Last year, I read a total of 55 books (my goal was 30). It was really fun to track what I’d read for the first time ever, so I decided to do the same for 2020. For the first two months, I was well on track to exceed my goal of 52 books (one a week), with at least 12 of them being nonfiction (one a month). Two weeks in Iceland meant a decent amount of reading, and I just had a long list of books I really wanted to get to.
And then the pandemic hit close to home here in Kirkland at the very end of February. From that point on, I was reading a ton of news and playing a lot of PokemonGo, because it didn’t require a lot of brain power. I (mostly) kept up with my blogging, at least on Wednesdays and Fridays, but my attention has been really scattered.
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I managed to finish the last of the Clan of the Cave Bear series, very, very slowly, but after that I had more or less ground to a halt. Eventually, I decided to give audiobooks a shot for the first time in a few years, and I found that I could listen to those much better than I could focus my eyes on written copies. Even so, most of them tended to be re-reads so that I could listen but it was okay if my focused drifted.
As time went on and the pandemic became more solidly “real life” versus the suspended animation feel of the first month or two, I was able to branch out and listen to new books that I hadn’t read before (including Vicki Robin’s absolutely wonderful Blessing The Hands That Feed Us). Written books, though, still were mostly out of reach. I slogged through them, but I didn’t get the joy I normally did; I kept trying to read simply because I felt that I should.
Falling Into Magic
My mother has been an author most of my life. Her first book came out when I was just eight years old. She’s a parenting author, and her dozen books have been translated into more than thirty five languages. Her most recent parenting book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Newborns, was inspired by my kiddo and his photos and sleep charts feature in the book.
She is someone who inspires me on the path to financial independence, because she has a successful career and doesn’t need to work, but still does because she loves what she does and the impact she makes on families. That said, she has talked for years about writing a fiction novel, and this year, she did.
Falling Into Magic: Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic was published on November 12th, but I read it as an early editor for her. It is a lovely fantasy novel based in a fictional island town that reminds me of many of the seaside areas in the Pacific Northwest. The fluffy cat on the cover is one of the stars of the novel, and I’m so excited to see her own love interest play out in the next book.
Falling Into Magic is a fantasy book that has been aptly described as Disney/Hallmark, though the witch is definitely of a different sort, and another one of my favorite characters. The characters are diverse, hilarious, and smart, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. Better yet, I actually read the book in just a couple of days. It was exactly the right amount of fluff and lighthearted story that I needed in 2020.
Since reading the advanced copy a couple months ago, I’ve found my stride again when it comes to reading books – not just listening to them. I’m still listening to audiobooks when I’m out on a run or in my car, but otherwise, I find myself drawn back to reading the written word. After finishing Falling Into Magic, I’ve since finished another eight books (and a couple audiobooks). The common thread with all of the books I’ve read since then? They are all upbeat, light, enjoyable reads with a happy ending.
This year has had enough bad, dark, tough times. My reading these days needs to be a positive escape, a balm for the everyday. It took reading my mom’s book to have that sink in. I don’t have to read anything that isn’t working for me right now. In normal years, I mix in the lighter, fluffy reads with more “serious” stuff. This year, though, I am now leaning into the books that bring me joy – Falling Into Magic was one of those, and the numerous series I’ve read since then are as well.
I love reading, and I’ve found my way back. I may not be reading many of the more difficult, dense books on my reading list, but I am reading. And it feels so good.
Are you reading these days? What is your most recent favorite read?