A Year of Reading

2014 has come and gone. Lots of people are spending time right now setting their goals for the coming year and looking back on the past year. It’s just a natural thing to do around January 1, I suppose. I mean, sure, there’s nothing actually significant about this day (there are historical reasons for why January 1 is the start of the year, most having to do with either Caesar or Jesus), but we have it, so we go with it and do our reflections and gazing. I suppose I am no different.

Last year was a pretty wild year for me. I got engaged. I turned 30. I got married. My wife and I bought a house. We adopted a cat. We became pregnant (baby Wyzlic coming sometime early July 2015)! I got a new job, teaching primarily high school English. It’s as if all the things I’ve wanted for the past few years came together in one giant year.

Of course, when major life events happen, there’s a lot of busy-ness tied into them. Moving is a hassle. Getting things in place in a new school is a substantial amount of work and time. And my priorities have shifted from me and my students to me and my wife, and our forthcoming child. So where is the reading in all of this?

Well, I’m pleased to announce: it’s there.

It’s there in the moments between the events. Waiting for the nerves to settle the night before getting married? Read a book. Waiting for the wife to get home from work? Read a book. Waiting for the doctor? Read a book. My wife and I always have books by our sides, always looking to sneak in that extra reading when we can. And it has paid off.

In 2014, I read:

  • 76 books (including 18 graphic novels, 11 picture books, 2 audio books, and 1 novel-in-verse)
  • ~19500 pages (an increase of a couple hundred from 2013)
  • all of the Across the Universe and Giver series
  • several ARCs which helped me share some upcoming titles and books with my students
  • several books with my wife (audio books helped us stay on the same page since she practically laps me while reading)
  • from my students’ recommendations
  • a manuscript for a friend
  • for pleasure

There are plenty of things I did not do in 2014 that I would have liked to in regards to my reading and writing, but I’m not going to mention those here, because what’s the point? The point I want to make is that I did read, and I enjoyed it a whole heck of a lot. It wasn’t too long ago that I would consider myself a non-reader (though those days are seeming more and more in the distant past now). To have read as much as I have in the past 4 years (when I really turned it on) is a giant success.

For 2015, I hope I can help my students find those successes as well. Will they read 70+ books? Some of them will. Some of them will read 200+ and not bat an eye. Some of them will read 3. Some might only read 1. Whatever it is, I hope they are able to find success with it. It doesn’t mean more than the previous year (though for a lot of them, that will be the case). It just means identifying as a reader. As someone for whom reading a book is as natural a thing as breathing, binge-watching The West Wing (seriously, how did I not watch this when it was on?), or helping out a stranger in need. That’s my goal for this year: to continue that for myself, and to encourage that in others.

Have a great year, everyone!

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