In 2005 I began keeping a list of every book I read. The official home for that list is now in a Baron Fig Confidant notebook sturdy enough to survive forty or fifty more years of handling.
I read an average of fifty books each year. (I think my highest total was 75 and my lowest was 32, but those were extreme outliers.) One trend I’ve noticed over the years is that I finish more books in January than in any other month. That’s because I start more books—too many books—during the holidays. I’m usually not done with them before the end of holiday break, and so I scramble to finish the previous year’s backlog before starting new ones.
January 2019 was no different. I finished six books and got within just a couple chapters of finishing two others. January’s books included the new novel by Barbara Kingsolver, one book by an Amish farmer, another book inspired by the Amish, and three books by Wendell Berry. Mr. Berry, a mainstay on my reading list for as long as I’ve been keeping it, will—if this is even possible—be more prominent over the next several years, as I read through his collected works for my podcast.… Read the rest