Another good reading year albeit not quite as prolific as last year. 41 books read in total, and nearly all for the first time. And once again, supplemented by thousands of news articles, opinion pieces and blog posts.
Rather than set out any specific goals for 2023 in terms of how much to read and what to read, I am simply going to aim to read every day and follow wherever the literary-nose takes me.
Having only read excerpts previously, I felt I should read the poem in its entirety given that 2022 was the centenary of its publication. I ended up reading it several times to fully digest it and did so with the support of this detailed hypertext version, which complemented the copy I had bought for Kindle, perfectly.[↩]
There will be a whole host of other things that we do this year. For example, keep doing the crossword every morning and continue to buy more ‘grown up’ furniture10 but the items above are the most immediate list of personal and shared goals that came to mind when I sat down to write this.
The ‘less, more, none’ approach was useful when I first started using it but I found myself shoe-horning items in to the format. I feel that a simple list is more flexible.[↩]
I failed miserably with this in 2021 yet I know how much it helps me both physically and mentally. [↩]
It’s been far too long since we (Jennifer and I) stepped foot in another town let alone another country. Keeping all fingers and toes crossed that we can get back on the road this year.[↩]
It’s also been far too long since we experienced art and culture without a screen being involved.[↩]
Reading more books over the past two years has undoubtedly had a positive impact on my mental health.[↩]
I completed an M.Edin 2013 but as I continue to consider whether Headship is something I want, I am thinking about completing an NPQH.[↩]
As noted in my review of last year, I am adding this but I need to give some genuine consideration to what I mean by ‘write regularly’? What type of writing do I want to do? Who am I writing for? What should I write about? Does it need to be published on this blog?[↩]
Neither of us seek to replace our devices when the latest and greatest phones/computers are released but both our laptops and phones are really starting to show their age. This looks like it will be the year to invest in replacing them.[↩]
We finally replaced the IKEA bed that we’ve had since we got married. It only took 17 years![↩]
I am really pleased with the way I managed my time this year. I maintained a good balance between my day to day tasks and larger projects. There were no changes to the systems or tools1 that I use, but I did adapt the way I approached some aspects of my job, improving my delegation and making best use of mornings to get two to three smaller tasks off my plate before the day has really begun.
looking at my mobile phone when people are talking to me
This is the second year now that I have been a lot better with this. I still find that I have to remind myself to put my phone away but I have built up some better habits around my phone in general that have helped a lot.
reading doomscrolling the news
I also did well with this. While I did keep up with some of the news surrounding the pandemic as well as the current political landscape2, I managed to direct my attention towards the culture and lifestyle sections of the paper most of the time. I was far happier spending time reading about people, places and ideas that could enrich my life rather than dwelling on everything that is wrong with the world.
I am sad to say that other than walking regularly, I failed to make exercise a priority in 2021. I have no genuine reason or excuse for this and plan to find ways to make sure that it is a priority in 2022.
I read 52 books in 2021. That is two more than my target and 11 more than 2020. I posted a complete list of everything I read on this blog.
We carried on where we left off in 2020 and added significantly to our savings. 💰💰💰
seeking opportunities for personal growth
Reflecting on this goal, I am not sure what I was considering exactly all the way back in January 2021 but I have achieved a few things this year that I am proud of:
I have finally achieved a sense of equilibrium at work and feel better placed to develop myself further as a leader and to be able to consider the next steps in my career
I have finally taught myself how to tackle cryptic crosswords, and while I am far from being an expert, I now understand the rules and can work my way (slowly) through the Guardian cryptic crossword
I have continued to develop my appreciation and knowledge of Jazz – in particular piano-led groups4 and the development of the be-bop and hard-bop styles.
This just did not happen and I do not have an answer to how I get back to writing regularly. Maybe I am not supposed to right now? I will likely include writing in my goals for 2022, but I think I need to reflect on the type of writing I want to do and where it is published to better understand where/how it fits into my life. I enjoy writing but since I completed my M.Ed in 2013 and took on more senior roles at work, I have consistently struggled to make it a regular habit.
making excuses when it comes to exercise
See my response to the first item in the ‘more’ section.
skipping my ‘morning reading’
I did not miss a single day and ended up re-reading the entire ‘Holy Bible’, not just Paul’s letters as I had intended. I did not make as much headway with ‘History of Western Philosophy‘ by Bertrand Russell5 but I did re-read (again) ‘Meditations‘ by Marcus Aurelius and I also finished ‘On Writing‘ by Stephen King, which was as much a biography as a guide to writing well.
It was another excellent reading year in which I met my goal to read more than 50 books in 2021. As the pandemic continued to plague us1, I found myself drawn toward re-reading a number of books that I had read before. There is definitely comfort to be found in the familiar. On top of the books I read this year, I was no less inveterate with the amount of news articles and blog posts that I consumed. Although, in-keeping with another of my goals, I avoided as much doom-leaden news as I could.
In 2022, I intend to continue my journey with the inimitable Inspector Maigret; immerse myself in George Smiley‘s battle with his nemesis Karla; and return to the fantastical realms of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and Tolkein’s Middle-earth.
Easily the most enjoyable, strange and challenging book I read this year.[↩]
Revisiting the world of Harry Potter during the summer holiday epitomises the pull towards comfort that I felt this year.[↩]
Having completed the Martin Beck series last year and the Inspector Morse series early this year. I needed to select the next detective, whose world I could lose myself within. I settled on Georges Simenon’s Jules Maigret and have not been disappointed. I am already 20 books in to the series of 75 currently available from Penguin.[↩]