52 Books a Year What to Do With a Really Good Book
“Read something every day. It could be a newspaper, a book, whatever you have lying around; just be sure to read something every day.” This is some of the best advice I’ve ever received, and, believe it or not, it came from a judge! I see this as great advice because it got me reading again. When I was growing up, I was a big reader. I was the kind of kid who could devour whole biographies in a single sitting. In law school, I read a bunch, too, usually law books, but after I graduated, I stopped reading. I was convinced I was “too busy” to read books anymore. Then I was talking to a retired judge about his reading habits, and I knew I could make time. There’s a section on my website where I list the five most recent books I’ve read. I’m constantly updating the list because I try to read a new book every week, with the goal of reading at least 52 books a year. At the time of writing, the last five books I’ve read are: “Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest” “The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America” “The Vagabonds: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s Ten-Year Road Trip” “Running to the Edge: A Band of Misfits and the Guru Who Unlocked the Secrets of Speed” “The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable” For avid readers, it can be hard to pick a favorite book. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of reading some really great books, from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy to Edmund Morris’ biographies (also a trilogy) on Teddy Roosevelt. However, if I had to pick • • • • •
George Clooney has my vote to play Count Rostov.
just one book to call my favorite, the choice is obvious. I love Amor Towles’“A Gentleman in Moscow.” The book takes place right around the Russian Revolution and follows a former aristocrat, Count Alexander Rostov. The count is put on trial by the Bolsheviks and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a luxury hotel right across the street from the Kremlin. While Rostov is lucky to have avoided the firing squad, he’s still trapped in the hotel for the rest of his life. One day, a young girl comes to the hotel with her mother. When the mother has to leave the girl behind, the book centers around Rostov’s relationship with the girl and what they teach each other. How does it end? Well, I won’t spoil it for you. I urge you to pick up a copy and read this amazing story for yourself. It’s one of those books that is bound to be a movie someday. When Hollywood finally gets around to it,
I attended a conference earlier this year, during which I had a great conversation with a fellow lawyer. Afterward, I sent him a copy of “A Gentleman in Moscow” as a thank-you for his kind words and wisdom. Reading isn’t just about consuming stories — it’s about sharing those stories with other people. There are some books I keep on my shelves, but most of the time when I finish a book, I pass it on to the next person. When I finish a book, the first thing I think is, “Who would enjoy it next?” If there’s one thing better than reading a really good book, it’s giving someone a really good book so they can read it, too.
-Andrew M. Ayers
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