Reading update, May 2018

In my last update, I noted that my numbers were off. So, I took some time to review all my books (including ones in my discard/maybe piles). I was happy to find that, despite the huge number of books I bought in March and April, I’m still in a really good spot in terms of reducing my unread shelf by the end of the year, which makes me very happy.

I’m not at my target number, but I’m getting close to a number that I could live with. Also, I’m not going to track magazines anymore because I’m not really worried about them and they’re consistently skewing my stats (either to look like I read a tonne or accumulated a tonne).

I currently have 44 unread books:

  • 21 unread paper books
  • 11 unread ebooks, 2 of which are in progress
  • 12 unread audiobooks, 1 of which is in progress

Unread shelf stats for May:

  • Items out:
    • Read – 4
    • Weeded – 6-ish (I forgot to keep track of what was removed)
  • Items in:
    • Bought – 4 (1 has been read and 1 is for June)
    • Won – 1

Books that I read:

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  1. Words in Deep Blue – I read this based on Kathy’s recommendation (it was her favourite book of 2017 and you should watch her channel – she has great book recommendations). Its YA and a love story, but her review made it clear that there’s much more to the story then just a bunch of teenagers in love. Guys, this book it beautiful and I’m absolutely in love with the book store and it’s letter library. This is definitely a book that transcends it’s YA romance label.
  2. Destination Simple – This essentially guides the reader in considering and making better rhythms. For example, switching out your regimented morning routine for a more relaxed morning rhythm that suits your particular needs, while still allowing for some “me time.” It wasn’t a groundbreaking read, but it had some good ideas and insight. Plus, it’s very short. On a side note, I really appreciate her podcast, Slow Your Home.
  3. Barreling Forward – (from my unread shelf) An enjoyable short story collection. I’m not sure what to say other then the title is quite apt – a lot of the stories centre around people whose lives are barreling forward, though not necessarily in the direction they would like.
  4. For Everyone – This is more inspiring than I’d expected and quite relevant to my motto for 2018, slow. But, I have to admit that it was the part that came after the poem that really brought everything together for me. I listened to the audio version (narrated by the author) and there was a section at the end where he spoke a bit about his inspiration and what he was trying to convey. It made me want to re-listen immediately. It’s essentially a short and poetic version of all of the “slow living” style self-help books I’ve been reading this year.
  5. Present Over Perfect – (did not finish) I knew this book wasn’t for me almost as soon as I started to read it – it’s for people who are busy overachievers. I’m not one of those people. I can be busy and I can lose sight of the simple life, but I’m not constantly on the go, doing 5 things at once, volunteering for everything I stumble upon, etc. I think this book could be very good for some people, but it was not relevant to me.
  6. The Hidden Life of Trees – (from my unread shelf) This is a delightful book. I think that I was a little let down because I got sucked into the well deserved hyped, but a lot of the information was stuff that I already knew (I studied biology and watched a lot of random science stuff). If you don’t know much about forests or trees, I highly recommend this book. It’s interesting, accessible, and full of delightfully fascinating factoids. Edited to add: What Trees Talk About: A revealing look at the secret life of trees [video, 44 minutes], an episode of The Nature of Things, is a very good companion to this book. It talks about a lot of the same things, within a (mostly) Canadian perspective and it’s really interesting to see the visuals (roots grating neighbouring trees together, etc.).
  7. Gift from the Sea – (did not finish) I read about a quarter of this, but it just didn’t grab me. Also, I found how it was written off putting – instead of “I” or “we,” she kept using “one” as the pronoun and it just sounded odd and impersonal in my head.
  8. Goodbye, Things – (did not finish; from my unread shelf) ) I read most of this, but it made me angry because of the assumptions (read: privilege) that the author made about the reader. I will be posting a review later this month.
  9. Big Magic – (from my unread shelf) This is an inspirational book that lots of people should be reading, especially people like me – amateur creatives who have or had the impression that you have to be dedicated to be an artist/writer/etc. There are a lot of really good points and great stories, peppered with all the pep talk you’d expected from a personal cheerleader. I did find some aspects of the book a bit woowoo for me, but I also underlined a heck of a lot, so I was clearly willing and able to gloss over the woowoo.

June is National Indigenous History Month. Usually, I try to read more books by indigenous authors, but I don’t have many on my unread shelf and I’m trying to cut back on library books while working on my unread shelf project. I do have The Marrow Thieves (which I’ve already started and love) and I picked up another relevant book this month: 21 Things You May Not Have Known About The Indian Act (The Tyee wrote an article about the book). I intend to read them both in June as a very small token to celebrate Canada’s Indigenous people and to acknowledge of the effects of colonization on their culture and well-being (i.e., we treated them like crap and racism is still rampant – let’s be informed and acknowledge our prejudices).

Happy reading.

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