Reading update – August 2018

I seem to be continuing my trend of reading a lot of non-fiction

These are the books I read:

 

How to be a Wildflower – This is part art book (the author is an artist that I’ve admired for a while) and part nature book (prompts to get out and engage with nature). It’s delightful and I enjoyed it enough to add it to my shelf (admittedly, it will probably linger in my art section as a collection of her work, instead of a nature section).

5-minute Sketching: Landscapes – I think the 5-minute sketching series of books is a pretty great idea. Each spread of pages provided a few tips for dealing with issues relating to a particular aspects of sketching or issues relating to the overall theme. There’s good info and lots of great examples, but I did find that there was a lot of repetition. About a third of the way through the book, I started skimming and focused only on the new-to-me information. That said, it’s a good resource and worth finding at your local library. There’s also one for sketching people and one focused on architecture.

The Prince and the Dressmaker – This was cute. It was a bit dramatic and cheesy for my taste, but I was delighted to find a nice graphic novel that tackles the idea that boys should be allowed to wear dresses. I will always be happy to find LGBTQ+ books and graphic novels because, let’s be honest, it’s a community that still gets treated like “weirdos” and we’d all be happier if we could just be who and what we wanted without judgements relating to silly gendered stereotypes.

Notes on a Nervous Planet – I was really impressed and inspired by Haig’s previous non-fiction book, Reasons to Stay Alive (about depression and anxiety). Notes on A Nervous Planet continues the conversation by looking at how the busyness and constant distractions of modern day life (app notifications, more TV shows than you could watch in a lifetime, etc.) are affecting our mental wellbeing. It’s an interesting read and a good reminder to walk away from your phone on occasion, or maybe even reduce the digital distractions in your life. It actually inspired me to delete  few accounts, sign out of others, and significantly reduce my online interactions.

New Minimalism – This book focuses on decluttering without having to get rid of everything. I enjoyed the common sense approach to minimizing and the practicality of the author’s advice. The only problem I had was that I didn’t fit in any of their archetypes (general groups of personalities and how/why they keep things). I’m used to not fitting entirely in a group and the authors were careful to note that readers don’t have to be all one archetype, but the way they defined the archetypes felt too narrow and left me feeling a bit alienated. But, that said, this is a good resource and I would recommend it to any aspiring declutterers who think that Marie Kondo’s “find joy” approach is a bit too woowoo.

The Year of Less – I read this in February and it really helped me to put a lot of things into perspective. It also made me think a lot about simplifying and decluttering (hence a couple relevant blog posts in March). The Year of Less is Cait’s memoir about the year she implemented a spending ban. She talks about spending, consuming for comfort, decluttering, and re-evaluating priorities. And, though she didn’t set out to create a “how to” book, her insights made me think a lot about where I was and where I wanted to be in my decluttering and simplifying journey. IN August, I re-read it after listening to a podcast in which she was interviewed and I was surprised to find that I got more out of it the second time around. It’s inspired me to re-examine some of the things that I have kept and whether or not they really are things I need or if they are things that hope I’ll need (see my previous post about hope bringing things).

The Word is Murder – I was lucky enough to win this from the publisher a couple months ago, but it arrived right before my summer reading slump. I finally picked it up in the last couple of days of the month and devoured it. It was incredibly amusing and a great mystery with lots of interesting characters. My favourite thing was that the author wrote it as if it was an autobiographical story, where he tags along with a detective while the detective tries to solve a murder. It was great fun!

August felt like a good reading month, though I continue to start and quit books on a weekly basis. I’m glad that I’m not making myself read things, but it feels weird to quit so much. Hopefully, it’s just the usual summer slump. And, really, even if it isn’t, I’ve been really pleased with the books that I have finished.

While I don’t have any specific reading plans for September, I think that I might focus on my unread books (which have been being ignored due to an unusual influx of library holds). I’ve picked up a new Anthony Horowitz mystery (which I won from the publisher) and, despite only being a chapter in, I’m already hooked. I’ve also been slowly working on a book about climate change which is both interesting and a little depressing, but I’m keen to read it (and already underlining so much!).

Also, I might see if I can find some time for a few book review posts because I would genuinely like to talk a bit about some of the books I’ve read in the past two months.

 

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