Reading List: Middle of 2020

For some time now, I have been contemplating a more regimented approach to my personal reading. Throughout most of my adult life, reading has been an intermittent habit overshadowed by work, television shows, and streaming movies. However, during the current COVID-19 pandemic and its requisite stay-at-home orders, my bookshelves have been dusted off a bit as the same free media content becomes dull and boring.

Why A Reading List?

Just the other day, I finished reading DUNE: The Battle of Corrin by the talented pairing of Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. I’ve read many books in my life and this one was not particularly exceptional, though good in its own right (my husband will have strong words for me when he reads this given his love for the Dune series). What struck me as gratifying was the sense of accomplishment I felt upon reading the last words on the last page of this 600+ page fictional story. Watching a movie is a passive experience and is over in a couple of hours. While reading a full-length book takes effort, concentration, and commitment – all things that contribute to feeling accomplished at the end of any particular book.

In the spirit of personal improvement (an ongoing theme of this blog for those who are new), I have selected a few titles I plan to read between now and the end of September. I have chosen these titles from a number of recommendations, my own curiosity, and my personal interests. I have set no expectations for this more structured approach to reading. This is an experiment and my reflection at the end of this experience will help determine if I continue this process in the future.

The Reading List

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

This book is about one Danish woman’s adventures in Kenya in the early 20th century. It is a love story, a story of war, and a story of personal adventure all wrapped into one. This also happens to be one of my mother’s long-time favorite authors and books. For those more in tune with the cinema, a movie adaptation of Out of Africa was made starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

With a longstanding presence on Bill Gates reading list (as well as the random stranger next to me in the airport bookstore in which I purchased my copy) this choice was one of curiosity. It has been billed as a humorous and insightful look into the development of the human race. With all the turmoil in the world today, maybe it will provide me a more optimistic outlook on the future of humankind.

Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space by Lynn Sherr

For anyone who doesn’t know, I have been a space geek since childhood. That’s right, I grew up on Star Trek, had the privilege to attend Space Camp in Alamogordo, New Mexico for three summers in a row, and have always dreamed of being a part of putting human’s into space. With the recent launch of the SpaceX Falcon9 rocket system propelling the Crew Dragon capsule with two American astronauts from the Kennedy Space Center, this book becomes even more fitting. The biography of Sally Ride should prove an inspiration to me and I am really looking forward to reading this one!

blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

This is another title recommended to me by some of my friends and colleagues. It aims to justify quick decisions to be as effective as long deliberated decisions, when to trust these rapid decisions and when not to, and understand how these snap decisions can be educated and controlled. An interesting introduction already has me turning the pages quickly!

Middle 2020 Reading List In A Place I Won’t Ignore Them

What Next?

I have my books picked out and a timeline selected. My books are stacked on my desk so I can’t forget about them or avoid this self-assigned task. I am still working on better scheduling my time (especially at night and over the weekends) to ensure I have what I need to complete this assignment.

Sounds like I am all set to start reading and digesting new information and stories!

I plan on writing a post about each of the books as I complete them as well as a reflection on the entire process when I have finished my reading list. It is my hope that my experiment in a more regimented reading approach will inspire others to put down the remote control (or phone or tablet) and pick up a book. Let’s see how this plays out!

What books are you reading? Anything you would recommend? Let me know in the comments below!