If I learned anything from "my year of reading year of books" it is that no year-of memoir is complete without a final reflection.
What I learned:
Of course I learned a bit of U.S. history. But the most interesting thing I learned was about the history of the civil rights movement. Several of the books I read about the south treated this topic and what surprised me the most was that much of what was made out to appear to be local law standing up to "the feds" was really staged - choreographed right down to how many deputies could have thier hands on their gun holsters, and how many could actually have their guns in their hands. These things were negotiated completely for show. If it looked like violence might break out, things were put on hold until another time.
What I would do differently:
I realized early on that the state anniversaries were not spread out evenly and caused a few crunches that I could not keep up with. If I were to give advice to anyone taking on a similar project I would suggest that they do one state a week, perhaps going in order of how they entered the Union - starting with Delaware and ending with Hawaii.
I tried my best to post something on the actual anniversary of statehood, a few times, though, I was late, and when I was on vacation I really didn't worry about it too much, I just caught up when I had a chance. If I had been true to the project I would have never let it slip. But, after all, it was just a goofy blog. Ultimately, though I did read books on all 50 states (plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.) and watch a movie for each, and eat or drink something inspired by, or from that state before the year's end.
My next blog will be similar in theme to this one. "Una Nueva Receta Cada Semana" (One New Recipe a Week) is inspired by one of my former Spanish professors, Bob Phillips, who loved to cook. Mostly I will be blogging about food, but will include reviews of any food-related books, or movies I watch. I will be reading the food books aloud to James so he may have his own insights on those as well.
Finally, I have this to say - this project was a lot more fun because I had a great partner to help me with it. Thanks, James.