My reading journey in 2018

This year I rediscovered the magic of the local library in encouraging steady, sustainable reading. The past few years I would go into (mostly independent) booksellers on a whim, and end up buying two or three books at a time. Not only was this a costly exercise, but I would invariably only end up sticking with one of them, and they would all sit on my shelf, because I’m too proud to throw away books. They would accrete dust and go unread, and the waste of this all is too much for me.

Sure, I could go all-in on eBooks, and I’ve been a long term advocate of eReaders, having purchased and imported a Barnes & Noble Nook when it first came out, and more recently purchasing a Kindle. But there’s something about the physicality that I cannot leave behind. Plus, I lose track of all the eBooks I have purchased and not read, which comes to the second issue I have.

Pretty much all libraries have a limited amount of stock, with each book only having one or two copies available. To ensure everyone can have access to the collection, people can borrow for set amounts of time. This regular cadence of needing to return or re-borrow books, although annoying to keep up with, forces me to regularly re-think as to whether I’m really enjoying the book I’m reading, or whether it’s time to give up.

As such, this year I’ve had some decent breadth and depth in my reads. A lot of them covered self-help and how-to-live topics, as I suffered a relapse of panic attacks and intense generalised anxiety last December, but I did branch out into general knowledge from time to time as well.

The Books

I thought I’d provide a list of books I read fully this year, and those I picked up and flicked through, but either didn’t have the time or motivation to fully complete them. I may end up providing some more in-depth reviews of them, but for now I’ve got a list.

✅ Books read (fully)

  • Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures
  • Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
  • Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step At A Time
  • 10% Happier
  • So Good They Can’t Ignore You
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
  • Radical Candour
  • A Field Guide To Lies And Statistics
  • The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck
  • Happiness By Design
  • Has The West Lost It?

🤷 Books read (partially):

  • That weird book about disappearing Australian towns that I’ve forgotten the name of
  • The Long Way To A Short Angry Planet
  • Why Buddhism Is True
  • The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right
  • Clean Code
  • The Genius of Birds
  • Atomic Design

Books of 2019

I do feel a tad silly looking forward and trying to predict what I’m going to read. But I guess without intent, we’re all just flying blind, and I do want to at least shape some of my reading selection habits for next year.

“Has The West Lost It?” has inspired me to add a few books to my reading list that fall in a similar genre on the new world order that’s going to dominate the 21st century. “21 Lessons for the 21st Century”, “The New Silk Roads” and a few other books cover similar ground on what the heck the post-Trump era holds for us Westerners who are positively progressive but somewhat ~realistic~ level-headed about the future.

Bill Gates’ book lists are a positive goldmine of insightful reads, and I’m going to grab inspiration and direct recommendations from them going forward.

Jenny Odell’s upcoming “How To Do Nothing: Resisting The Attention Economy” is on my list too, and is a handy reminder to do stupid, pointless shit (and read stupid, pointless shit) for the sake of it.

But for the most part, I’ll probably just find my books by wandering through my local libraries.