2020 Reading

There have been some years where I could read over 20 books (I’m looking at you, 2014). Now that I have two children, work full time, discovered the NYTimes Crossword puzzle app, and struggle with my thyroid disease, reading is not the joyous past-time that it once was.

But that doesn’t stop me from trying!

This year I’m hoping to read 20 books in 2020, and because I’m a ridiculous goal setter and planner, I’ve mapped it all out.

On New Year’s Day, I did my annual Tarot spread (shall I post about that another time?). One of the best books I own is called “The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life” by Jessa Crispin. In it, the author goes through the basics of Tarot, and then uses the deck as a guidebook for the creative process. With each card, she also includes books, music, poetry, and other art forms to enhance the reading. BRILLIANT!

This year I decided to research my own interpretation of the cards, and what book I could add as a supplement. Here’s my list:

In my loose and extremely distilled interpretation, I’ve picked the following books to match the cards drawn (the first two suggested by The Creative Tarot):

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III of Cups (a card that celebrates female companionship and collaboration): The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters, edited by Charlotte Mosley. “Carefree, revelatory and intimate, this selection of unpublished letters between the six legendary Mitford sisters, compiled by Diana Mitford’s daughter-in-law, is alive with wit, passion and heartbreak.”

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II of Cups: A balanced relationship between partners: Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout. Through brilliant visual storytelling, Redniss walks us through Curie’s life, which was marked by extraordinary scientific discovery and dramatic personal trauma– from her complex working and romantic relationship with Pierre Curie, to their discovery of two new scientific elements, to Pierre’s tragic death, to Marie’s two Nobel Prizes. 

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Empress: A long (creative) gestation that needs to finally be birthed. I looked for something that took an author years to write and found Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi Wa Thong’o. A landmark of postcolonial African literature, Wizard of the Crow is an ambitious, magisterial, comic novel from the acclaimed Kenyan novelist, playwright, poet, and critic.

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Judgement: A spiritual awakening and rebirth. Naturally this means I should FINALLY read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

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The Sun: Warmth, Joy, and Playfulness. What better way to express that than with Julia Child’s My Life in France? Another book I can’t believe I haven’t already read. Julia’s unforgettable story—struggles with the head of the Cordon Bleu, rejections from publishers to whom she sent her now-famous cookbook, a wonderful, nearly fifty-year long marriage that took the Childs across the globe—unfolds with the spirit so key to Julia’s success as a chef and a writer, brilliantly capturing one of America’s most endearing personalities.

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The Moon: Let your dreams be your guide. A perfect card for the year ahead, in which I’m focusing on dreamwork! It’s been decades since I’ve read Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges, so this might be the right time to revisit his surreal and twisted tales. Borges sends us on a journey into a compelling, bizarre, and profoundly resonant realm; we enter the fearful sphere of Pascal’s abyss, the surreal and literal labyrinth of books, and the iconography of eternal return. To enter the worlds in Ficciones is to enter the mind of Jorge Luis Borges, wherein lies Heaven, Hell, and everything in between.

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VI of Swords: Move forward, slowly but surely. Or in other words, Bird by Bird, as Anne Lamott puts it! For a quarter century, more than a million readers—scribes and scribblers of all ages and abilities—have been inspired by Anne Lamott’s hilarious, big-hearted, homespun advice. 

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Five of Pentacles: Rejection Shows You Tried. Keep knocking on those doors and if they don’t want you, create your own club. I looked for something about outsiders and found What Lies Between Us: A Novel, a story of a woman divided between two cultures and the crimes she commits.

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Do you have a potential reading list for 2020? Or am I ridiculously crazy for even thinking that far ahead? Chances are, I’ll buy half of these, read a few pages of one book, and end up enjoying a stack of my kiddos’ graphic novels.

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