One of the changes I noticed in myself over the course of 2016 presidential election is that I gradually filtered the content I consumed to the point that everything I read was politically focused. At the start of 2016, I was stumbling happily through the internet to find intriguing stories on a variety of topics. I read books—fiction and nonfiction—for the fun of it, without paying much mind to their direct connections to current affairs.
But as the election grew more dire—as the possibility of a Trump presidency became, unbelievably, more likely—I masochistically inundated myself with articles almost exclusively related to modern American politics. It was cathartic, sure: staying up-to-date with the latest poll numbers, reassuring myself that expert political journalists couldn’t be wrong about Clinton’s chances. I devoured political writing at the expense of other great journalism, and I all but completely stopped reading full books.
Yet now that the race is over, or perhaps because the race is over and the wrong person won, I still feel trapped in that cycle of news consumption. That’s got to change.
The fact is, regardless of the calamity of Trump’s presidency, other things will continue to matter. The world beyond American politics might be more important now than ever, because the lives of people outside the beltway are likely the ones most at risk.
So, I’m returning to those stories about more than the latest chess move in Washington. Keeping an ear to political developments is critical as always, but forgetting the rest of the human experience doesn’t help anyone.
Here’s to all the good reads in 2017.