces me to confront what’s bothering me and somehow make up my mind on how best to resolve my issues. Even more, the act of writing itself is like the act of transferring my burdens from my mind and heart and onto the page I’m writing it on – it doesn’t make the problem go away, but it lightens up my load immensely. And while journals exists for this sort of thing, “publishing” forces me to be more organized and ensure that what I put out there is readable. By doing so, I tend to write in a more detached manner that helps give me perspective and helps put my problems in context, which makes it easier for me to move forward more easily. If I don’t write, things tend to stay in my head longer and weigh down on me heavier. If I don’t let it out, my brain tends to get muddled and I am unable to think sensibly of a good course of action to follow. The longer it simmers, I tend to get depressed.
So I decided that I am going to write, really write. But rather than writing random posts on Instagram – which I’m not promising I will never do – I might as well sit down and use what writing skills I have to come up with something sensible and presentable, sans Instagram character limit.
This blog is more for me than for anyone. But if you find that it makes sense to you and helps you as well, welcome, friend, and please share your thoughts.
On the reading list…
The last time I made a reading list was in 2018. I did not complete it. 2019 had no reading list but I still read a good deal. By year-end, in one of those lulls during the holiday, I thought I’d confront my bookshelf and check on those books that have been there forever as well as the books that I bought on impulse swearing I needed them and will read them right away. I decided that I will actively tick those titles off. As I’m working and am also on a study schedule, I thought that I would decide early on what I’m going to read to prevent decision fatigue later trying to decide what to read. The list is meant to limit my reading so I don’t stray and read other books that I might be tempted to that are not on the list. It’s also meant to ensure that I don’t go for more distracting and low-value activities, like social media and computer games.
I’ve listed 36 books, which seems too much at first, but considering that I’ve read 34 books last year, 39 the year before, and 32 the year before that, it seems a safe number. 24 books are for leisure reading including fiction/non-fiction, essay, short story, play and poetry books; 6 are personal and professional development non-fiction books; and 6 books on a topic which I am keeping to myself for now.
The book list:
Leisure: Fiction, Non-fiction, Short Stories, Essays, Play and Poetry
- Swann’s Way. Marcel Proust.
- A Streetcar Named Desire. Tennessee Williams.
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Ken Kessey.
- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Anne Bronte.
- Midnight’s Children. Salman Rushdie.
- The Portable Dorothy Parker.
- Death with Interruptions. Jose Saramago.
- Kafka on the Shore. Haruki Murakami.
- Dear Theo (An Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh). Irving Stone.
- English Hours. Henry James.
- 100 Love Sonnets. Pablo Neruda.
- A Thousand Splendid Suns. Khaled Hosseini.
- A Moveable Feast. Ernest Hemingway.
- Life is Elsewhere. Milan Kundera.
- Phineas Finn. Anthony Trollope.
- Volcano. Shusoka Endo.
- The Republic. Plato.
- The Eternal Husband. Fyodor Dostoevsky.
- The Year of Magical Thinking. Joan Didion.
- Art as Therapy. Alain de Botton and John Armstrong.
- Letters to a Young Poet. Rainer Maria Rilke.
- A Map of Days (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children). Ransom Riggs.
- El Filibusterismo. Jose Rizal.
- Beloved. Toni Morrison.
Non-Fiction Personal and Professional Development Books
- How Not to Be Wrong, The Power of Mathematical Thinking. Jordan Ellenberg.
- The Power of Habit. Charles Duhigg.
- Deep Work. Cal Newport.
- Imagine It Forward (Courage, Creativity and the Power of Change). Beth Comstock.
- The Transitive Vampire. Karen Elizabeth Gordon.
- Logic for Lawyers, A Guide to Clear Legal Thinking. Ruggero J. Aldisert.
I’m re-reading Swann’s Way in preparation for reading the complete 7 volumes of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. Phineas Finn is the second book in Trollope’s series of six books. I was in love with the first book so I bought all the books in the series which I’ve only dented after reading one book. Anne Bronte’s only novel is the last one that will finally complete my reading of all the Bronte sisters novels. I also thought to list books famous authors Salman Rushdie and Haruki Murukami whose books I’ve never read. The Portable Dorothy Parker is part of Rory Gilmore’s list. I also wanted to make sure I read a Hemingway, a Kundera, and a de Botton this year, they are my “constants”. Endo I chose to make sure I have an Asian book. And Rizal’s El Fili to keep me rooted. I threw in Didion for safe measure. And included Dostoevsky to exercise that part of my brain that’s receptive to hard, Russian novels. Speaking of hard, I also threw in Plato’s The Republic to truly test my abilities to read hard, philosophical books. And finally, I thought I’d read Morrison and Kessey whose books are gathering dust in my shelf.
The personal/professional books are a no-brainer. But I thought to limit them to six coz these books are like crack; I can never seem to stop reading them.
The other six books are on a topic that I’m keeping to myself right now. They’re practical, non-fiction books and my reading them marks my readiness to enter into a new phase of my life.
If this proves to be my only post, I’ve at least got something to take up on for my year-end post.