Friday, December 29, 2017

7ToF: How did it get to be the end of 2017 already? and the year-end reading report

1. Earlier this week, I thought I would be able to pound this one out quick on Thursday night, because I was just going to post the titles of 7 books I read during 2017 that were worth reading. But I just scrolled down through the list of books I read this year, and for some reason, none of them seem essential at the moment. I liked Station Eleven, Everything I Never Told You, 11/22/63 (my first Stephen King novel!), The Opposite of Everyone, and Magpie Murders well enough to give them each four or five stars, but I can't really remember them very well.

2. Splitting this up to make it easier to read. There were some good non-fiction books, too: Springsteen's autobio, Amy Poehler's Yes Please, Hillbilly Elegy (and a couple of others, see below).

3. And some good plane/beach reads: Act Like It, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, Sorceror to the Crown. And I'm in the middle of a couple that I doubt I'll finish before Monday so they will have to go on next year's list. I was flying through Uprooted last week. If it had ended at the halfway point, I might have said it was my favorite read of the year. But suddenly the heroine has gone from being understandably naive and rough around the edges to being annoyingly, obtusely stupid, and I was so disappointed I haven't picked it up in days now. I really should, because maybe it will get better again.

4. And believe it or not, I'm still reading Betty Neels. You know what they're perfect for? I've suffered periodically from insomnia all my life. When I was young, I couldn't go to sleep. Now that I'm old, I fall asleep no problem, but I wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep. If I flip open my e-reader to a Betty Neels, I'm back asleep in about five minutes. Love.

5. I've been fascinated by personality types since the life-changing event of discovering that I was an introvert when I was in my mid-twenties. Being an introvert was not a thing when I was a kid in the 60s. I used to get lectured regularly about not being friendly enough, reading too much, not wanting to play group games with the other kids/reindeer. When I was 24 or 25, I took a Myers-Briggs test in a group I was in and found out that less than 5% of the US population is my type (INTJ). Suddenly I realized I didn't feel like a Martian because I was weird and bizarre (well, OK, maybe I am), but because I had an unusual personality type. It was like someone handed me a reprieve from a life sentence of torture, always forcing myself to be outgoing and chatty. Bliss. One of the few truly life-changing moments I've had.

6. Then at work this past fall, everyone in my department went through DiSC personality typing, and then two bloggers I know of published books about personality types, and the bottom line is: I've been thinking about these ideas a lot. So if you're interested, Anne Bogel's Reading People is a good overview of the different systems out there, and Gretchen Rubin's The Four Tendencies describes different ways people respond to internal and external expectations. I find this stuff fascinating.

7. And, in fact, the reason I finally decided to start blogging again is because of a book about creativity based on personality types (Creative You: Using Your Personality Type to Thrive, hat tip to Anne Bogel for recommending it). I didn't read the whole thing, mainly just the section for my type, but it helped me solve a problem that has plagued me since I start blogging back in 2003: it seems pointless to blog if only a dozen people are reading it-- I could just email it to you, right? But when I started telling people about my blog and trying to promote/market it, while it worked (I got over a hundred readers the first time I mentioned my blog on Facebook), it made me really, really uncomfortable. Seriously uncomfortable.

But this book pointed out that for people of my type, sharing our work with others isn't the point. Of course you don't want to promote your work. This seems so obvious now that it's been pointed out to me that I feel a little stupid, but I was genuinely flummoxed by this problem. The whole point of the blogosphere is to go viral, to attract thousands of readers, to get pageviews and link backs and I don't know what else. But I hate that. I just like to write about what I'm thinking about. So I've only told one person besides Dean that I've started again. I can tell some of you are reading, and I appreciate it more than I can say, but I'm trying not to pay much attention to that.

That last one really should have been its own blog post, but whatever. I have another idea to tell you about, but I think I will save it for my next post. It's an experiment!! for the New Year!! If you need things to read and you want a preview, try this.

Have a great weekend.

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