What I Read in January + Why I’m Reading 52 Books

In my post about my 24in48 experience I briefly touched on the fact that I have two challenges this year. My first is to read 52 books and the second is to complete the PopSugar Reading Challenge for 2019.

The former goal is the one that is guiding me this year. Why 52 books? Since I completed high school almost 10 years ago I became burned out when it came to reading. I used to devour books like they were nothing and I loved to read more than anything. Once I started university and had to read academic journals every week the thought of sitting down and reading became too much for me. The habit of reading never really returned and for years I’ve found it easier to just re-watch the same show for the 10th time on Netflix.

The thing is, I know that reading makes my mental health feel better. After going through the worst fight with depression in the fall I started to make changes in my life. Returning to reading is one of these changes.

52 books is lofty, especially when you haven’t been in the habit of reading. But I need big goals. It’s why I’ve moved from half-marathons to the full distance. I need a big push. I’m also a huge planner so aiming to read 52 books gives me an excuse to write a plan. As I also mentioned in my 24in48 post, I like to have three books on the go – an audio book, a physical book, and en e-book (I thought I would hate this format but it turns out my Kindle has changed my life!).

As a long-distance runner I like audio books because I can throw on my headphones on a listen while I run for an hour or two. I prefer memoirs in this format in case I zone out so I don’t miss a plot point. I like physical books because I love the look of having a home library and while Marie Kondo may disagree, my little library brings me joy. Finally, I love having my Kindle because it’s easy for me to cart to the gym where I can read on the treadmill or while cycling and it makes the cardio go by so much faster.

Now, onto my January results. I’m sitting at 9/52 books complete. 24in48 helped put me way ahead of schedule so once the nice weather picks up and I’m a little bit busier I won’t feel as guilty if my reading slows down.

Audio Books:
Let Your Mind Run – Deena Kastor and Michelle Hamilton. 
I felt like I needed this book. After dealing with my depression and running burn-out in the fall, listening to Kastor talk about her experience with shifting her perception and its effect on her running abilities really struck a cord with me. It’s a fluffy story with lots of descriptors about sceneries, foods, and emotions. Its not a self-help or a memoir, but more like a conversation with a friend.
PS Reading Prompt: A book about a hobby (I stretched this – her career is MY hobby)

Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
I love listening to David Sedaris on This American Life and have had his books on my To Be Read list for a while now. I found myself laughing out loud while listening to him recount his past. Sedaris is an incredible storyteller and I highly suggest purchasing his books in audio form to experience something really special.

Kindle:
Braving the Wilderness – Brene Brown
A lot of reviews on Goodreads from those who have previously read Brown’s books seemed to feel like she was regurgitating previous material, but, to me, this book blew my mind. After struggling with depression I feel like this book was like one of my therapy sessions. I highlighted and bookmarked so many passages because it felt like I was having all of these breakthroughs while reading her words. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more by Brown.
PS Reading Prompt: A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same letter

Finding Me – Michelle Knight
Knight recounts her story of her many years held captive by Ariel Castro. She talks a lot about her life prior to being kidnapped and her entire story is heartbreaking. It feels like the wrong word to use, but I “enjoyed” it.

How I Became the Fittest Woman on Earth – Tia-Clair Toomey
Despite having never done CrossFit, I love watching CrossFit documentaries and following athletes on social media. Tia-Clair is a two-time winner of the CrossFit Games and it was incredible to read her story to-date. It’s a light read and a must for any interested in CF.

Physical:
What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal – Zoe Heller
I have complicated feelings about this one. It was interesting but it was dark and it tackles such a sensitive topic that I walked away feeling almost dirty after reading it and disappointed in all of the characters involved.
PS Reading Prompt: Book with a question in the title

Lord of the Flies – William Golding
While I read it dozens of times from childhood into adolescence and my teenager years, it was my first time re-reading it as an adult. I still love it but it was interesting to read it from a more mature place.
PS Reading Prompt: Reread of a favourite

The Woman in the Window – AJ Finn. 
I loved this one. While I had figured out some of the twists I was definitely caught up in the thrill of this story. I could not put it down but don’t want to say anything else in fear of spoiling it for someone else.
PS Reading Prompt: Book becoming a movie in 2019

My Sister the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite
As someone who loves her little sister more than anything but has definitely had times where our relationship has been complicated, I really felt like I could relate to the overall theme of this story. It was a really quick read and I thought the plot was really interesting and different from what I’ve read before.
PS Reading Prompt: Book written by an author from Asia, Africa, or South America

 

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