Guest Post from Alyse
For me the ultimate form of relaxation is reading, especially before bed. In the last few years (around the time I got my first iPhone), I noticed I am unable to concentrate as well as I used to. I started to put gentle pressure on myself to read at least 100 pages a day, especially during COVID-19 (what else was there to do besides binge watch Tiger King???). As a result, this internal expectation took away the joy and relaxation that I got from reading. I turned to my sister to discuss how I was feeling about this pressure to read. My sister then told me about her year-long goal of recording all the books she has read. I thought her idea of recording books read versus reading 100 pages daily was a lot more attainable and satisfying. I noticed that there were days that I read more than 100 pages and other days where I read nothing. The internal pressure was relieved and I fell back in love with reading. As the months have progressed, I am now able to see all the book titles I read, and take pride in my feeling of accomplishment.
Several months later when I reviewed my list, I noticed that I had read many non-fiction books. I thought to myself, “it’s COVID, don’t be so hard on yourself, reading is your escapism.” However, it kept on bothering me that I wasn’t reading any non-fiction. I took it upon myself to try to find something non-fiction that would interest me. I began by asking friends what they could recommend. My friends were so happy and enthusiastic to share about books that they enjoyed. It was a relief to discuss something other than the pandemic. I also pursued books lists created by my favourite celebrities, Indigo and the New York Times Bestseller List. In the end, I settled upon Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. This book was recommended by a friend and on the bestseller list. Shoe Dog is a memoir written by Phil Knight, the founder and CEO of NIKE. As an individual who likes to exercise and owns some NIKE products, I was interested in finding out how this company became internationally successful and iconic. I enjoyed the book and I felt like I learned a lot about the ups and downs of starting a business.
How to start your own Books Read list:
- Decide where you will keep your books read list. On the notes application in your phone? In a journal? On a piece of paper on the side of the fridge?
- The list can be flexible and include reading forms like articles, magazines, audio books, graphic novels, etc… Do what works for you and what you enjoy!
- Buying books can become expensive and during COVID-19, some people are not comfortable borrowing books from friends or the library. I recommend looking into free ebooks and audio books from Over Drive https://www.overdrive.com/. The Toronto Public Library and many other libraries provide free access.
- Reflect on your book list. Are there other genres you want to explore?
- Share your book list with a friend. Discuss the items you’ve read.
Alyse’s Book Recommendations:
- March by John Lewis https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17346698-march
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/693208.The_Absolutely_True_Diary_of_a_Part_Time_Indian
- Hunger by Roxane Gay https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26074156-hunger
- The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43822731-the-dearly-beloved
- Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/52845775-minor-feelings
- Bluets by Maggie Nelson https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6798263-bluets