A New Decade of Reading

I love the New Year…there’s a wonderful feeling that goes with starting anew and setting new goals. I’m excited for this reading year and have already talked about some of my plans, such as reading more of the works of Pearl S. Buck, and also participating in a variety of reading challenges put together by my blogging friends.

But today also marks the beginning of a New Decade of reading for me. I’ve kept track of my books read over the years in a little notebook since 1964!  As of today there are 1,659 books listed there, although there should be more. (My criteria at first was too strict and didn’t include rereads or read alouds for a number of years.)  It’s an interesting record of a reading life, and when I look back at the list, it becomes a way of remembering what was happening in my life at the time I read a particular book.

For example, I was reading Antonia Fraser’s Mary, Queen of Scots, when my infant son took very ill and had to be hospitalized. It seems strange to have a book with me during a time of life and death crisis, and I know it was very difficult for me to read even though there were hours and hours of waiting at his bedside.  So I remember every word read, could probably quote you paragraphs that are seared into my brain by the adrenalin of that time.  Our son survived and recovered, and I will always appreciate Antonia Fraser for her companionship during those desperate days.

And with my little notebook, I can follow my “reading pathways” over the decades and learn a lot about myself in the process.  As I welcome this new decade of reading today, I am more aware than ever that there are so many books, so many authors I want to experience.  We are given a lifetime of reading, and I’m enjoying every minute of it!

So, a Happy New Year to you, dear readers…and a Happy New Decade to you, also!  Enjoy your reading!

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16 thoughts on “A New Decade of Reading

  1. Kay

    Robin, what a sweet post. I am amazed that you have kept track since 1964. I wish I had done that. My list goes back to 1993. Still, that is 17 years now. Wow!

    Happy New Year and I wish for you many happy hours of reading pleasure. Take care!

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  2. stacybuckeye

    It’s so true about the companionship they provide, especially at the most stressful times. Hope 2010 brings you lots of great reading.

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  3. Molly

    WOW — I wish I had the foresight to keep track of books over the years. Perhaps that is something that I can instill in my grandchildren 🙂

    I hope you have a wonderful literary New Year!

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  4. Bellezza

    I wish I would’ve started keeping a little notebook of books read decades before I started. At least I have some consolation that I kept a good record from 2006 on. Still, I envy/admire you. 😉

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  5. Sam Sattler

    Robin, I’ve kept a similar notebook since February 1970 and, like you, I’m amazed at the memories I can bring back while browsing the list.

    Be sure to keep a digital copy of that list as backup. I know I would be devastated if I lost the list and I suspect you would be, too.

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  6. Nan

    What an amazing story, Robin. It gives me chills. Along with the other commenters, I so wish I had kept track over the years. I’ve done it for about ten, but how I’d love to know what I was reading in high school or before. I have a friend who kept card catalogues for the books her children read and when. It would be a nice gift for new parents – a little book to keep track of books and then the child could continue when he or she was old enough.

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  7. gentle reader

    Happy New Year to you! And a happy next decade of reading. Love both your cartoons. And I wish I had kept better track of my reading over the years. I made it one of my resolutions this year, in fact! I think it will be very valuable–your story proves it is!

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  8. Kailana

    I love the start of a new year, too. It gives you a fresh start. I like to try and start without worrying about the year before. Doesn’t always work out that way, but I try!

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  9. Robin Post author

    Thanks, Kristen. I think enjoying life and enjoying your books is what it’s all about. 🙂

    Thanks, Kay. Thanks to that friend from way-back-when that inspired me to start my reading record book! It is a treasure now. By the way, I’m so happy you’ve come back to blogging!

    Stacy, I agree…they help us through the toughest times.

    Molly, it would be a wonderful record to have from childhood on! And there are such lovely journals of all kinds available… Nice idea!

    Bellezza, I wish I had started even sooner! It’s truly a treasure now.

    Oh Sam, you’re absolutely right! I’d be devastated to lose it now.

    Nan, that’s a lovely idea. It would become an amazing treasure.

    Kailana, a very Happy New Year to you!

    Thanks, Juliann. It really is amazing what memories it brings back to just look at a title and author from a year long ago.

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  10. bybee

    I’ve only been keeping track of my reading with a journal since 1993, but I’ll always associate Anne Tyler’s Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant with waiting for my grandfather to come out of hip replacement surgery back in the spring of 1983.

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  11. Kim

    Going over my reading lists often brings back memories of where I was when I read the book, just the title opens a mini-scrapbook in my head.

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  12. Les in NE

    I started keeping a reading journal in 1995. I now have a dozen and it’s great fun to flip through one and see what I was reading when. I have such vivid memories of reading certain books at specific times in my life.

    Happy Reading, Robin!

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