How I Read

As we enter the last month of 2020, there have been quite a few changes in my own personal habits that I’m quite proud of having started and maintained. One of them is blogging again (so far, I’ve been updating this blog weekly in my longest stint since 2015!). And the other one is in how I read.

You might have noticed that I’ve been reading more this year, and been posting more about it as well. The pandemic shut down our city’s libraries for a brief stint and all I did was read e-books. After a time, this proved a bit tiresome. When the physical locations reopened, I rediscovered the joys that our local library has to offer, not least among which includes the ability to place holds and have books delivered. And physical books. May they never be replaced.

I’ve also been reading a lot of nonfiction. This year I covered a number of books around parenting, homeschooling, and education (all tied to each other), and my fiction reading was a bit scarce. In the past, I’ve chosen fiction first, and almost always fantasy of some sort. I also devour fiction at a much faster pace; nonfiction takes me more time to chew through.

With reading more nonfiction, however, I’ve begun paying more attention to others’ recommendations. This has led to discovering some great books I’d like to revisit in the future, such as Handmade: Creative Focus in the Age of Distraction by Gary Rogowski (someone I would never have picked up, if not for Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport, a book that a thoughtful librarian chose to display at our library); or The Montessori Classroom: A Teacher’s Account of How Children Really Learn (how I even got into Montessori is still a surprise to me); or Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld (a mum mentioned it in an online comment, in one of the homeschooling groups I’m in).

Honestly, these are not books I would have picked up at the library, a year ago, even if they were on display. Yes, I sometimes judge a book by its cover. The neat thing though, is that they’ve led me to other reading as well. Not only am I blogging about my reading, but I’m also looking up books mentioned in the references and putting those on hold as well. While this pretty much guarantees that I’ll never run out of things to read, I find it a surprising personal development, but one that I’m happy with, that I am increasingly interested in seeking out what others have to say on certain topics.

Another thing I’m doing is marking pages to revisit after I’ve finished reading the book. Can’t use a highlighter on those library books (and really, highlighters are dangerous weapons to the untrained, i.e. me). Then I type up the passages that resonated with me. Part of that leads to more blog posts. Other times I just take up Jack’s earspace by reading aloud things that I really like and that’s that for the book’s passage.

Finally, one more thing I’ve been doing is making better use of the library’s web tools. No need to sign up for something like Goodreads if I’m just going to be making lists of books that I want to read later, or to review the books that I’ve borrowed (those get recorded automatically if you turn your borrowing history on). While it’s true that the library doesn’t have everything I’m looking for, there’s also way too many books out there to read anyway. So keeping things limited to the local library has helped me keep my reading scope small(-er than it would normally be).

I’m excited to see what the new year will continue to bring in terms of knowledge and personal development. How do you choose what to read?

Featured photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

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