Historical fiction and nonfiction books are my favorite genres to read. Growing up, I loved reading a book that transported me to a different time and place and that has not changed.
While I have been reading more and more contemporary fiction and personal growth books through the years, my love of historical books has remained.
I have been keeping track of the books I’ve read for the past couple of years and have intentionally focused on my reading life, increasing my use of the library and expanding my recommendation sources, from podcasts to bookstagram. As such, I have dramatically increased the number of books that I read each year, including historical books. Last year 34 of the 66 books that I read (51%) were historical books!
As I rearranged my bookshelves for the new year, I decided to scan all of my books into the Book Buddy app, recommended by Whitney at the Unread Shelf Project. Since I tend to purge my shelves of books that I have already read often, I knew I had a lot of unread books but was shocked by the results. Of the 380 books that I currently own, 266 were unread, with 48 historical fiction books and a whopping 85 historical nonfiction books unread! Wow!
That’s when I decided that 2020 was going to be my Year of Historical Reading. I have so many historical books, particularly nonfiction, on my bookshelves that I want to read but just haven’t found the time. From Doris Kearns Goodwin tomes to dozens of books on women in the Civil War, I vow that 2020 is going to be the year that I read them.
This means I will have to give up chasing the latest and greatest novel and will have to forego the pull of bookstagram. I realize that I don’t even like some of these hot new books, particularly mysteries or thrillers. Those just aren’t in my wheelhouse so why am I forcing myself to get through them? Because it is the latest recommendation from bookstagram or because it is a hot seller?
As a recovering completist, I tend to not quit a book once I get started, and usually I like it well enough to justify pushing through. There were two contemporary fiction novels, in particular, that I read in 2019 that were so emotionally difficult that I put them down but then guilted myself into picking them back up. As I begin this mindset change, what if I see this as pushing through on a book that wasn’t meant for me and is keeping me from reading a book I would truly love?
Of course, there are exceptions to any rule, and I do plan to read a few books outside of the historical genres. I am especially looking forward to Anne Bogel’s Don’t Overthink It and a few personal growth and parenting books that I purchased at the end of 2019. As a member of a couple of book clubs, I also plan to read the books chosen each month, whether historical or not. By the end of 2020, though, I want at least 85% of my reading life to be historical books, and I hope to have made a huge dent in my unread shelves!
I am using a book tracker that one of my favorite bookish podcasts, Currently Reading, provides for its patrons (click here to join), to not only track my books but also genre, pages, and dates read. I expect to have lots of stats to share by the end of 2020!
Follow along with me on this journey! I plan to update periodically on social media so be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at #yearofhistoricalreading and #historymomreads to see what historical books I am reading. Maybe you will find your next favorite read there!
Here’s to a great bookish year, no matter what genre you choose as your favorite!