Reflecting on good books read in a bad year

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I’ve made reading at least thirty books a year a goal since 2015. Some months I power through five or six books, while during others I may crawl through one. Some years I blast past my 30 book goal, while others end with me squeaking by with a modest 31 or 32 total. Once, in 2016, I didn’t even hit 30, a fact that only haunts me a little.

30 isn’t an extraordinarily high number of books to read in a year, so don’t take this as me gloating. I have friends on Goodreads who average a book a week…


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I don’t like admitting this to anyone (not even myself), but I am naturally a lazy person. If I’m not careful, I’ll end up spending entire days on the couch — playing video games, scrolling Reddit, staring at the ceiling, and other similarly productive and fulfilling hobbies.

To counteract this state of being, I set goals. Read more, write more, be more productive at my job, workout more, keep the house cleaner, etc. Pretty standard stuff. And sometimes, I do pretty well! But often, I struggle to commit to doing meaningful work for more than a week or so. …


Counting down the days until Christmas with five cheap cans of wine (and one nice bottle)

My wife Jill and I enjoy wine. For whatever reason, we also enjoy torturing ourselves with silly ongoing projects. No surprise, then, that every year we talk about hunting down one of those wine advent calendars from somewhere like Aldi or Costco. Unfortunately(?) for us, our FOMO is never powerful enough to inspire the kind of research and waiting in line it would take to actually get our hands on one. This year was no different, we still didn’t get one. But a mixture of boredom and self-hatred did drive us to steal the idea and create an abbreviated wine…


A life lesson that starts on the top of your head

As long as I can remember, I was always very particular about my hair. Even at a young age I feared getting it snipped. Would they cut it too short? Or lop-sided? Would they mess something up and everyone would notice and make fun of me? Throughout high school and into early college, this anxiety made haircuts stressful events that I often avoided.

At the end of my college years I was broke, mostly due to a full-time unpaid internship that my degree required. In an attempt to save a buck, I bought some cheap clippers and started cutting my…


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A few years ago, I found myself regularly saying something to the effect of, “If I wasn’t a hypocrite, I wouldn’t eat meat” when the topic of diets came up. I love animals and knew I could never slaughter one myself for a meal (unless I was in a life or death scenario, I imagine), but I happily continued to purchase prepackaged meat at the supermarket, where the dirty work got done out of sight and mostly out of mind.

Me saying that phrase aloud was my first step towards going plant-based, since it forced me to accept I was…


This is my fourth end of year reading reflection I’ve posted on Medium, and it ended up being both the easiest and most difficult one I’ve done. Easy because I read so many great books this year, even if I did read a little less this year than last. Difficult because now I have to decide which ones I’d consider the best, hopefully without writing something so long no one will manage to get to the end of my post.

Before I get started, note that these are in no particular order, other than my top pick, which I’ll save…


I discovered Brian Eno’s ambient music around fifteen years ago — sometime near the end of my high school years and the beginning of my college ones. It’s a bummer I don’t remember the exact moment, because that discovery marked the start of a fixation (or obsession if you want to be rude about it) with ambient and minimal music. I love the idea of songs gentle enough to have on in the background while I work or write, but compelling enough to deserve my full attention, when I’m in the mood.

I try to not get too wrapped up…


I lived in Oregon for about a year, but didn’t develop an interest in wine until some time after I moved away. Ever since, I’ve wanted to return and explore some of what I missed out on. My wife Jill and I talked about such a trip even before our trip to Sonoma a couple of years ago, and this year, the timing finally worked out to go.

Previous wine-based vacations taught us a lesson that we applied to our time in Oregon: slow down. I tend to want to try as many places as possible, which inevitably leads to…


Occasionally, a major life event has forced me to dispose of a significant portion of my belongings. A hurricane, house fire, and major moves have all put me in such a position at one point or another. But a few things always managed to survive these involuntary junk purges: an internalized desire to accumulate, and the prized collections that desire has spawned.

I was proud of my books, movies, classic video games, disc golf discs, comics, and board games. I never considered getting rid of any of it, even in the worst-case scenarios. After all, it was part of who…


I’m 32 years old and feeling out of place in a dim, retro-themed bar in the gentrifying part of town. A wall of pinball machines in a back room serves as the establishment’s primary attraction. It’s a slow weeknight and plenty of the machines are not in use, which is a relief. I came to play.

An article that I ran across and can’t seem to get out of my head inspired the trip. According to the piece, pinball is in the midst of a revival, led by people my age. The author’s theory posits that my generation is rediscovering…

Adam G.

Books, movies, wine, coffee, and disc golf.

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