New on the YouTube channel – let’s read!
If you love to read, and you’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate more of this pleasure into your life, this post is for you. If not, please pass it by! My intention is not to make anyone feel guilty about the time they spend in other pleasurable pursuits – but if you want to spend more time enjoying books, I’ll share some of the techniques I use to build more reading time into my busy life.
Try listening to audiobooks
If you haven’t tried audiobooks, please give them a shot. I use the Audible app on my phone, and download books for listening in the car. I love to listen to books on long trips, but also on short ones – even the drive to and from work. Sometimes it’s nice to just listen to someone read to you. Two caveats: (1) before you buy, listen to the sample. Occasionally I can’t stand the narrator’s voice, which means the listening won’t be much fun. (2) there’s a danger of “zoning out” and realizing that you missed the last few minutes of the story because you were thinking about something else. If that happens, just backtrack a bit. You can always re-listen to favorites, too.
Try using an electronic reader
I use the Kindle app on my phone and on my iPad. You can purchase electronic books on Amazon and download them directly to your device, where they are always handy. This way, when I have to wait at the doctor’s office, or I’m early for a meeting, I can enjoy some reading time. Having books on your device is also handy for the gym, if you use the treadmill or stationery bike.
Read more than one book at a time
I know a lot of people who prefer to finish one book before starting another, but I look at it this way: You watch multiple TV series, right? So you’re getting a story in “installments,” and then watching other stories before you get the next one. Yet, if you are involved in these stories, you don’t get confused or forget them. Well, reading is the same way, at least for me. I can be reading one book on Kindle, listening to another on Audible, and have a third “real” (paper) book in the bathroom to read while I soak in the tub. Maybe there’s another on my nightstand. I like to mix it up. There’s no rule that says you have to read just one at a time – unless you want to. Which leads me to my next tip:
Switch up your genres
We all have our favorites, but reading can become tedious if you always read within the same genre. So I like to switch it up. After reading a long, ponderous tome, I’ll choose a fluffy romance next. I’ll alternate fiction and non-fiction. Once in a while I’ll choose a book that’s normally “not my type,” but looks interesting. So if you find yourself in a rut of reading nothing but sci-fi, or dystopian novels, or self-help books, try something different. It may renew your joy in reading.
Never let it become a chore
Reading (unless it’s for work or school) should never feel like something you “have” to do. If you ordinarily love to read, but have come to see it as a chore, take a breather. If this pleasurable activity ceases to bring you pleasure, go ahead and do something else that lights up your soul.
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Here’s a roundup of some recent reads:
It’s rare when I finish a book and I’m sad when it’s over – but that’s how I felt about “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.” I LOVED it. I loved her! Eleanor is a single woman, the (seemingly) stereotypical fussy “spinster” who lives alone, talks to her mother on the phone once a week, and has a fantasy crush on a rock star. She lives a quiet life – she’s mousy and unnoticeable, and she likes it that way. Then, out of the blue, a new friend – and a secret from her own past – turn her world upside down. Can Eleanor venture outside her carefully crafted comfort zone? You must find out! (Also I hear this is soon to be a movie).
Ah, “Turtles.” See, this is one of those “Young Adult” (YA) books that I talked myself into reading, because of the hype. I know John Green has a huge fan following, but this story did nothing for me. It follows Aza, a nerdy high-schooler, and a group of her friends, as they try to solve the mystery of a local man’s disappearance. The story is told from Aza’s point of view, and much of the prose consists of narration of her unruly, spiraling thoughts as she grapples with depression and anxiety. As I suffer from those conditions myself, I’m not throwing shade about that – but rather, the fact that Aza’s very real personal issues are set against the backdrop of an implausible “Scooby Doo” mystery. But then, I’m not the target reader for this book. I’ve heard many young people say they found it life-changing. Your mileage may vary.
“Coming Clean” was much more my style. This is a memoir, written by a woman who was raised by hoarders. She tells the painful story of her childhood, when she was afraid to bring friends to her house, and how her deep love for her parents was at odds with her despair that they would ever be able to change. Coming to terms with the shame, and the fear that she would grow up to be the same way, was a long journey, and it’s a fascinating one. Miller takes a deep dive into the question of how our parents, and our childhoods, continue to define us.
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” was the choice of my book club (actually, I belong to two), and is not a book I would have normally read on my own. But that’s the great thing about book clubs – they introduce you to titles you would never read otherwise. The story is told from the point of view of a 15-year-old boy with autism, and provides a stunning insight into the way that people with autism think and feel as they move through the world. Our protagonist, Christopher, makes a curious discovery about his neighbor’s dog, and sets out on a personal quest to learn more. Along the way, he uncovers secrets that change lives.
Every once in a while, you finish a book and know that you will never be the same. This novel by Nina George really touched my heart. Jean Perdu is a Frenchman who owns a bookstore, and who still carries a torch for a long-lost love. He goes on a quest to find her, and in the process, finds himself. A beautiful story of loss and discovery. A must read. The author has a second book out now that’s still in hardcover. I want to read it when it comes out in paperback.
That’s it for now – more to come soon!
What are you reading? Have you read any of these? Opinions?
I love to read, and I read a lot. I usually complete a book a week, sometimes more, and I don’t have any more spare time than anyone else. I listen to audiobooks in the car, and I keep a book on my nightstand, one in the bathroom, and one in the living room next to my recliner. My tablet lives in my purse, and I have books downloaded and ready. I read every chance I get, and I also create those “chances.” Many evenings, I’ll turn off the television and just read for an hour.
I was initially excited to discover that there are Youtube channels dedicated to reading, and to publishing book reviews (a subset of Youtube that users call “Booktube”) – but as I watched more and more of these, I discovered that most of them were dedicated to “YA” (Young Adult) books, and the videos were hosted by high school and college-aged women. The channels that weren’t “YA” featured mostly specific genres like romance, or thrillers, or mass-market bestsellers.
My taste in books is a bit more eclectic.
I like the bestsellers, sure, but I also love re-reading old classics, and occasionally discovering something new. Sometimes a friend will pass a book along to me, or perhaps I find an undiscovered title by a favorite author. The book might not be “current,” but I don’t care, as long as it’s good.
I also like to read nonfiction, which seems to be unusual, at least among the reading community that posts on social media. I love memoirs too. I love learning about people’s lives, real lives. I often prefer these books to fiction.
So where can I find others who share my passion?
I’m counting on finding some of you here. In the coming days (weeks? months?) I’d like to write more about reading, and share some books that I’ve come to love. In the spirit of honesty, I may also warn you off about some bestsellers that are over hyped and not worth your time.
Will you read with me?
P.S. – If you have a favorite “Booktube” channel that’s not “YA,” please share! x