My year in books: Matt Haig

pile of books
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I measure my year in books. Every year I give myself an unspoken reading goal. Unspoken, because it’s a personal challenge that I present to myself inwardly, and because if I don’t announce the goal it’s less embarrassing when I fail to meet it. Some might say that’s petty. To those who might be inclined to think so I would say “yes, and?”

However, whether I achieve the goal or not, one thing remains unavoidably true: what I read directly and unobtrusively inspires what I write. So I thought it might be fun to point out the various books that brought about particular blog posts this year.

Last year, I read Matt Haig‘s novel, The Midnight Library, and it was love at first line. In Haig, I found a voice keenly attuned to the pitch and timbre of all the hopeful frailties singing beneath the rubble of my anxiousness and longing.

This year, I made it a point read more of his writing. In fact, the first book I read this year was another of his works of fiction, How to Stop Time, which sated an ache I hadn’t realized was still hurting. I quickly followed it up with several of his nonfiction books, The Comfort Book, Reasons to Stay Alive, and Notes on a Nervous Planet. As someone who daily struggles with the capricious ebb and flow of depression, I found that each of these books functioned as a source of shelter and truth. There was deep compassion within their pages. An awareness that could only come from one who clearly understands the incurableness of chronic melancholia, but who also knows that finding light between the parting clouds is always possible.

Needless to say, Haig’s writing made a number of appearances in my own work this year:

Human progress?

It’s hard to trust the truth…

the impossibility of regret…

where living flowers…

never just one thing…

a theory of moving slowly…

wonder and amazement…

the difference between stones and kisses…

Memory and Imagination

a continent coming home…

The immutability of books…

A shoulder set to rock…

Seeing how many of my blog posts pull from Haig is a little surprising, even for me. But, I hope its a testament to how movingly poignant his writing is. For me, Haig is an author that has become an Anam Cara; not only a Soul friend, but also a Soul Doctor. I’m looking forward to reading even more of his work, and I hope you will too.

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