Discover more from what you love is your fate
2022 in what I've read
+ my relationship with reading & self-help
In 2022 I read 37 books. I’m most proud of how I’ve renegotiated my relationship with reading. Books used to be investments. When I started high school, I read Dale Carnegie and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People during my morning commute. When I was 16 I learned about startups and read whatever people who want to join a world-saving company read: Bold, The Courage to be Disliked, When Breath Becomes Air, Leonardo da Vinci’s biography. Now I no longer (primarily) think of books in terms of their payoff and takeaways. This year I read a lot of fiction, short story collections, and memoirs — stories about women’s relationship to themselves and love. I read more because I wanted to write better.
I really love reading. I love being changed by what I read, like a soft clay. I also love reading for its own sake.
Over the years I’ve understood more deeply my strengths, needs, desires… Just, the way I function lmao. When I was a middle schooler my dad introduced me to gurus like Tony Robbins, which helped me because I was clueless on how to do anything like socialize or manage my time. (Actually, 14 year old me probably didn’t need self-help that badly because 14 is so young, therefore more time to make my own mistakes and learn lmao). Generally the self-help canon seems really helpful for people who just don’t know where to begin. But I think after experimentation and self-discovery, self-help has to be self-cultivated. You’ll have to be intentional about curating who you absorb from. The best advice comes from people you want to be more like, in some way. People whose qualities you’d like to nurture within yourself. Strictly speaking in consumption, it will come from revisiting the body of quotes/passages/lines you highlight, if you’re like me. Here’s a passage that resonated with me by Maggie Nelson:
I know now that a studied evasiveness has its own limitations, its own ways of inhibiting certain forms of happiness and pleasure. The pleasure of abiding. The pleasure of insistence, of persistence. The pleasure of obligation, the pleasure of dependency. The pleasures of ordinary devotion. The pleasure of recognizing that one may have to undergo the same realizations, write the same notes in the margin, return to the same themes in one’s work, relearn the same emotional truths, write the same book over and over again — not because one is stupid or obstinate or incapable of change, but because such revisitations constitute a life.
So anyways, out of the 37 books here is what I enjoyed reading most this year! I’ll start with books, then two online posts whose advice regularly echoes in my head.
Bliss Montage by Ling Ma
Animal by Lisa Taddeo
The Vanishing Princess by Jenny Diski
Lust and Other Stories by Susan Minot
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Bad Behaviour by Mary Gaitskill
Ghost Lover by Lisa Taddeo
An Enlarged Heart by Cynthia Zarin
Two Cities by Cynthia Zarin
The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknovitch
Time is a Mother by Ocean Vuong
Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
The Hurting Kind: Poems by Ada Limon
Gravity and Grace by Simone Weil
Against White Feminism: Notes on Disruption by Rafia Zakaria
Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? by Mark Fisher
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
How to be a Straight-A Student by Cal Newport
Advice posts that influenced me a lot (not exhaustive at all lol, just ones I feel like sharing)
Avoid Little Leagues — “Little leagues are places where you’ll develop more slowly, to an asymptote that’s lower than it might be elsewhere.”
the art of saying no — “As Caroline Donofrio put it, every ‘no’ protects a ‘yes.’ The priority. The dream. The path that resonates more. Or just a precious pocket of time.”
Let me know what you’ve read in 2022, and if there’s anything you think I should read ! It’s late as I’m posting this so everything I wrote might be totally incoherent. Thx for reading !
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