Mid Year Reading Check-In | BOOKS

Holy fuck. It’s June.

Don’t worry. This is not a post where I say I have read 115 books out of my 100 book Goodreads challenge. This is just a reflection on my reading year thus far in 2019.

I feel like my reading has taken quite a drastic change this year from the last ten or so years.

2019 has been the year of non-fiction for me.

I will say that as writing this I have completed and surpassed my Goodreads challenge goal of 12 books. Summer is quickly approaching which usually means my reading slows down significantly.

Reflecting on the books I have read thus far it seems like I am need of a lot of self-help. A majority, if not all, of the books read can be, and have been, categorized as “self-help”. But to the contrary, I do not see myself as someone in need of “self-help”. I am very comfortable in who I am, more so, what I believe in. But the problem is… I don’t have anyone to talk about these revelations with.

Take a book like Them: Why We Hate Each Other So Much. The book is about how we as a country and/or civilization hate the other half for simply being the other half. How we don’t know our neighbors anymore and form far less livelong relationships than we did in our past. America is broken. We divided into us and them. It somehow came to light that if you are not for something you must automatically be against it. And that is not my thought process at all. Just because I personally don’t believe in something, or believe in something, does not mean I am against those who think differently of me. I can accept those people in my life. I can only hope to learn from them. But holy shit, try and say that out loud to anyone besides my husband and you would have thought I was saying to drown your children. Calm down people.

Or how about Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive. Being a mom is probably the hardest thing I will do in my life. I could not imagine doing it without the emotional and financial support of not only my husband but my family. While I get upset that they don’t always support me in way I would like, they are still my support system. I will be honest and say I passed all sorts of judgments on people on food stamps or public assistance. I have complained in the past about where my tax dollars are going to “people who refuse to work” or “do better for themselves”. This book helped me see the other side. That yeah, maybe the mother with four kids in the grocery aisle in front of me may be buying a bunch of shit that I’m paying for but it never occurred to me that maybe their assistance was unable to cover a balanced diet, let alone organic or even remotely healthy.

Then I read Flinch. Which taught me about the flinch before doing something scary and how we should not shy away from it. How that flinch is there for a reason. The flinch is there to push us. Don’t give into the flinch. Right after, I read Blink which about what we think about when we don’t realize we’re thinking. About the choices we make unknowingly. About the decisions or assumptions we make in a blink of an eye. We all have a loving, happy couple in our lives that we are surprised to hear is getting divorced. Blink goes into why we are surprised when this happens. Or why we prefer Coke or Pepsi, or vice versa. If I tried telling someone they were just picking a certain item, topic, ANYTHING because of the way it looked instead of how it actually preformed they would deny, deny, deny.

Girl Stop Apologizing and Crushing It! were the types of conversations I need particularly in my life. Conversations with myself that said “fuck what ya heard” and “do you boo boo”. I don’t necessarily have that kind of support in my life. I don’t have a hype person to push me. To tell me that I can do it. These books were that for me. They did not really teach me anything; it’s advice I very easily give other people but don’t actually hear myself.

Two years ago I discovered Minimalism. It took me a good year and a half to two years to get a handle on it. This year I reached the point where I needed to get a handle on something that is not tangible. Something that can not be bought or sold. My time.I have been having a hard time getting a handle on utilizing my time properly. I was excited when Essentialism came into my life. It was a light bulb going off in my head. Hearing what I needed to hear. That utilizing my time is not about sleeping less or getting up at the ass crack of dawn to get everything done. Essentialism was a conversation about being intentional with my time. That prioritizing my time is better than trying to fit everything and everyone in. For years I would be the first person to tell someone that it’s okay to say no. That no is a complete sentence. But I was not following my own words. I needed to have this conversation with Greg McKeown. And my sleep thanks me for it.

I was already in the process of practicing digital minimalism when Digital Minimalism came through as a forgotten pre-order. While I did not learn much from this book and I was already practicing a lot of what was suggested I would still buy this book for everyone if I could. It was nice to have some reinforcement to the seemingly insane thoughts in my head. When I try to talk to people who are constantly on their phones about maybe not being on their phones so much I get weird looks. So many people did not know that there are Do Not Disturb options on their phones, let alone that there are Emergency Bypass options so you don’t have to worry about missing a call from someone important.

I am rounding out these six months of mostly non-fiction with Late Bloomers and Stop Doing That Shit. A book about how it’s okay if you don’t find your way at 18 or 19 like society expects us to. That some people don’t find their ways until their 40, 50 or even 60. Which was so pleasant to hear because I often tell people I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. And it is so hard when I feel like I am surrounded by people who know exactly what they want or am following people on social media that are doing what I think I want to do while I am just over hear drinking the haterade because I am not in the place yet to make the kind of time necessary to do the damn thing. So when I picked up Stop Doing That Shit I was not expecting to get much out of it. The title of the book encourages the readers to stop the self sabotaging behaviors they have been doing. And if you are anything like me you assume that self-sabotage means a drinking, drug or gambling problem; being unfaithful to your significant other. Think of just about any made-for-TV movie or drama. Stop Doing That Shit is a conversation about how you are not only your problems but also your solutions.

While it may seem like these are the only non-fiction I read… that is not entirely true. I also read these interesting books. They did not grab me as much but I can appreciate them for what they are.

At the time of writing this I have read 19 books for the year. 13 out of the 19 have been non-fiction. Never would I have thought that would ever be the case.

[ Currently I am listening to non-fiction self-help book number 14 for the year; Everything is Fucked: A Book About Hope ]

Up until now I have needed fictional stories in my life. Stories to take me away. Stories to fill a void. Now I find myself needing conversation and deep thought.

This post is really just proof that reading tastes do change. And it is perfectly okay.

Can’t wait to see what the next six months in reading holds for me. I am feeling a little true-crime; a thriller maybe….

JS.

All of these books can be found in their own separate and full reviews.

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