8 Ways to Read (a Lot) More Books This Year is a must-read article for any bibliophile. Neil Pasricha wrote this article back in 2017, and everything in it still pertains to today. I really like a lot of the content on Harvard Business Review (HBR) and this article is no different. If you are like me you like reading about reading. It’s meta I know. Book geeks are deep man!
If you are a reader you won’t hesitate to read the article. Even though HBR has a paygate the first two are free a month, so you can read this one free! Just incase you already used your 2 freebies this month, here are some highlights.
Centralize Reading in Your Home – Basically, make it easy to read, keep them close, and reduce other distractions, like social media and television.
Make a public commitment – Like posting your challenge on GoodReads, I know, I know that’s social media, but its book geek social media so everything in moderation right?
Change Your Mindset about Quitting – No one is going to call you a quitter! Give a book a few chapters and if you don’t like it, pass it on. Slogging through a book is the quickest way to get you off reading for the rest of the year if not longer.
Take a break from magazines and newspapers and fill that time with reading books.
Churn Rate – Keep the books moving on the shelf, don’t leave the same ones on there all the time. Make changes to what is on the shelf, so you stop and look instead of passing the bookshelf again for the thousandth time.
A little adds up – Just because you can’t sit down with an hour of uninterrupted time and your favorite drink, doesn’t mean you don’t have time yo read. Take it short spurts if you need to. Read a little here and a little there. Something is better than nothing and all these little reading spurts will add up to books completed.
Change up your medium, this one is not in Neil’s article, but I listen to audiobooks, read on a kindle, and read print books. I like to read print books when the lighting is good in the daytime and I switch to the Kindle at night and don’t worry about if I’m near a lamp, as the device is backlit, this would work with an iPad too. Lastly, audiobooks help a great deal. When I’m out for a walk or during my daily commute I listen to audiobooks.
Where the Water Goes by David Owen follows David as he explores the Colorado river from start to finish. What he learns along the way about the “law of the river” he shares with the reader. A must for anyone reading this work is David’s web page containing pictures of everything he talks about in the book. The book does not contain any pictures outside of a map in the front.
I believe this book would have been too dry (see what I did there?) with anyone else narrating the story. David Owen weaves a bit of the story of others into the story as well as weaving in his own story and travels into, the history and law of the river.
How we (mostly me in Southern California) get our water consist of a very complex network of laws and crazy rules. It is amazing it works. I learned a lot about all of it and I’m glad I read this book.
the lake today contains only about thirty-eight percent as much water as it did in 1998
Genevieve Valentine writes a great review of this book for NPR, that is a great overview and a better review than I have written here.
According to this timeout.com article, you can download three books that you can borrow because there has been a surge in the app’s usage now that we’re all at home, according to the library. Make the most of your time at home and get some reading in!
The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life by Leo Babauta seems to be recommended reading by every other minimalist. I finally got to it and I’ve got to say his book is minimalist at only 105 pages.
All good stuff in here and it’s a great primer for starting out or just seeing what this minimalist thing is all about. Not to mention a good quick read. Nothing crazy in here either which I really liked.
In 2019 I read 54 books. That’s 8,579 pages. For audiobooks, I listened to just under two days of audio. 30% of my reading was graphic novels, of those mostly Star Wars comics from Marvel. Following closely was Kindle books at 28% of my reading. Followed by audiobooks and finally, hardcovers mostly form the library.
Speaking of the library, I saved $557.13 by visiting the library and not buying those books. I was gifted one book and an author reached out and gave me their book as well.
I read almost twice as many books in 2019 as I did in 2018. Most of the books I read this past year were actually published in 2016. My average book length was 209 pages. My average rating for books on GoodReads was 3.7. Overwhelmingly the books I read were written by US authors (37). And although I want to read more books by female authors, the books I read were by men (44 to 10).
My favorite books in 2019 (in the order I read them):
I’m a big fan of the Russos. I’ve been a subscriber to their YouTube channel since before Joe’s first book. As you can guess from the titles of the books, they are a couple from Los Angeles that quit their jobs, bought an RV and started traveling the US. This, however, as Joe explains in the most recent book was not early retirement.
I recommend reading the books in order as the first book does a good job of covering the period when they decided to make this leap. This second book goes into how. It covers the trials and tribulations of driving and finding parking for a large RV. And it also begins the story of them looking for a smaller RV. While there is a path forward mentioned in the book, we don’t actually find out in the book what happens next, but for all the YouTube followers of the Russo’s we already know how that story ends.
Joe’s writing flows well and while simple really works for me. It’s a fun read and I really liked getting to know more of the details as a YouTube follower I didn’t see all the behind the scenes information that Joe shares in the book. My only complaint is that I wish there was more in the book. More details and more of the class B journey. That said I think it takes tremendous bravery to share your story in a book and even more to share it on a medium like YouTube where the Internet trolls will offer unsolicited feedback on everything that makes it into a video.
Regardless of what the Russo’s do next, I look forward to following their journey on YouTube and in print!
I recently read The Public Library, an amazing book written by Robert Dawson. Dawson, traveled and took pictures of libraries around the world. He made an effort to photography libraries that were in affluent and struggling communities. I love books about books, but this one was such a fantastic idea and so easy to execute myself.
While on a recent vacation to Mammoth in the mountains of California. I convinced my wife to stop by the local library to take some pictures and explore. It didn’t take long and it was a beautiful library. The library was opened in 2007. I also felt much more a part of the community sharing in their local library.
The two-story library looked new and was beautiful inside, with lots of movies and audiobooks on the first floor as well as a young readers section. On the second floor, we found the children’s area a MakerSpace and the rest of the collection. A very good size for a small town.
Next time you are on vacation make a quick stop at the local library. You might just learn something. I’ll make an effort to do more spotlights on libraries as I am able to. This was fun for me and I hope it gave you all something fun to read and maybe encourages you to visit a library soon!
A World Book Day purchased for free on Amazon in order to read books from authors that are outside of the US. I was excited to read this book from an author born outside of the US and written about a country I will probably never visit. As you might imagine from the title the book was very sad. It made me even more thankful for all the things I have and fortune to be able to provide for my family. It would be interesting to see what else has happened to Mr. Ishikawa since the book was published.
The 172 page book was originally published in 2000, but I think the fact that it was a featured book on World Book Day and the fact that it was free, really helped the sales. It currently has 25,500 ratings at a 4.26 rating on goodreads.
The author tells of his impossibly difficult life in North Korea and his eventual escape from the oppressive country. I gave this book 4 stars.
Widely considered a classic now, The Awakening by Kate Chopin was at at its publishing in 1899, considered controversial for the way that Chopin depicted immoral and frank depictions of female sexual desire and for its depiction of a protagonist who chafed against social norms and established gender roles.
Within a decade of her death she was considered a leading feminist writer for her time. Unfortunately, this often happened for female authors of this time.
The writing is superb. My review on goodreads is short but precise:
Wonderfully written! An ending I did not see coming as well. Really enjoyed this. Upsetting that Chopin was not recognized for her talents while she was still alive.
I’m just a reader who enjoyed this book and gave it five stars. I don’t feel qualified to give it a full analysis, but luckily for us others on youtube have already done this.