READING || December 2019

Wednesday, January 1, 2020
books read:
~ Reticence (Custard Protocol #4) by Gail Carriger
~ Lake Silence (The World of the Others #1; The Others #6) by Anne Bishop
~ Wild Country (The World of the Others #2; The Others #7) by Anne Bishop
~ Malamander (Malamander #1) by Thomas Taylor
~ A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1) by Arkady Martine
~ Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop (reread)
~ Awakening the Buddhist Heart by Lama Surya Das (reread)
~ Spellslinger (Spellslinger #1) by Sebastien de Castell
~ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J. K. Rowling (reread)
~ Practicing Peace by Pema Chodron
~ Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield
~ A Better Death by Ranjana Srivstava
~ How to Be Sick by Toni Bernhard (reread)
~ Aurora Blazing (Consortium Rebellion #2) by Jessie Mihalik
~ Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

DNFs in December:
~ Angel Mage by Garth Nix {DNF @ 24%}

This month was quite successful because I just really spent a lot of time at home hiding from the summer/other things going on. And I decided to move through a semi-reading slump by returning to series I had loved previously and getting into the newer releases that I hadn't read yet - this worked very very well, and I got through a few books in short order. I really re-discovered my love for The Others books by Anne Bishop this month - I had intended to go back and reread the original Others books from Written in Red all the way through to Etched in Bone, but kind of stalled on book two and realised that I just wanted to read other things, so decided reading three Others books in one month might be enough...

Another stand-out was a book that I had on my 'awaiting' shelf on goodreads and just hadn't gotten around to - A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. I wasn't really sure how I was going to go with this one, since I knew it was fairly politics-heavy, and I am not much of a fan of politics in real life. But this just blew me away - the writing was beautiful, the characters amazingly relatable, and it really got me thinking about that feeling of wanting so much to be a part of another culture or country, but never being able to because ultimately you aren't a part of that culture. That feeling of always being an outsider. Needless to say, I am eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.

A lot of this month involved books about Buddhism and Buddhist thought/meditation. I am really enjoying returning to books like this, and I am feeling a lot calmer and more capable as a result, so I think it's been a good choice.

Another book I just want to quickly mention is Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. I can't remember who mentioned this, possibly I saw it mentioned on a YouTube video, but I decided on a whim to give it a go. I am much more minimalist these days than ten years ago, and I am often thoughtful about what I actually need in my life, versus what I want, and I was intrigued by the premise of 'Living Better with Less Technology'. I really loved this book - split into two parts, one being about the thought running underneath the idea of Digital Minimalism and why we might need it, and the second part offering more practical applications. Part one is shorter than part two, and I really loved this - a lot of books about this sort of idea wax lyrical on the dangers of making friends with technology, but never really give you many ideas of how to optimise its use for you, barring the usual 'turn off your notifications', and I find that really frustrating. This book really lays it out for you, offers multiple suggestions on how to embrace Digital Minimalism, and - barring some of the usual ableism that is often in these books (eg. I can't often go for long walks, which is a main suggestions here) - the author does talk about making Digital Minimalism fit your lifetsyle, rather than insisting on a one-size-fits-all approach. Highly recommend if you are interested in stepping away from social media and notification frenzy, and towards more enriching hobbies (if you don't find social media enriching, that is!).

Well, that's it for this year. This decade, even. How strange to be saying that! Goodreads informs me that I read about 160 books in 2019, which is a number I will take with a grain of salt as I didn't always report what I was reading, and it also counted quite a few of my DNFs as 'books read', so it's a ballpark number at best. Still, I feel just a little proud thinking of that - I'm only human! I am currently thinking about what I want my reading to look like in 2020, and I'm honestly not too sure at this point. 2019 really showed me more about what my reading tastes are like, and I have really begun to embrace the DNF as a way of getting to things that might light me up instead of dragging me down into a reading slump. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure I will even continue to do these reading wrap-up posts, as I don't think most people enjoy reading through my thoughts, even when they are quite short. Ultimately, I'd like to make more of a turn towards my non-bookish content in 2020, writing more about topics I am thinking about, chronic illness stuff, and such, rather than book review after book review. I started this blog as a way to share my reading, yes, but also as a way to explore my journey with chronic illness and, barring the occasional post of spoonie musings, I feel like I hardly ever put anything up that isn't a book review, or a wrap-up post. Anyway, that's just something I'm thinking on at the moment.

I hope your 2019 was wonderful, and your 2020 looks bright. But, if not, I hope this post offered you a little bit of solace in all the new year madness. Love to all who read.

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