📚 January 2023 Ranked Reading Recap
Historical fiction, buzzy releases, and exquisitely sad stories
As you know, I’ve decided that 2023 is going to be my year of slow reading. I’m exercising my focus and stretching my deep reading muscles to get more out of my reading life. So perhaps this will be surprising to hear, but I read a lot of books in January.
This same phenomenon has happened to me before. I commit to slowing down my audiobook speed. I pick up more challenging books. I read deliberately. And lo and behold, I find I end up reading more than when I rush through my books. I think this happens for a couple of reasons:
I enjoy my reading more when I read deeply. And of course, the more I enjoy my reading, the more free time I devote to it. I cut back on podcasts and TV shows and use that time for my books…leading, of course, to more books read.
Reading deliberately helps me pick the right books for me. When I concentrate on how I’m reading, I pay greater attention to what I’m reading. That helps me cut through the noise of bookstagram and buzz, and actively discern what feels right to me in the moment.
Of course, this could all come to a crashing halt and maybe this month I’ll only have a handful of books to share. But that’s okay with me. Because—if the two rules above hold true—I’ll enjoy those books more and they’ll be just right for me.
If you want to read more deeply this year, but are worried about keeping up with ALL THE BOOKS, I want to encourage you to give slow reading a try—maybe just for a limited time. Pick a month to commit to slow reading: bump down that audio speed, read with a pencil in your hand, reread sentences that you find particularly beautiful or don’t quite understand. Maybe this won’t work for you. And that’s okay! Maybe the quality of your reading will be so vastly improved, you won’t give a second thought to how many books you finished in a month. But it’s possible, even likely, that the quality and quantity of your reading will see improvement, and how wonderful would that be?!
Today I’m sharing the fifteen books I read in January. My monthly Ranked Reading Recaps are a special perk for paid newsletter subscribers and Patreon supporters. If you’re looking for a community of readers dedicated to exploring literature deeply and thoughtfully, consider becoming a Patreon Book Clubber. If you’re not in the market for a literary community, but want access to all my unfiltered thoughts on books, curated book lists, and tips for getting more out of your reading life, the paid version of this newsletter might be right for you. Now is a great time to sign up to take advantage of my three-year Substack anniversary offer and get 20% off an annual membership!