I am right now two books away from completing my goal of reading one hundred books in 2016. While for most of my teenage years I neatly surpassed this number without it even being a conscious goal, it has been a difficult habit to regain in recent years. It’s not an issue of time. It never is. There is always time to do anything you genuinely want to do, if you are honest enough with yourself. But, for me, the problem was one of bandwidth. I didn’t have enough room in my head or capacity in my heart to take in others’ stories and feelings, even if they were fictional. I was already full. I was already overwhelmed. And so it has taken a while to re-learn how to do what I used to do so easily.
In that context, I have enjoyed having a concrete goal of books to read and keeping track of them (via Goodreads). I did not have specific number set for films, but taking them in (and recording them on Letterboxd) followed the same principle. It reminded me that reading books and watching films makes me happy, and being reminded to do more of it, by whatever means, is worth it.
Since I was mostly easing myself back into consuming good things during 2016, I haven’t a comprehensive “best of” list for you. There were plenty of great books and films that came out this year that I haven’t got to yet. But, here, for what it’s worth, are some of what I did take in and most appreciated.
Moving into 2017, I’m setting myself new book and film goals. If you do as well, which I recommend, I also recommend using whatever number you choose as a means, not an end. All it is is a framework. Within it, make room for something new.