Confession: I read for a period a year, and normally not something new. I reread the entire Harry Potter series maybe with a little Jane Austen thrown in to calm myself down and center myself after the chaos that a long fall / holiday season brings.
Winter hibernation, I relish in the endless time off, the afternoon naps and blowing off unessential work. Usually when I have a few days to collect my thoughts, rest and recuperate I get excited to get back on the racetrack. I usually have a million ideas for the year zooming around in my head that can't wait to burst forth. But I don't feel like that this year. It's been nearly two weeks into the new year, three since my crazy work time ended, and I just feel tired. Unmotivated. Lethargic. And I spent the last 48 hours being unable to tear myself away from Zadie Smith's Swing Time. B gave it to me for Christmas and said "you need to read something other than Harry Potter."
I don't know if work was just that chaotic that I'm still not fully recovered, or if my energy levels are depleting in general, or if this year was just so politically / emotionally rough that I haven't been fully able to reenter the world yet.
I'm going to be up on my soapbox in the future about representation. The need for it and the lack of it. For me, 2016 felt like I was stranded on a boat, lost in a sea of upper middle class white female voices. I delete tweets all the time. You know those really impulsive political ones that feel so right in your heart, but then you read them over later and you realize that either people won't understand, or disagree with your perspective.
I nod and agree a lot to avoid having to engage in an actual conversation with people about a perspective they're discounting, or how their speaking Spanish all the time to prove their worldliness is just fucking annoying.
Sometimes I feel really alone in these ideas and feelings. My gut reaction to finding out that the author of No. 01 Ladies Detective Agency is an old white British man, forcing me to cut ties with the entire franchise, was simultaneously enraging and heartbreaking. These are the kinds of feelings I have been coping with this year.
I could sing the praises of Swing Time, but you already know why it's a great read. But for me, it made me feel less alone, less odd, less frustrated with how I see the world. I'm not saying my perspective on the world is complete, or correct, but it was nice to see it at least validated.