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.
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.
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