Reading More

Books, Books, Books and more Books“Books, Books, Books and more Books” by Chiot’s Run is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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?
  • Book Lists! – I love a good book list and Goodreads is full of them, but if you need more I would recommend: The New Lifetime Reading Plan, Book Lust, and More Book Lust.
  • 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.

Book Review | The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life

The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life by Leo Babauta

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.

Some of Leo’s favorite blogs:

Books:

2019 Books in Review

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):

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  2. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  3. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  4. Star Wars Vol.1 Skywalker Strikes by Jason Aaron
  5. The Public Library by Robert Dawson
  6. The Little Free Library Book by Margret Aldrich
  7. We are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer
  8. Tales from the Open Road: The Adventures and Misadventures of RV Living by Joe Russo

Review | Tales from the Open Road (We’re the Russos)

Tales From the Open Road: The Adventures and Misadventures of RV Living (We're the Russos Book 2)
We’re The Russos Book 2

First, a disclaimer, Joe, and Kait sent me a Kindle version of the book. They didn’t ask me to review it here and my review is my own. Tales From the Open Raod: The Adventures of RV Living is Joe Russo’s second book. The first book Take Risks: One Couple’s Journey to Quit Their Jobs and Hit the Open Road was book one. I’ve already reviewed that book here in 2018 and you can read the review by clicking on the link above.

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!

Review | New Minimalism: Decluttering and Design for Sustainable, Intentional Living

New Minimalism: Decluttering and Design for Sustainable, Intentional Living
New Minimalism by Cary Telander Fortin, Kyle Louise Quilici

I picked up New Minimalism by Cary Telander Fortin, Kyle Louise Quilici from my local library. The book describes a middle ground between “I live with only 4 things” and hoarders.

As you can tell from all the links and extra books listed I really enjoyed this book. I’m recommending it to my wife next. I think she will find some real nuggets that will help her.

I enjoyed the practicality. The tagline for the books is:

Your external space reflects your internal state. What does your home say about you?

Cary Telander Fortin and Kyle Louise Quilici

Some notes from the book that I want to remember are:

Philosophy books:

Websites:

Simple Wardrobes:

Environment:

Design Books:

Design Websites:

A Bit of World Culture | A River in Darkness

A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa

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.

2018 in Review | My Year in Reading

In 2018, I read 28 books. My goal for the year was 50 books. How did I miss my goal so badly?

Books Read by Month

As you can see in November I didn’t read any books and there were 6 months were I only completed one book.

Obviously, we can see where I went wrong here. Pretty plain and simple, I had a few months where I really drove my reading and finished some books. Especially, March, May and June.

I just didn’t do a good job here. But let’s take a look at the data from a different direction. I have been making note of the nationality of the author, in an effort to try to read books from people outside of the US. I did not do well on this either. Only 21% of the books I read this year where from outside the US.

Okay, but how about gender. Did I read more books from female authors? Slightly better here. 32% of the books I read this year were written by a female author. A good improvement over last year at 24%.

What is my binding of choice? What format do I prefer to read in. E-books was the clear winner here with 10 (36%) e-books written. I think this makes sense considering that I was challenged to find time to read this year. By making it easier for me to read anywhere, I was able to squeeze in more reading.

Totals

Now for the big numbers. I read 5,724 pages. I also listened to 2,914 minutes or 48.5 hours (just over 2 days) of audio.

I spent $24.30 on books this year. The library saved me $225.36! Use your local library!

Year over year

For the last 4 years my reading has taken a plunge! This is a trend that I don’t want to continue. I really need to do better in 2019. That is one of my New Years resolutions. Wish me luck! I will set my Goodreads goal at 45 books in 2019 and do my best to hit that number.

Lastly, I will leave you with a list of the books that earned 5 stars from me in 2018:

Reading the Books You Already Own

Library
Library by Flickr User Stewart Butterfield

This post goes along with The Purge post I did a bit ago. I read an article by Laura Sackton of Book Riot this morning. In the article, she mentions the exact problem I have. Most of the 706 books left on my Goodreads to-read shelf are books I already own. I just can’t seem to get to them. Sometimes like Laura I pick something up at the library that looks interesting. Other times I buy something from Amazon for my kindle. Still others, I’m given a book to read from a friend or family. Plus there are always books coming monthly from Book of the Month.

With all these enticing things coming my way, my to-read shelf is overflowing. I really want to read all these books! In the article, Laura suggests treating your shelves at home as a library. You have your big bookshelf as the circulation books, main library books. Then you have a hopefully smaller bookshelf with all the books you have on hold. These are the books you will be reading next. I like this idea, but I don’t have my books organized in this way. I’m not sure I can get myself to do it either.

I’ve been trying not to get any more books. When we go to the library now, I stick with the kids and don’t visit the adult section of the library. I stay upstairs where there are only books for children. I’m going to let my book of the month subscription expire for now so I have time to catch up on the ones I have received but not had time to read. The new rule for me is that I always need to be reading something from my own shelves.

How do you keep on top of the books you already have at home? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.

The Purge

KonMari-ing my books
KonMari-ing my books by Flickr User: Kars Alfrink

I want to read more.  When I get in this mood and I’m totally pumped to get reading more.  You would think that I read right?  Well, sometimes you can’t.  If the kids are all over the place I can’t read, I have to stop every few seconds to do something.  Not that I mind.  I love my kids, but it is not the best way to get through a book.  So sometimes, when I’m psyched to read, but I can’t actually read, I spend time on Goodreads.  It is the facebook of reading.  The social site for readers.

I have been on there more frequently in the past few days, and I take a look at the number of books read and the number of books I want to read.  This is scary.  I’m upside down on my numbers.  While it is encouraging to know I have no lack of books that I want to read, I would really like my read number to be higher than my to-read number.  As things stand now I’m at 717 to-read and 595 read.

This is after a few hours of purging already.  I didn’t write anything down, but my to-read number before the purge started was around 760 or 770.  That means I purged around 23% of the books on my to-read pile already.  What did I drop from the to-read shelf?

Goodreads Finding Duplicates
Goodreads Finding Duplicates

My first stop was finding duplicates.  I didn’t know that Goodreads had this tool, but it was there when I went looking for it, so no idea how long it has been there, but it made dropping the duplicate books very easy.  I had about 25 duplicate books.

Then I started to go through my to-read list book by book.  This is the super frustrating part.  As I look through the list I keep seeing books I don’t remember adding.  Why did I add this?  I click on the book to look at the detail page.  No friends have read this and like an idiot, I didn’t put anything in the recommended by field.  SO frustrating.  The next step is the read the synopsis and figure out if I still want to read this book, if not it’s gone.

This is how I’m purging or if you like “pruning” my Goodreads to-read list.  I’m about halfway through my shelf now.  I’m hoping to get that 717 number down to something that is more manageable.  On the bright side, I’m spending so much time on Goodreads that I found this beauty of a 404 page:

Goodreads 404
Goodreads 404