Earlier today, I read a post on BookRiot titled HOW THE POLITICAL CLIMATE LED ME TO ROMANCE NOVELS, and the title held such promise. Unfortunately, the article itself went on yet another political diatribe. So allow me, if you will, to explain in my own way how the political climate of late has led me to read ever more.
In 2017, I read 80 books. In 2018, I’ve got closer to 120 or so on deck, and we’ll see how many of them I actually read. This, after struggling in 2008 to even read 53 books. Of course, 2008 was very different in terms of the US political climate and my own life. In 2008, I was newly married and working 100 miles (one way) from home. This was before the era of eBooks, and even audiobooks weren’t quite on full mp3 the way they are now. So I had to lug around physical books and could only read on my lunch break or a few hours at home – hours dominated by sleeping, eating, and spending time with my new bride. So 53 books that year was quite an accomplishment – one that my new bride said I should never ever repeat.
But over the last couple of years, I find the political discourse in the United States to be ever more rancorous, and honestly even I – the former Libertarian Party official and political blogger/ activist – am honestly getting sick of it. While I still debate more on Facebook than I should, I’ve also unfollowed quite a few pages, unfollowed or defriended many people, and blocked over 1500 people on Facebook in 2017 alone. But even with all of this, there is just so much discord out there. You almost can’t discuss a political topic, even among the closest of friends, without people speaking harshly to each other and in many cases seemingly coming close to throwing punches. And it doesn’t matter the topic or your position. Someone is inevitably going to disagree, and then the fight is on.
Hell, even when it comes to sports, the same discord shows through – often with similar if not identical language. Can’t even discuss weather, because someone will inevitably turn the discussion to climate change, and then the political fight is on yet again.
So I turn to entertainment. There are only a few select shows I actually enjoy watching, and I’ve now cut the cord – meaning I no longer have cable television. The video games I like to play are few and far between, but I’ve been known to dump hundreds of hours into the same few games (over the course of years). Music, as evidenced by this week’s Grammy Awards show, is increasingly becoming politicized. And there are only so many movies put out per year, even fewer that I actually want to see.
But my To Be Read stack of books I’ve already acquired – the only way they get onto my TBR list – is literally nearly 3000 books long, already more than I could possibly read in the remaining years I have on this planet. And I’ve got all kinds of stuff on the overall list. I’ve got classics of both fiction and philosophy, I’ve got romance (of many flavors), I’ve got scifi, I’ve got adventure, I’ve got drama, I’ve got various nonfiction. About the only things I don’t have on there are cookbooks, comics, and coloring books.
So I created the 2018 TBR list – a list of the books I am going to try to read in 2018. And I’m already reading number 15 on that list, plus I’ve already done a couple of Advance Reader Copy (ARC) projects. Please note that I am actually removing books from this list as I read them, so the list started out longer than what it currently shows as. For a list of the books I’ve read so far this year (minus unpublished ARCs), check out my 2018 Challenge.
With this project, I can thus get away from the rancor that is any discussion of anything remotely politically oriented and focus on escapism and some learning, but overall things I enjoy. I can carry my Kindle with me and when things get too heated, I can just escape into whatever book I’m currently reading. If the radio starts playing politicized music or ads, I can switch over to Audible and listen to at least a few of my books there.
I can have my own opinions, let others have their own, and we can be friends discussing books. What I’ve read, what they’ve read, what we want to read.
And maybe, just maybe, we can all figure out a way to survive this current climate in peace.