One of my goals for 2019 was to read more, with the specific aim of reading two books/month, which I more or less hit.
I also had a few other, more specific goals within reading itself. Given the fecklessness and absurdity of this Presidential administration, I wanted to read more about Presidents – about competent individuals, who cared about ideals, who were intellectual. I also wanted to read more work by women writers, which I did, though unfortunately it didn’t reach parity. I also aimed to read works by newer writers. My primary guilty pleasure was murder mysteries, and specifically English ones.
I also had reading goals I didn’t meet: I would have loved to have read more about behavioral economics, Jewish thought, the art of writing, urban design and development, as well as poetry. I also would have loved to finish the Power Broker.
Since 2017, I’ve kept lists of what I’ve read each year, but I’ve changed three things in the last year or so: (a) thanks in part to the blog Farnam Street, I aggressively highlight and take notes in books, as well as write up some quick thoughts on a given book after I finish it (b) I aim to read about twenty pages/day, which feels like a modest goal, but, if followed through, would permit you to finish the 1,300-page Power Broker five times over, and (c) My wife got me a Kindle, which has proved a remarkably useful and natural way to read — especially on my commute.
Here’s what I read in 2019:
1. Men without Women, Haruki Murakami
2. Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
3. Lethal White, JK Rowling
4. Leadership, Doris Kearns Goodwin
5. The Word is Murder, Anthony Horowitz
6. All Who Go Do Not Return, Shulem Deen
7. Forest Dark, Nicole Krauss
8. The Bully Pulpit, Doris Kearns Goodwin
9. Conan Doyle for the Defense, Margalit Fox
10. Prussian Blue, Phillip Kerr
11. Bird by Bird, Ann Lamott
12. Working, Robert Caro
13. Bad Blood, John Carreyrou
14. The Sense of Style, Steven Pinker
15. Metropolis, Philip Kerr
16. Couples, John Updike
17. Fleishman is in Trouble, Taffy Brodesser Akner
18. The Nickel Boys, Colton Whitehead
19. Gulp, Mary Roach
20. Inherent Vice, Thomas Pynchon
21. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson
22. Early Work, Andrew Martin
23. Three Women, Lisa Taddeo