50 in 2014: Lessons learned from a year of reading books

Nathanael Yellis By Nathanael Yellis • Last Updated May 18, 2021

I only made it to 41.

The goal was to read 50 books in 2014. I ended up nine short. But I think that's ok.

Underlying the goal was to spend less time on the internet reading articles and more time deeply thinking about ideas. I was also thinking about the filter bubble and how my experience of the internet is partially a reflection of my own biases. Books let me escape that trap. And I certainly did: picking up books on the sidewalks of Capitol Hill broadened my literary horizons far more than reading Digg's recommended longreads ever could.

What did I learn? Here's what stands out to me now:

  • Historical biographies, especially short ones, teach me most memorably about the past.
  • Thematic reading, say multiple volumes on christian modernity for instance, is better than disconnected reading.
  • Literary fiction is restorative to my soul.
Now that Zuckerberg is doing it, everyone will jump on the annual reading goal bandwagon. But I was here first! And I'll stay here: my plan is to continue picking up a new book every week and blogging a bit about the best ones. (I'll probably post fewer books here but continue posting them all over at Goodreads.)

I'll post the remaining five reviews from 2014 here over the next week or so. If you want the sneak preview, here they are on Goodreads.

And of course, for the archive of this austere and wonderful year, here are all of the 50 in 2014 reviews on this blog.

What did you read last year?



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