20 Jan My life in books: 2019
How I recharged my reading life
In 2019 I read the most books that I have read ever*. This was the result of many different factors, that all came together to create my healthiest reading life in a long time. And one that I hope to continue with leading into 2020.
*By ever I mean my adult reading life, I am not counting my teenage years when I spent every waking moment reading.
Reason 1: New reads
At the start of the year I began recording, on this blog, and through goodreads, what books I was reading. It is heartening to read the post that I wrote at the start of 2019 and how I really stuck to it.
One important rule that I gave myself is that I only allowed myself to count new reads, so in months when I reread all my old favourites I could see how little new content I was consuming. I think that this was really important factor in making me read new books. Also by deciding to write about the books that I was reading it gave me an exterior motivation for keeping up with my reading life.
Reason 2: My Library
I started REALLY using my local library. In 2018 I started using my local library again, but I really started to get into the swing of things in 2019. Firstly, anytime I was in the library I would look at my Goodreads ‘want to read’ list on my phone and select one or two books. I would ask the library if they had them or to order them in for me. ORDERING IN BOOKS was a game changer. Suddenly all these books that I really wanted to read, but told myself I couldn’t afford to buy, were landing in my lap. For Free!
Reason 3: Embracing Audio
I discovered borrowbox and audio books. One day in the library I saw a card mentioning borrowbox. To preface this I had previously trialed audible, but only being able to listen to one book a month on it made it too expensive a subscription in my opinion. Now with borrowbox, I could listen to as many books as my reads could listen to. When I am making up pencils these audiobooks were perfect to keep me working for hours on end.
On a side note, this did decrease the amount of podcasts I listened to but it also decreased the amount of netflix I was watching!
Reason 4: Goodbye Netflix
I got rid of netflix for a good chunk of the year. Around June of 2019 I decided to give Netflix a break for a few months. This meant that in an evening, instead of sitting and watching tv (while also being on my phone and scrolling instagram and googling s**t) I was sitting and reading, FOR HOURS. While I did sign back up to Netflix in September I think the break meant that I had broken the habit of turning to it and other streaming sites for entertainment. I will be pausing it again at the end of January 2020.
TO NOTE: I also don’t own a tv so netflix was the only way that I really consumed tv series or films. Apart from dvds which I still buy from charity shops sometimes.
Reason 5: Reading Time
Tied in with getting rid of netflix was my resolution to start actively creating time in my day and weekends for reading. I noticed how much calmer my mind was when I had spent a few hours reading at night instead of watching something on a screen. I began leaving my phone in another room so that I was wholly engrossed in my book.
Reading is one of the very few times that my brain completely switches off from work. And by giving myself this time, I was helping my brain to unwind and relax. It became my very own digital detox.
Reason 6: Treating myself
In May I had a really good month here at six0sixdesign. I had worked myself nearly ragged and I decided to treat myself. The funny thing was that since I have been embracing a more minimalist lifestyle there really wasn’t much that I wanted to buy. Travel and food have become my real treats.
BUT I realised there was one thing that I never really treat myself to anymore. Books. So I started treating myself to books that had been on my TBR pile for years! I bought books for myself the same way other people treat themselves to a new handbag or a pretty dress. In May I looked at my Amazon wish list and bought myself 7 books from it. 7! I felt so extravagant.
What I learnt
I plan to create another visual book diary for 2020 and also to create an infographic showing the breakdown of the type of books that I read in 2019 which I think will be interesting to see. But from gut instinct I feel that I had a very rounded year of reading. And by being intentional with how I spent my free time I created a much healthier reading life and this fed into many other aspects of my life. All for the better.
If you would like to see my day to day life in the studio follow along over on instagram