2021 has arrived! Somehow, we survived 2020. I suspect in large part via escapism, at least for me, was responsible for being delivered sanely through this year of chaos.
2020 was another year where I only posted twice on a blog I keep telling myself I'll make regular weekly posts on.
Where'd ya get em?
About half a dozen books I read were ones that were assigned for classes ("Art Work", "Highbrow Lowbrow" "The Essentials Of Journalism" "The Home Place", "To Love The Wind and The Rain" to name a few). I've decided to actually read through the entire books that are assigned in my classes, to seriously ensconce myself in the information and mentality of the Journalism degree I'm working towards at Stony Brook University.
A few books (Hate Inc. and The Missing Year Of Juan Salvatierra and "The Three Paradoxes") were sent to me as surprised by my pen pal. His music, book and movie recommendations are almost always on point. Both of these suggestions were incredible, thanks Cam.
Now Hear This: Listen and Learn
The quarantine and pandemic scenario allowed for a lot more reading at home. I also was furloughed from my job of 10 years and ended up doing gig work driving for Grub Hub. Suddenly driving 30-40 hours a week, I was granted the chance to listen to a lot more audiobooks.
28 of the books I "read" were read to me. I use audible, and have a subscription (a bit pricey, admittedly and this coming year I'm going to try to use the virtual library network "Libby" and "Overdrive" for my audiobooks, as it is free with a library membership. The audiobooks I've been choosing are still dictated by books on my Yet-To-Read shelf and I've been taking the audio as an opportunity to get through more of what I intend to take in.
Where'd Ya Buy Em?
One place I kept finding myself impulsively buying books through is ABE BOOKS for cheaper used books that are aggregated from thrift stores, small book stores and libraries. Some other more independently mindful or less mega-rich alternatives to Amazon are "Thriftbooks" or Indiebound.org
A lot of the comics, if I got them in person, were from my local comic shop in Smithtown, Fourth World Comics. They're a family owned business that have such an immense variety of comics, toys, graphic novels, books and art and yet with all of this, they're remarkably organized. They've been the crux of my comic reading journey the last few years.
Typically, when I'm traveling or just wandering around the towns of Long Island, if I stop into a book store, thrift store, antique shop or tag sale, chances are I'm going to buy a book if it is cheap and seems like something I would read eventually, even years down the line, I end up buying it. I enjoy the thrill of the treasure hunt, it's gratifying to pick up a new book and I have the opportunity to support a little business in some small way. If I'm traveling, the book becomes a landmark or memory and an instructive souvenir of sorts that does more for me than a keychain or some other inevitably dust-collecting curio.
As always, all of the books below will be embedded with info or purchasing links ( I tried to use independent booksellers or directly from publishers and avoid amazon etc where possible).
For 2021, I've decided on an experimental "resolution" of sorts. In an attempt to whittle down some of my ever-stocked Yet To Read shelf I'm opting not to buy myself any books (unless I need them for my college classes). This will hopefully both impose some discipline, save some money and contribute to every reader's laughable promise to mitigate the towering stacks of literature they hoard in promise to read.
Happy reading, Please comment with suggestions and let me know if you've read any of these and your thoughts on them!
Short Story Collections: