Hi! 19 is my all-time favorite number. The New Year always represents a lot for me, but this year feels especially meaningful because 19 is my all-time favorite number. I’m kind of kidding, there’s more to it than that, but I can’t pretend I’m not a superstitious person who places a lot of meaning on things that some people might write off as coincidence, or meaninglessness. So I have a really good feeling about 2019.

2018 was really hard, obviously for the whole world, but also for me. It was a hard year professionally, finishing by far the busiest year at work after getting promoted to associate publicist right as the year kicked off. I felt like I was floundering almost immediately after my promotion, through the summer and fall. It wasn’t a great feeling. It was hard to balance that level of work with my personal life, and I felt like a lot of my relationships were floundering, too. My best-NYC-friend left NYC at the end of 2017, and literally one hour into 2018, another friend confided that they’d been struggling in ways I could’ve never imagined, which seemed to color the whole year.

And yet! So many wonderful things happened. I got to go back home not once but twice, to celebrate one of my best friend’s beautiful marriage with all my other best friends; I started running races again, and subsequently got to spend more time with my brother; I found a really solid, wonderful community of friends through a book club (what else?); I adopted a cat! And I realized how many people I have around me every day who care about me, especially when things are hard. It’s annoying that sometimes things have to be hard in order for you to realize how lucky you are, but that’s life. And! I managed to learn from the crazy workload – last year for sure prepared me for what I’m dealing with at work already in the new year (setting up a 3-week book tour less than two months from on-sale, (mostly) without breaking a sweat.)

I’m not saying I wouldn’t change some things about 2018, because I probably would if I could. But I also think that, solely because of 2018, I’m in a much better place in relation to my friends, family, body, and city, than I was at the end of 2017. So I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Wow this was going to be about my reading goals! Oops. At least – no matter what the year throws at us – you can always depend on me to ramble in writing and take the longest possible road to get to my point.

Books. In 2018, I wanted to read 75 books, and I got to 64. Meh, at this point I’m pretty used to not meeting my goal, so I’m not too distraught. I also joined that aforementioned book club, so that dictated my reading a little more than in years past. I felt like I read more books that I didn’t love than ever before, so that did get me thinking about choosing not to finish a book if you’re not loving it… But otherwise, I don’t really have any sweeping takeaways from my 2018 reading goal, which is a bit of a letdown.

BUT that’s why I’m so excited about my new goal for 2019. This is the first year since I started this blog five (!) years ago that I’m choosing not to set a number of books I want to read. My goal will not revolve around the number of books I read, but rather the type of book. I want to focus on “intimidating books,” which can mean a lot of things but which primarily reflects how I feel about either a) the length of the book, or b) its content.

I own a lot of books (too many books, according to the people who have to help me move apartments and are ready to burn my library by the end of it.) And a lot of the books I own are books that I haven’t read yet. 2019 is going to be about making a dent in those books, especially the long, scary ones. I got Infinite Jest like 7 years ago as a Christmas gift, but I haven’t read it because 1,000 pages is daunting. I don’t know how long I’ve owned Middlemarch by Geoge Eliot, without ever cracking it open. Same with The Brothers Karamazov, even though I deeply love Russian literature!

I own so many books that I haven’t read, and I haven’t read so many of those books because I’ve been too preoccupied by trying to read 50 or 75 or 100 books in a year, and it just doesn’t make sense with that goal in mind to dive into a book that will almost certainly take me a whole month to read. So that’s my goal. I’m not sure exactly how it’s going to change my blogging, but I think I’ll mostly likely revert back to the old days of longer, more in-depth reviews instead of saving a bunch of reviews up and posting short ones every other month. But we’ll see, I’m not thinking that far ahead.

And! I really buried the lede on this one, but in other personal book news: I started a Bookstagram! It seems strange that I’m on year-5 of this blog, but never thought to create a Bookstagram counterpart. Better late than never, I guess? So if you’re on Insta and want to follow along on my bookish daily life, please feel free to follow me @sleeprunreadrepeat. It’s been fun so far.

AND AND! Wow, REALLY buried this lede but: remember how sometimes this blog is about running?! Well, I have some huge running news. I registered for the 2019 Chicago Marathon!!! I am TERRIFIED!!!!! But also so, so excited. I’ll be running with my friend, Amanda, who you’ve seen on here before (we did a Chicago half, a Marion half, and the Tyranena Half together). And I’m running it as a St. Jude Hero! Meaning I’m raising money for St. Jude Children’s & Research Hospital. If you feel like donating, I would be eternally grateful. Here is my donation link.

And regardless, I really am eternally grateful to anyone who is reading this. Thanks for sticking with me and reading my rambles and talking books and running and life with me (or at least, letting me talk books and running and life at you).

Here’s to 2019, the best year yet. ◊

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