90 Books Read in 2017

2017 sets a new record for the number of books I have read in a year. Based on my reading history, I read almost twice as much as I did last year, which was 50, and 20 more than the numbers in 2014, which was 70.

In retrospect, I can see how I pulled it off. I have started a reading ritual. Each morning I wake up at 5 am and read until 7:30 am—before the kids get up. Each night, I read from 9:30 or 10 pm, depending on when the kids are fastened asleep, until midnight or one in the morning. During the day, I read whenever I have a few minutes here and there like half an hour at lunchtime or while one of my kids napping in the car on a Saturday afternoon. I always carry a book with me everywhere I go just in case I have to wait in a long line for coffee.

Over the summer, I took a trip back to Vietnam to see my dad. During the 20 plus hours of flights and connections, I read rather than slept. Even in Vietnam, I did not take any tour. I spent most of my time with my dad, my family, and my books.

Before went back to the States, I gave my iPhone 5s to one of my nieces. Back home I didn’t have a cell phone for three months. During that time, I read even more. I did not check social media as often as before. I did not follow the news vigorously like I had with a smartphone. If it were not for work, I would not have bought a new phone.

With Trump dominating the media since he has become president, I needed to find an escape route. Books came to rescue. They kept me sane and away from politics and Trump’s idiotic tweets and stupidities.

As for the type of books, I still read mostly nonfiction. In addition to English, I have read quite a bit of Vietnamese books this year. The trip back to Vietnam rejuvenated I love for Vietnamese. Having used much Vietnamese since fifth grade, I have a lot of relearning and catching up to do, but it feels great to read and write my native language again. Because accessing Vietnamese books are limited in Fairfax public libraries, I get my hands on whatever the latest books available. They have more fiction than nonfiction. Although the collection is small, I am very grateful that Fairfax public libraries have a section for Vietnamese books.

For my reading habit, I experimented with switching between English nonfiction and Vietnamese fiction. I find the alternating to be quite rewarding. I like the balance and the ability to read both of the languages I love so dearly. I will continue with this approach.

For 2018, I won’t try to break my record. Instead I want to focus on reading thicker books (between 400 to 500 pages). Reading has become my obsession and I will read as long and as much as I can. It is one of my joys in life.