I love to read. It’s one of the reasons I study French literature, it’s one of the reasons I spent so many years working at Barnes & Noble, and it’s certainly the reason I have more than 300 books on my “To Read” list on Goodreads! But I usually steamroll through the books I read on my own without really thinking about the aspects that I enjoyed or what grated on my mind. Some friends and I started a book club to engage with the books we read in a more meaningful way–but of course also to see each other more often–and we manage to find many ways to process the content and style of each book.

So now, I would like to expand my personal engagement with the narratives I read, outside of the book club and my dissertation work. One of my goals is to appreciate more, but also more clearly, what I read. I want to be able to recall what the book was about, and also why I enjoyed or disliked it, and to articulate these things to others when they ask for a recommendation or mention they also read something in particular.

I will, going forward, spend the time processing my thoughts after each book. And perhaps I will go back to a few of my favorites–or my least favorites–to rethink the impression they have made on my reading choices going forward.