Now more than ever, it feels futile to stick to a New Year’s resolution. Asking that much of yourself when the world is in such disarray can feel almost like a cruel joke But if there’s anything I want in this year of isolation, it’s that people think I’m smart and well rounded and not the lazy, depressed, and idle person I’ve become. Specifically, I want them to think I’m the kind of bookish variety who is smart but is also somehow hot.
Since I’ve got one of those covered, that’s when I realized the only goal that really matters: To make sure you think I’m reading way more than I actually am.
Thanks to social media and vaguely knowing some people who do read, I’m clued into some of the hottest titles of 2021, as well as some classics I need to pretend to have enjoyed. All I have to do tweet “52 books in 52 weeks!” and dutifully bone up my Goodreads account, and several acquaintances are going to think I’ve switched careers and became a book editor. When they see stacks of new books for 2021 on my Instagram, they’ll think, “Damn, that bitch is hot, but also reads a lot.”
And then I can say that my resolution is complete.
Books can open up new worlds and free your imagination. Pretending to read books also requires a great deal of imagination, as you have to invent what you think based on nothing but what you think you’re supposed to think based on other thinking people whose thoughts are better than yours. So I really feel like I’m doing something good for myself here.
But like all resolutions, they must be maintained, and this meticulously constructed personality of mine is no different. That’s why I’ve joined several book clubs this year, where I keep my camera off but also steal some great talking points about all kinds of literature. And if anyone asks me what I thought of the book? It’s “Rich, beautifully complex, and a surprising reflection of the world we live in today.” Go ahead – try it. It works on literally every book that smart and hot people read!
Knowing that people I met at a party once will think I read is a reminder that deep down, maybe I am? Maybe I’m just a voracious reader who just happens to spend six hours a day on my phone, six on Netflix, and another four where I’m just kind of half-doing both. It’s not that I’m not a reader; I’m just temporarily indisposed. And is there anything more American than that?