I was the kid whose punishment was getting my book taken away. Not TV restrictions. Not grounding. I was always reading.
Sometime after moving to Arizona at 20 years old, I stopped reading for pleasure. I’m not sure exactly why, but I think it had to do with the insane amount of required reading for school and my newly discovered obsession with Grey’s Anatomy. But why had I stopped doing something that used to bring me joy? We can blame depression for that one. I also used to listen to music all the time and spent hours and hours curating playlists, but I stopped doing that too. Depression is a bitch. She has a way of making you forget about all the things that made you happy.
Until last year, I couldn’t remember the last time I picked up a book without an ulterior motive, so I made a goal in 2019 to read ten books. I read three books…maybe. I started way more than that, but it was really hard for me to get into a story. Last year was tough. I was either pregnant or postpartum and sleep deprived with a baby that refused to sleep through the night. I didn’t prioritize and make time for just reading. Instead I tried to multitask by watching the kids and reading at the same time. I don’t recommend it.
So this year, I set a new goal of 12 books. That’s one book a month…totally manageable, right? But the biggest change I made was creating a habit. Every night, while in bed, I read for 15-30 minutes (sometimes I was too tired and would just go straight to sleep). I got a library card. I bought a Kindle Paperwhite. I made a list of all the books I wanted to read. There was a mix of genres: self-help, classic literature, thrillers, murder mysteries, fantasy, and other non-fiction. Then I set up an Overdrive account through the Tempe Public Library and was able to borrow e-books straight to my Kindle (you can also do audio books but I have a hard time listening to anything technical). Amazon also offers Prime Reading where you can read all of the Harry Potter series for FREE as well as other titles. I set myself up for success.
I’ve more than doubled my goal this year by reading 28 books and I just started my 29th. I hope to make it an even 30 before the year is done.
Here are some of my favorite books from the year. Full disclosure, the links are a part of the Amazon Affiliate Program. I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!
“Self-Help” Books that are Actually Helpful
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
- The End of Mental Illness by Dr. Daniel Amen
- The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary, PhD.
- Make Your Moment by Dion Lim
- I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen
Some Other Excellent Reads
- Breathe by James Nestor
- Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
- The Book of Flying by Keith Miller
- Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman
- The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
- The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
- The Premonition Series by Amy A. Bartol
Still On My Reading List
- Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis
- Small Animals by Kim Brooks
- Emotional Agility by Susan David, PhD.
- Chaos by Tom O’Neil
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I hope you found some joy this year by reading books and escaping reality for a little bit.
Have you read any of these titles? Which ones? Is there something I need to add to me list for next year? Let me know in the comments here or on my Instagram page @joyandotherthingsblog!