Saturday, December 27, 2008

2009: Predictions for the Year in Reading

Soon we will turn the page on 2008. To my mind, not a bad year over all, though I know of many people who don't have the same affection for 2008. I have much to be thankful for: a good year at work, though I can do more; the joy of impending fatherhood; I got my novel in shape to be seen by agents. And I read a lot of books.

I'm not quite prepared to go over what I read that most impressed me. (After all, who really cares what someone else has read, unless they can say well why someone else should read it?) But I think I can offer a few thoughts about what I and other hardcore readers will be reading in 2009.

I expect to see lots of Dress for Success and job-search books on the trains this coming year. I don't know whether ye olde What Color Is Your Parachute is still a go-to help book in this Internet, "information era" age, but there's probably something of that ilk that'll be flying off the shelves -- at least at the library, since no one has any money any more.

Other books of choice will be along the lines of "How to do more with less." As someone who grew up with Depression-era parents, I feel well indoctrinated about that sort of lifestyle. I've always been frugal, and with my kids on the way, I'm sure that'll continue.

I suspect that there'll be a renewed interest in stories of the 1970s, because that's the era that will be most similar to what we're embarking on. The Great Depression, with its breadlines and Hoovervilles just doesn't seem quite as likely as the '70s lunchbox, baby-sitting relatives, PBJ sandwiches, TV dinners, and other forms of parsimony. I wonder if That '70s Show will stage a revival...

But I'm a fiction writer. What's in it for me? I honestly don't know. I suspect that fiction could become slightly less popular than it already is — and it's already fairly unpopular. So read up America! Fiction, nonfiction, whatever you enjoy. And keep or gain employment. Keep this country literate and great!

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