My First Book of The Year 2020 Finished

Photo from late December 2019.

This morning I finished my first book of the year: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius as translated by Gregory Hays. It was the book I initially selected at the start of the month and the year. However, it also was the book I rethought only a few days later might not work for my first book of the year because of another book that I thought would work better to start the year. In the end, though, I think my first choice was the right one.

Interestingly enough, at least to me, it was the right choice for the very reason I spelled out after rethinking it. That being, with there being a lot of aphorisms in Meditations, I thought I’d get more out of it if I read a chapter a day over two weeks and journal on one or two passages each day. And I believe that I did.

Here are a few of the passages that struck me as I read the book:

Suppose that a god announced that you were going to die tomorrow “or the day after.” Unless you were a complete coward you wouldn’t kick up a fuss about which day it was—what difference could it make? Now recognize that the difference between years from now and tomorrow is just as small.

It’s silly to try to escape other people’s faults. They are inescapable. Just try to escape your own.

Today I escaped from anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions—not outside.

As for the runner-up, I believe I will return to it eventually. I just can’t say when.

What’s next?

Starting today through Monday, I am doing my own Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend Readathon as I have Monday off from work. I want to begin reading Pillar of Fire: America in the King 1963-65, the second part of a trilogy that begins with Parting The Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63, which I read years ago, and concludes with At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years 1965-68, which I hope to read in the future.

I also want to dip into the following:

  • A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by Clayborne Carson and Kris Shephard.
  • The Radical King, edited and introduced by Cornel West, which collects speeches and writings of King.

On the non-reading front, tomorrow afternoon I am going to a neighbor’s to watch the AFC Championship game. As I texted him:

Go Ch…. Ti…oh I don’t care. 🙂

It just will be good to see him since I haven’t seen him since…well…last year!

And as I’m finishing this post just before hitting “publish” this morning, it’s beginning to snow, three to five inches expected, not a huge amount, but enough that I’m glad I’m not going anywhere and will be hunkered down for the day reading – and napping, but of course.

30 thoughts on “My First Book of The Year 2020 Finished

  1. The “escaping faults” statement is a good one. There is one VP here who always tells us to point the fingers at ourselves and correct those issues rather than to point fingers at others in any situation. His philosophy is that by taking care of your own issues, you not only improve the situation, but you force others to take care of their own issues as well – all without blaming anyone. It’s the first thing that came to mind while reading that sentence, as the ideas are similar. Both are simple ideas but can help reduce anxiety and stress with a simple mindset switch.


  2. “It’s silly to try to escape other people’s faults. They are inescapable. Just try to escape your own.”

    That is SUCH a good guiding thought. My first book of the year isn’t the one I thought it was going to be (Daring Greatly by Brene Brown), but that’s mostly because I decided I wanted to read one of her previous books first, and I haven’t gotten to starting it yet. In the mean time, I finished a couple other things instead 🙂


  3. My husband was not happy about the Packer loss but it wasn’t even close. What can you do? Nothing. Instead, I ate really good Vietnamese soup while he was absorbing the loss.

    My day off yesterday was spent taking the kid out for driving practice but we managed to fit a nice steak lunch in beforehand. Chili’s $10 meals are quite nice and I needed the sustenance before the driving lesson although she did very well.

    We finished week one of shows. Now, begins week two.


  4. What a great book to start the year with! I have not read it but it is actually the book I bought my husband for Christmas on his request. He reads me bits occasionally, lots to think about there.

    I hope you kept warm today!


  5. Interesting comments on your first read 🙂 I tend to not put a lot of thought into which book to read, since I have so many I want to get through! Enjoy your readathon and the game.


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