My Andrea Reads America project is now 5 years old. I started in November 2013, and I am currently reading New York: state number 32 of 50. I’ve got 18 states (54 books) to go.
I’m ready to be finished. Why do I commit myself to stuff like this?
Finding books I like has been pretty hit or miss. I’ve discovered a few books through this project that I would have likely never read without it, like The Book of Unknown Americans set in Deleware, A Thousand Acres set in Iowa, and The Ox-Bow Incident set in Nevada. I’m certain I wouldn’t have taken on Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury without this project, and I probably wouldn’t have read Patti Smith’s Just Kids, which is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.
But because I want to finish, to get out from underneath this dumb promise I made to myself, I often find myself reading books out of obligation rather than pleasure. “I need two more books from New Mexico, but I’m not really in the mood for any of the options I’m finding.”
When I come across a book that sucks me in, I am delighted. The other night, when I held my book in front of my face as I walked around the house, read as I loaded dishes in the dishwasher, and took my book into the closet with me and continued reading as I grabbed a sweater, switching the book from hand to hand so I could keep reading while I put my arms in the sleeves, I knew I’d found a good one.
I’m reading The Godfather, and rather than wishing it were 150 pages so it will be over soon, I’m excited that it’s a long one.