Well, there’s no way around it. This blog has been on life support for so long that it was time to make a choice: either zap it and see if I could kick start its heart once more, or pull the plug.
After some soul-searching and late night tossing & turning, I’ve come to a decision…
The blog lives on!
I never meant to neglect this site as badly as I have done, but I suppose no one ever starts these kinds of endeavors with that intention. The truth is that I’ve been channeling all of my energies into our other site, 20 Years Hence, where I document the travel adventures we’ve been having while gallivanting through Asia and it’s left me little time for anything else. In between writing over there AND all the traveling we have been doing to fuel that writing, I’ve barely read anything, which is part of why I’ve not updated here. I stopped following many of the bookish sites I used to turn to daily because I was so overwhelmed with keeping abreast of what’s happening in the travel world. Plus, we travel light and I’ve been mostly limited to reading on my iPad, which… is better than not having anything at all, but I find it a lot harder to sink into that transcendent state of reading bliss that I so effortlessly slip into when I’ve got a paper book in my hands. When I did manage to read a book, I was generally so tired mentally speaking that I didn’t even bother to log it in my trusty Excel books spreadsheet that keeps track of my reads, although I did still use GoodReads to track them… that’s how I know that last year I apparently read 20 books (remember when I used to read 70+?!?). Most of those, however, were in an official capacity as I do still review for BookPage (thank goodness for egalleys!)… if not for that, I shudder to think how tiny that number might be.
A confession: For a long time, I was so busy with this new adventure, this new life, that I didn’t miss reading. My days felt full as they were and I didn’t want to spend my time escaping to anywhere else. But the longer we’ve traveled, the more I began to miss curling up with a good book and engaging my mind through the act of reading. Sometimes you have to lose a good thing to realize how much it means to you, and in my case, my drop in reading has only helped me appreciate how vital it is to me. It restores me, it keeps my mind active, it makes me a better writer, it inspires and enlightens me, and above all else, it makes me happy. More than that, I realized how much I missed the act of talking about what I was reading, the way blogging about books had helped me really engage and think deeply about the books I picked up. On the rare occasions I did read this past year, my brain felt fuzzy and unfocused, like I wasn’t really engaging with what I was reading, and I’d often finish books only to forget about them immediately with no insights into themes or meaning. In essence, I was in the reading slump to end all reading slumps.
Although Tony & I are still traveling, we’re slowing down our pace and are basing ourselves in Vietnam for a few months so that we can work on other projects. When we settled into the apartment we’ll call home for the next three months, I realized the thing I was most excited about was having the time and opportunity to get back to reading and dive into some books. My mental malaise and the exhaustion I was feeling towards reading has been replaced by enthusiasm and excitement anew. I’m looking forward to rekindling this long lost love affair with both books and writing.
What’s done is done and I can’t go back and make up for lost time, so instead I’m just going to start fresh. No run downs on what I did read while away (Ok, if you must know, the best books I read last year were: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh, and The People in Trees by Hanya Yanagihara. All three were excellent, five-star reads. The worst books are probably not worth remembering. ) and no more excuses on why I didn’t write about it here. I’m letting it lie and moving on.
I never really had a former reviewing policy before my hiatus and I won’t institute one now. In fact, I’m looking forward to having a place where I can write unfettered and openly, without any agenda other than to record whatever thoughts I happen to have about the things I read. In books, all things are possible and I’m embracing that in my approach. I hope there are still some people out there who might be interested in what I have to say, but if not, I’m still going to do it for myself and for posterity. I miss my in-depth reading log and a place where writing has always been fun. I can’t promise I’ll always (if ever) have brilliant things to share about what I read, but I’ll give it my best shot and we’ll see what happens.
If you’re one of our faithful readers from way back who never unsubscribed from our RSS feed and you’re reading this, thanks for sticking around. I missed you too.