My First Book of 2021

Yesterday, I shared My One Word for 2021; today, I share my first book of the new year as many others do today and share with Sheila of the blog Book Journey who posts the photos today. Like my one word for this year, my first book of the year is the same as last year:

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, as translated by Gregory Hays: I borrowed a copy of it for free from Prime Reading in late 2019. But when I tried it, I had a difficult time reading the archaic translation. I then came across several reviews mentioning a modern translation by Gregory Hays, who also wrote an extensive introduction. It was the perfect book for 2020 even though I doubted it and tried another book that didn’t work.

With there being a lot of aphorisms in Meditations, last year I read a chapter a day over two weeks and journaled on one or two passages each day. While I enjoyed that, I think this year, I’m not going to put any time constraints on how long I’ll read and journal on passages. It might be a month or two or even three (GASP!). I’m also combining two other companion volumes to Meditations:

  1. How To Think Like A Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius by Donald Robertson
  2. The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and The Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

The first, like Meditations, I will read at a leisurely pace and finish when I finish, maybe even reading on a new tradition I started last year on Sundays: My Own Personal Sabbath. The second, and this might shock you (again GASP! ) since it’s a daily meditation, I will read throughout the year.

So that is the book or books I’ll be starting 2021 with. However, the first book that I’ll probably finish will be (keeping it Italian) Excursion to Tindari, the fifth in the Inspector Montalbano series, by Andra Camilleri as translated by Stephen Sartarelli. The Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP) recently added the series to its ebook collection and I couldn’t help but put several on hold, many of which already have come in. I read the first three or four years ago via interlibrary loan at our library, but then gave up because I didn’t feel like waiting for all of the rest. Like Richard Stark’s Parker series, Camilleri’s series is on my bucket list of series to read, but with so many in both series, I can’t afford purchasing all of them. So when I saw that the series now is available to borrow at FLP around Christmas, it was, and is, Christmas to me.

Do you have a first book you plan to start out the year with? If so, what is it? If not, what are you looking forward to reading in 2020? To see what Sheila and others selected, visit Sheila’s blog post.

13 thoughts on “My First Book of 2021

  1. I’ve never read Montalbano before (or Camillieri) but I might have read/watched other things that I can’t my finger to just now, but there are a lot, and I mean a lot, of his novels at the library and they’re giving me the eye. Have a better year 🙂

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  2. I missed getting my photo and First Book to Sheila, mainly because I wasn’t quite sure which book was going to be the one. Turned out to be Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May. Definitely seems apropos for this moment in time!

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  3. Happy New Year, Bryan! My first book is Obama’s A Promised Land.

    After reading your posts about Wherever You Go…, I’ve decided to spend sometime this year reading that book and then see where it takes me.

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  4. It’s so much fun to see everyone’s First Book! I hope the new installment of the detective series is a good one.

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