Twelve months ago, looking back on my year in reading, I wrote that there was no better time to lose yourself in a book than 2020. 2021, sadly, was just as good a time. Or just as bad a time, take your pick.
Following on the heels of the weirdest year of my lifetime was the second weirdest year of my lifetime. I don’t want to prejudge 2022, but it isn’t looking like a great improvement.
This means plenty of downtime in lieu of social events. And reading is my main way of filling it. Somehow I managed to read even more in 2021 than in 2020: 77 books compared to 53.
Two reasons why I read more: Fourteen titles were audiobooks from local libraries played in my car. And, sad to say, in 2021 we had a full 12 months of pandemic life, not 9 1/2.
There’s nothing objectively remarkable about 77 books. You may have read more yourself, or more total pages; many of my books were fairly slim. Still, measured only against myself, 77 was the second-best total of my adult years.
Reading is what I do for fun (and sometimes for work). Not a day went by in 2021 without my reading at least a couple of pages, if not 20 or 50.
I saw friends as conditions allowed. And, with civic life stirring again, I went to a couple of art openings and ventured out to city council meetings for column material. (The Inland Empire may never be the same.)
But where once I might have seen 20 or 30 movies in a year, last year I saw three. Concerts? Zero. Travel out of state? Once. TV? Not my bag. Baking? Banana bread has too many carbs.
Books: all the time, baby.
I’ll take one to lunch, to a coffeehouse, on a Metrolink trip. A couple are on my nightstand. I even tote one to council meetings.
This was a wise choice at a Moreno Valley meeting that lasted five hours. During much of the proceedings, I half-listened while reading Mark Twain’s “The American Claimant.”
I love Twain and am working my way through his oeuvre. “Claimant,” though, is a real dog and I’d been plodding along. The meeting provided a breakthrough: I plowed through 60 pages. With that momentum, two days later I finished it.
An equally long San Bernardino meeting gave me time to race through 40 pages of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ undemanding “Llana of Gathol,” one of his Mars novels.
Like I said, 77 books is good for me. One colleague who reads but favors heavier tomes heard that number and exclaimed: “Dang, dude!” Yet if one elected official read a mere 77 books in a year, her friends and family would wonder what was wrong.
Janice Rutherford, a San Bernardino County supervisor, completed 206 books. Dang, dude.
I asked how she did it.
“I read quickly,” she replied, “so that’s helpful!” I would imagine so. As a slow reader, I envy the fast readers.
Nearly one-fourth of her books were audiobooks borrowed from the library, …read more
Source:: Los Angeles Daily News
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