Bookish Thoughts: 2021 Reading Challenge

Don’t you just love the beginning of a brand new year of books and reading?  

One of my favorite parts of the new year is setting a yearly reading goal and tracking not only how many books I’ve read but also what I’ve read.  Every year I regularly read about 100 books (including poetry collection and audiobooks) and I track them through the GoodReads app. Every year I also vow to read slower and more carefully- really absorbing the words and taking my time. However, in reality this rarely happens and I often find myself trying to read faster to beat my reading goals of the past. 

This year I’m going to try to stick to the goal of 100 books and try not to feel the need to read faster or read more than 100.  I’m going to try to really enjoy what I read and cherish each and every page.  Each year I have been trying to add more classics into my to-read pile and one that I am looking forward to tackling this year is The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  

Interested in the reading goals of other #LtownLibrary staff members? Here’s what staff of the Livingston Public Library is looking forward to reading in the new year:

Katie, Head of Adult Services & Acquisitions: I plan on reading 85 books in 2021.  I’m very excited for the new Preston and Child book, The Scorpion’s Tail.

Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian: I do not keep any reading goals  because I feel that will put pressure on me and make my reading experience more anxious.  I just try to read as many as I can and of course, my to be read pile is infinitely larger than the books I have read.

I am looking forward to reading 2 biographies by major celebrities– One is the first volume of Barack Obama’s memoir called The Promised Land which was released this past November. 

With all 174 copies of the book checked out, the hold queue for the title is way long, but this glimpse into the personal journey of our former President and inspirational figure will definitely be worth the wait. Another memoir I am excited about is the memoir Unfinished by global celebrity  Priyanka Chopra Jones, slated for a February release.Having seen her as a popular actress in the Indian film industry, it will be interesting to read about her childhood, her transition to the world stage and the numerous challenges she faced in her personal and professional lives all along.

Another novel which I am considering reading is actually an older one; published in 1993 it is Vikram Seth’s The Suitable Boy –which is one of the longest English language novels published in a single volume.  Set in a newly post-independence, post-partition India, the novel follows the story of four families over a period of 18 months, and centres on Mrs. Rupa Mehra’s efforts to arrange the marriage of her younger daughter, Lata, to a “suitable boy”.  The BBC has dramatized the book this year under the direction of Mira Nair, and this has reawakened my interest in reading it. Not sure though if I will be able to complete this hefty tome of 1,349 pages!

Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian: I don’t often set specific reading goals, since I’m not a very fast reader. On top of that, being in grad school right now means I have less time for leisure reading than usual. But I’ll say that I hope to read at least 50 books in 2021, and there are definitely a couple titles in particular I’m looking forward to reading. For a class on Young Adult literature last semester I read a novel I really enjoyed called Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, and I’m excited to finish its sequel, Exile from Eden, early in the new year. And for Christmas, my mom got me a copy of How to Write One Song by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. As a big fan of Tweedy’s music and his previous book, the memoir Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), I’m eager to dive into his new book as well.  

Are you excited about a new year of reading and setting a yearly reading goal?  What are you looking forward to reading in 2021 and how do you keep track of what you’ve read?  Tell us in the comments below!

-Jessica, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian 

Books We’re Thankful For

Books We’re Thankful For 

November is a season of giving thanks and of being grateful for the many good things we have in our lives.  This November, we’d like to take the time to think about the books that have shaped our lives, came to us when we needed them the most, and gave us joy.  Is there a particular book that you are the most thankful for? 

While I’m thankful for all books (seriously, one of my greatest joys is being surrounded by both read and unread novels), I think that the book that I am the most thankful for is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  This classic novel is one that I have read many times and always come back to. The first time I read this book was in my high school English class.  The dark gothic love story gripped me.  In my college years I re-read it again, and then once more in my adult years.  This novel taught me the power behind language and how timeless literature could be.  It also made me realize that I have a fascination with British Literature and with the other Bronte sisters as well. 

Here’s what a selection of Livingston Public Library staff members are most thankful for: 

Katie, Head of Adult Services & Acquisitions: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, #1). It never fails to make me laugh or transport me to another place.

Anna, Head of Youth Services: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian: I’m extremely thankful for The Portable Dorothy Parker.

-Jessica, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian