100 Reads in 2020

Each 25th January I am hit with the same remorse as I recall that I have yet to make any meaningful progress on my dreams.

I think of Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers in Wales, and I think of Robert Burns, the Scottish poet and lyricist. It’s not a coincidence that I think of these two seemingly unrelated figures, they are drawn together in my mind in great part because the 25th January is both Dydd Santes Dwynwen (Saint Dwynwen’s Day) and Burns’ Night.

Partly due to my Celtic ancestral sympathies, and partly because I have a love of, well, many things related to the both of them, such as Wales, Scotland, writing, history, culture, nature, creativity and folk-stories, my feelings feel focussed and heightened on this day. Yet each year I am reminded that I’m no further forward than the last.

This year will be different, she said.

If this year is to be any different, I must take an approach that is proactive, meaningful, and useful. Mel Robbins‘ free course Best Decade Ever, with her free attachments to print off such as her toolkits and her Dream Book, is providing a spring board for me to take some little jumps forward. I’ve written my five big dreams for the decade, I’ve narrowed that list down to just one for this year’s theme, and the theme is WRITING.

Encouraged to brainstorm via some scribbling at the bottom of my Dream Book page for 26th January, I wondered what momentum my writing would take if I gave more time to reading. After all, some of my favourite novelists already share this pearl of wisdom, so I know it but I don’t readily apply it. What if I actually, meaningfully, did?

[I am readily prepared with my own excuses as to why I don’t read more, and the biggest of all is actually less excuse and more observation: reading wears me out. Everything I now do affects my medical condition, M.E., but seeing as I already know this, I can plan around it. I don’t have to stipulate how much I read every day, and on my worst health days, this may prove to be utterly unsconscionable. But I have to give it a go.]

What if I read every day?

What if I read something every day, and gave myself a list of 100 books/publications/journals (there’s really no need to be specific) to read?

Instead of the popular pastime of Run Every Day, which I specifically can no longer do for the foreseeable future, what if I gave my brain the training, gave my heart the workout, and my mind the techniques to become a great writer? I used to run well, I could race at many different distances and terrains, and I learnt strategies to help me cope when these became tough and emotional, to say the least. Can I transfer these skills into a writing practice?

I’m going to give this a shot. I will update this page throughout the year, adding to it whenever I read a new book or something else, and record how I manage this reading (intentionally) every day idea.


My 100 Reads for 2020 (so far)

  1. Dreams of Gods & Monsters—Laini Taylor
  2. Find Your Artistic Voice—Lisa Congdon
  3. Mslexia issue 84
  4. New Scientist issue 11 Jan
  5. New Scientist issue 18 Jan
  6. A Rare Book of Cunning Device—Ben Aaronovitch
  7. Tales of Max Carrados: The Coin of Dionysius—Ernest Bramah
  8. Tales of Max Carrados: The Game Played in the Dark—Ernest Bramah
  9. The End of the World Running Club—Adrian J. Walker
  10. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street—Natasha Pulley
  11. The Bedlam Stacks—Natasha Pulley
  12. Magpie Murders—Anthony Horowitz
  13. The Colony—F.G. Cottam
  14. The Outcasts of Time—Ian Mortimer
  15. The Radleys—Matt Haig
  16. Strange the Dreamer—Laini Taylor
  17. Flesh Wounds—Chris Brookmyre
  18. The Prisoner of Brenda—Colin Bateman
  19. Their Lost Daughters—Joy Ellis
  20. Differently Morphous—Yahtzee Croshaw
  21. Rivers of London—Ben Aaronovitch
  22. Moon over Soho—Ben Aaronovitch
  23. Whispers Underground—Ben Aaronovitch
  24. The Dead Pass—Colin Bateman
  25. The Muse—Jessie Burton
  26. The Secret Life of Bees—Sue Monk Kidd
  27. The Secret Hours—Santa Montefiore
  28. The Shadow of the Wind—Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  29. The Sacred Enneagram—Christopher L. Heuertz
  30. Broken Homes—Ben Aaronovitch
  31. Foxglove Summer—Ben Aaronovitch
  32. The Angel’s Game—Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  33. The Furthest Station—Ben Aaronovitch
  34. The Hanging Tree—Ben Aaronovitch
  35. Lies Sleeping—Ben Aaronovitch
  36. The October Man—Ben Aaronovitch
  37. False Value—Ben Aaronovitch
  38. Outlander—Diana Gabaldon
  39. The Lost Future of Pepperharrow—Natasha Pulley
  40. Things in Jars—Jess Kidd
  41. City of Girls—Elizabeth Gilbert
  42. Orlando—Virginia Woolf
  43. Just One Damned Thing After Another—Jodi Taylor
  44. A Symphony of Echoes—Jodi Taylor
  45. The Graveyard Book—Neil Gaiman
  46. Talking to Strangers—Malcolm Gladwell

By Yvie Johnson

"You are the root of your success."
Turbulent times will bring out the best in you, to make you stronger for yourself, and for others. Living with ME(cfs) and Bipolar Disorder, I'm taking one day at a time and arming my spirit and body with joy, love and gratitude for the journey ahead.