Sorry to be MIA yesterday, but I wrote some fiction which isn’t quite finished yet. For the middle part of this week, I am going to be telling you a bit about what is on my bookshelf. A couple of weeks ago, my apartment was being treated, and the bookshelf (which was on its last legs) collapsed. So I was forced to take a look at my books and prepare to give away a few of them, and return others to their rightful owners. As much as I am all about the e-book for convenience (especially when travelling) I also love me a hard copy of a book, and own several. Taking stock of the books made me reflect on the reading I have done this year. I decided I needed to read more about a year ago, and thought I would share some of that journey with you.
Late last year I fractured my ankle (in fact it was last October!) I wrote quite a bit about it on my blog last year, so I won’t rehash that here, but one of the decisions I made towards the end of my recuperation (which by the way – never ended!! Ankle still needs TLC even to this day) was to make reading a regular habit. One of the things that has surprised me over the years is that even though I absolutely LOVE reading, I have to be extremely deliberate in setting time aside to do it, otherwise I will find I do very little of it. I have always loved reading and if anyone had told me several years ago that I would have to set an intention and be so deliberate so that I could do something that I enjoyed so much I would not have believed them. But life is funny that way.
So here is a lesson I learned by the way (don’t worry – I am getting back to what’s on my shelf in a few). Don’t believe that because you like something that you will do it. Don’t believe even that because you think something is important to you that you’ll do it. Everyday life has a tendency to get in the way, and anything that isn’t a part of your routine can get swept away in a sea of “I’ll do it tomorrows”. While I genuinely believed once upon a time that if something is important enough to you that you will find the time to get it done, it has become apparent to me that I still have to set the time aside. Classic example – it is 5.20 am on my day off, and I am planning to spend it with a friend who is visiting from Texas, followed by 2 meetings this evening, and I knew that if I didn’t get up early to write this, it would not happen today. Even the things we love, or that are important to us require us to be intentional and set time aside for them, or require some sort of prompt or inclusion into our routine if we are to have any chance of actually doing them.
For me, when it came to forming a habit of reading regularly, I made a commitment to it – even at a time when I genuinely had lots of time sitting on my butt I had to make that commitment – and that commitment for me was to read one chapter a day. I made the decision that it would not matter what I read. Also, I wanted to read some non-fiction (scientific, personal development, research etc) but I also wanted to read novels and fiction and the books for my book club. And so I always kept 2 books on the go – one was fiction and one was non-fiction. And while I imagine this sounds simple, I still fell off the wagon a few months into the year, because I was doing a course at the university, writing my book, navigating self-publishing, going to physiotherapy and getting back into work after being off with my ankle, as well as getting back into my other activities. I recently recommitted and plan to finish up the year back in the habit of reading. And so to celebrate my commitment, I will tell you what is on my shelf today – 10 of the best books I read this year, and tomorrow I will tell you 5 ways you can add a bit of reading (or anything) to your day!
5 Non fiction books I read this year
1. Lost connections (Johann Hari) – I read this recently and spoke about it here. I enjoyed this book and found it to be an eye opening look at the causes of depression that we don’t discuss so much, and some of the things we can do to counteract them. I really enjoyed this book!
2. Confessions of a Yo-Yo dieter (Katheryn Gronauer) – this is a book written by one of the ladies who was in the writing group I belonged to when I wrote my book this year. I absolutely loved her style and her invaluable take on healthy lifestyle, and it has changed how I think about health tremendously. It is full of her fun illustrations, and lots of examples and practical tips, as well as a peek into her own personal health journey and how she manages her health now. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a different way to look at health, whether you are a “dieter” or not.
3. How to be Everything – A guide for those who (Still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up (Emilie Wapnick) – this was a game changer for me in terms of how I saw my own strengths, weaknesses and my personality on a whole. Have you ever done one of those courses where you “find your passion” or ideal career and came up with about 20? Then this book is for you!! Emilie puts that feeling into words when you have many interests and feel like you can’t.
4. Life Unlocked – 7 Revolutionary Lessons to overcome Fear (Srini Pillay) – a well written book about practical steps you can take to work through, past and in spite of your fears! It took me a while to read this, as I wanted to absorb everything that was being said, and I definitely plan to read it again, a few more times, to really grasp the concepts. I sent this to several of my friends as gifts this year, I really enjoyed it!
5. You are a badass at making money (Jen Sincero) – this year I dedicated time to working on my money mindset, and this is one of the books I read on that journey. It is fun, but very practical and gives great tips to anyone who feels that their beliefs about money are preventing them from reaching financial, business or personal goals. I definitely recommend this one.
My 5 favourite fiction books this year
1. Mr Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore (Robin Sloan) – this was a fun and easy read, about a young man who discovers a mystery in a bookstore. I really don’t want to give away any more than that, you’ll have to read it but take it from me it is fun and definitely worth the read
2. The Husband’s secret (Liane Moriarty) – I recently heard about this author and decided to give this book of hers a read and it was fantastic. Well written and an absolute page turner, I have another book by her sitting in my handbag to start. Maybe even today! The story was captivating, and I would recommend anyone who wants a juicy book to dig into to try this one.
3. The Outisider (Stephen King) – I will say that even though this book reminded me why I stopped reading Stephen King (I am squeamish and my heart can’t take the suspense) that it did not disappoint, and I read this in a matter of days – I could NOT put it down – even when I wanted to! If you are a fan of his or want a decent scary book – this could be for you!!
4. This house is mine (Dorte Hansen) – this was a book club read, and I definitely enjoyed it. It was a tale of family and a house that was so much more than a house.
5. Make Me (Lee Child) – I LOVE Lee Child books. They are readable and fun and whenever I want to get back into the habit of reading, I pick up one of these books and read about Jack Reacher. As a die hard Lee Child fan, this book did not disappoint. Definitely a thumbs up to this one.
Tomorrow - more about my reading habit and how I was able to start it!
Until then, big love from a small island.
PS Another photo from Dubrovnik. I love reading on holiday, and this is where my kindle comes into play, as I can easily read 3 or 4 books in a week holiday, and who has space for all of that in the luggage?