Here in the Rocky Mountain, there are still a couple of hours before the clock turns and 2018 is gone. The kids are watching a movie, and soon we’ll all make some noise and wish each other a very happy 2019. I’m taking a moment to look ahead and reflect back, just a bit, on my reading year.

I read some exceptional books in 2018, and I listed my top ten here. I’m proud that I read what must be the longest book I’ve ever read in Uwe Johnson’s Anniversaries. That said, I let many days slide by without opening a book — weeks even. Work took more time this year, and even when I wasn’t working it was often on my mind. Also, my four boys are getting older (the oldest just turned 12), and they are busy which makes my wife and I busy. I think a lot of it wasn’t lack of time per se but rather lack of energy and mental space at the end of the day. I’m hoping to adjust and get back on track, though I’m learning to be forgiving if I don’t quite get around to everything I’d like to.

Still, I think reading is important for my well-being. I feel better when I’m regularly sitting down to spend a little bit of time with a book. With that, I’m looking ahead with modest intentions to 2019. Rather than a large list of books or authors I want to read, I’m mainly hoping to just be more deliberate day-by-day and not get caught up (and bogged down) by the many things I’d like to read. If I’m being honest, many of the books and authors I had on last year’s “reading intentions” post can carry over fine into 2019, so I’m hoping to stop saving those for a rainy day.

I do want to have one larger goal, but I’m not sure what it will be yet. Two years ago it was to read Middlemarch, and that was a fantastic success. Last year, it was Anniversaries. For 2019, I have considered finally doing more than reading the fist few pages of Swan’s Way and going all out for Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. I’ve also thought of finishing The Portrait of a Lady finally. I hope to spend a bit of time going through my shelves tomorrow to see what stands out. I’m also open to suggestions!

One last thing: last year I had the goal of enjoying the winter months. I can report that I did. For the first time in a long time they didn’t get me down. I still loved when spring came around, but my deliberate attempts to find the beauty and quality of the darker, colder months worked. I think I can do it again this year. One thing that helped a lot? Reading good books and sharing that with you all!

Happy 2019!

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By |2019-01-01T01:12:23+00:00January 1st, 2019|Categories: Personal|7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Diana Cooper January 1, 2019 at 1:55 am

    Hello Trevor! I’d like to suggest that you finish Portrait of a Lady (or better yet, start again from the beginning), read Anna Karenina (since you managed 800 pages of Middlemarch, it should be a snap for you) and, if you haven’t read it, read Stoner by John Williams. It’s wonderful. And you might enjoy The Mayor of Casterbridge while you’re at it. Warm wishes for a wonderful year to come!

  2. Trevor Berrett January 1, 2019 at 2:22 am

    Thanks, Diana! I have read Anna Karenina and Stoner, but not The Mayor of Casterbridge. I will look at that while checking out Portrait of a Lady!

    Happy New Year!

  3. Jonathan Gibbs January 1, 2019 at 8:12 am

    I’ve decided to read Proust this year – having, like you, read a certain amount of the first volume a couple of times. This time it’s a definite resolution. I will put aside other reading to complete it. And also I’ve decided to annotate as I go – wiriting in pen in my lovingly acquired HB Penguin editions. With the idea that I may read it again in the future. Good luck!

  4. betsy Pelz January 1, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    I do like this thoughtful comment re reading and the requirements of life.

    I second The Portrait of a Lady. James is known for his great psychology of women, but he is magisterial on the ways and means of liars. It’s with liars James towers over the landscape..

    As for me and the coming year, my long term project remains Alice Munro.

    I like how you challenged yourself to enjoy the winter last year, Trevor. I have been doing something similar with chores. I am a stubbornly late adopter of the smart phone, and have discovered the joys of the audiobook. Have really enjoyed Helen MacDonald’s “H is for Hawk”, Candace Bergen’s “A Fine Romance” and Hope Jahrens’ “Lab Girl”, Am hoping to listen to Lisa Jobs’ “Small Fry” and Michael Pollan’s “Change Your Mind” next. Obviously, books that keep one company while cleaning have to be basically conversational. Like having dinner with Andre.

    Alice and Henry I save for the kitchen table, where there’s room for note cards and the ease of moving back and forth in the text and taking notes is simplicity itself..

  5. [email protected] January 1, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    I enjoy reading the comments on your website. It enhances my reading experience. These stand outs on my list are Joseph Conrad’s Nostromo, Richard Yates The Easter Parade and Giuseppedi Lampedusa The Leopard.
    Happy New Year.

  6. kurzeroz January 1, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    I recommend Conrad’s Nostromo, Yates’ The Easter Parade and Starnone’s Ties.
    I enjoy your website, it enhances my reading experience. Happy New Year!

  7. Larry Bone January 3, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Henry James and Joseph Conrad have much to contribute concerning how men and women relate and function in challenging social or in the case of Conrad, remote survival situations.  But some foreign writers have much to contribute on these subjects from an unexpected viewpoint that sometimes  translates into shared similarities.  So my out of nowhere “and now for something completely different” reading suggestion is the English translation of Hindi/Urdu novelist Munshi Premchand’s (whose real name is Dhanpat Rai Shrivastava) novel, “Godaan.”  It was written in 1936 but it is very knowing about how men and women think and act as the new challenges the old.  And also how the subtle influence of old ideas unobtrusively shades the perceptions of “modern” men & women.  It may not be what you had in mind for reading in the new year.  And time never seems to accommodate all that we want to read.  It is just an “off the wall” suggestion.  Am about half way through and the simple yet very wise observation is amazing.

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