Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Perfect Ten + A Meditation on "Should"

So I didn’t make it to twelve or even to eleven, but I did make it to ten. Here was the final list in the order they were read (plus reviews!):

1. Scumble by Ingrid Law
2. Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund
3. Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell
4. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
5. Room by Emma Donoghue
6. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell
7. The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
8. The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht
9. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
10. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

I’m pretty proud of how much I accomplished. Let’s see some stats, shall we?

Duration: 4/2/11-4/30/11
Books Read: 10
Reviews Written and Posted: 8
Reviews Outlined: 2
Pages Read: 4384 (making the average length of book read 438 pages)

Some eagle-eyed readers might notice I didn’t get to Freedom or A Widow’s Story. I had them scheduled, but I just couldn’t make myself read them when the time rolled around. Memoirs about dying and “great works” are not to be read casually. You have to commit to them, and I didn’t feel up to it. I’m not worried though. They’ll still be there when I want to try again.

I think sometimes people (myself included) get caught up in all the things they “should” be reading or doing or watching. We want to be in the know, to gain access, to be on the inside. We want people to like us by validating our choices. We want to be tastemakers, good conversationalists. So we consume the things we “should,” whether or not we want to, and profess to like the things we “should” like, whether or not we actually do. Giving “should” up was the best lesson to come out of my April reading boot camp.

Thing is, we’ll never read or watch or eat or experience all of the things we “should.” That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have aspirations or a mile-long to-do list, but it does mean we should be gentle with ourselves. Sometimes, a YA dystopian will win out over Literature. (The heart wants what the heart wants!) Keep up with what you can and consume what you love. No matter what, you’ll find people who compliment your choices and who want to talk with you about your thoughts. Genuine enjoyment is more magnetic than every “should” under the sun.

1 comment:

  1. I've been trying to figure out what I want to say to this post...and all I can come up with is that I completely agree with you. "Should"s sometimes rule our lives. It's nice to have a reminder to sometimes ignore that voice!