habit shift: read more (revisited).

February 4, 2019
read more | reading my tea leaves

It’s been two years since I last wrote about making a concerted effort to read more books. At the time of my first post, Faye was just a bit more than two and I was feeling like I’d figured things out enough to carve out time to read for pleasure. Of course, in the time that’s elapsed since then, I found myself saddled (happily, but nonetheless) with another very tiny human who needed me, once again, for all sorts of things that made reading for the fun of it seem difficult or else like it couldn’t be a priority. I slipped. Down time I’d previously used for snuggling up with a good book was taken up by snuggling two kids, or sleeping, or pumping, or else mindlessly scrolling a feed of other people’s photos feeling too exhausted to muster any more energy than it took to move my thumb up and down a screen and worry about what I was doing with my life.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that I find myself revisiting the habit with renewed success now that that very tiny infant is himself a pigtail-wearing two-year-old able to entertain himself.

read more | reading my tea leaves

All of the bits of advice I wrote about in my first post hold true, but I’ve found success recently by embracing—or considering—a few others, too:

Making a list: I’ve never been good about recording the books that I read, but I started to at the beginning of the year and, ever competitive with myself, I’ve found that the act of creating the list of books and adding to it has been encouraging me to read more of them. I know I’m not alone here, but in case you’re not someone who’s given that particular strain of record keeping a try, consider it. I made space in my project book, but any place—digital or analog—would work.

Sharing: There are about a million things that are good about having a sister living just a few blocks away, but one of the best parts is swapping books. Cait’s always in the middle of a book and when she’s done, she passes the physical copy (or the library recommendation) along to me. It’s a handy way of keeping the supply coming and it’s awfully nice to have someone to talk to about the books once I’m finished. Which brings me to my next point…

Talk about them: My sister and I are thinking about starting a little book club. I’ve never been a part of a book club (unless I count graduate school, and really I should) but I love to read and I love to talk, so the combination seems readymade for me. Besides, being around other adult humans and *not* talking about work or children just sounds terrific. Scheduling that time onto my calendar and committing to *actually* doing it? Even better.

Put down my phone: Pesky advice that’s perennially true. All of that mindless scrolling isn’t really so mindless. It’s taking up my time and my energy, no matter how passive it feels. Plugging my phone into the kitchen basket at night and climbing into bed with a book? So much better.

read more | reading my tea leaves

What about you? Book clubbers out there? List makers? Phone putter-away-ers?

For the curious, books I’ve read so far this year:

Becoming by Michelle Obama

L’appart by David Lebovitz

Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim

Weird Parenting Wins by Hillary Frank

and I just started In Spite of Oceans by Huma Qureshi

Most importantly: What are you reading?

This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links. 

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94 Comments

  • Reply Genevieve February 4, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    I just signed up for the Scout Project this year, and the first month’s badge was reading. The challenges were much like yours. Maybe you want a badge too! 🙂 http://www.thescoutproject.org/

  • Reply andrea February 4, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    I certainly do love reading lists. xo

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 4, 2019 at 9:24 pm

      Master list maker!

  • Reply Lee February 4, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    My friend and I recently finished the first round of our “self-help” book club. We read a book by Brene Brown and talked about how it related to our lives. It was a great way to share the hard parts of our lives with each other and to share wisdom and encouragement. I’m looking forward to starting a new book soon!

    • Reply Sophie February 7, 2019 at 11:14 pm

      Hmm, this sounds like something I could get behind. Maybe I’ll see if any of my friends want to start something like that this year. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply kim February 4, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    I just finished listening to Tara Westover’s Educated and currently reading Ben Heder’s Take Off Your Shoes (NYC CEO takes a sabbatical in Bali). Audiobooks work well for me because I can listen while I cycle to work, doing chores etc. Easy to squueze in a few minutes here and there. My goals this year are to read the My Brilliant Friend series before season 2 of the HBO series starts, follow your lead and read one or two books on race and bias, and read How to Talk so Little Kids will Listen with my husband.

  • Reply SEM February 4, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Also reading (listening) to Becoming. Michelle narrates in the audio book and I love it. Also three other non fiction… Down Girl by Kate Manne, Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay, and Palaces for the People by Eric Klinenberg.

  • Reply Sally February 4, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    It seems that every year I make a resolution to read one book a month, and by the end of the first month, I give up. Even though I’m four days late, I think two this month is doable to catch up – now that I’ve seen your list! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Had a weird thought when you mentioned you leave your phone in the kitchen. How do you wake up in the morning? Do you use an alarm clock? Knowing your lovely taste, I thought I might ask what beautiful object you use to wake yourself up instead of a phone!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 4, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      I have two human alarm clocks set to 6 am!

  • Reply Sophie February 4, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Join Goodreads!

    I’ve found it’s the best way of keeping a digital list of books you want to read and have already read, plus it’s even better for finding recommendations from friends, authors and other bookworms. Since using it not only have I read more but have read a more diverse range of books too.

    (If you do get it you should definitely follow Roxane Gay for her diverse suggestions and pithy reviews!)

    • Reply Lexie February 4, 2019 at 3:44 pm

      Goodreads is the BEST! I love the extrinsic motivation of setting the goal and sharing my progress with friends!

    • Reply Nicole February 5, 2019 at 1:23 am

      Yes!! I LOVE Goodreads and am always trying to convince others to join. I like being able to set a reading goal each year and watch books get checked off the list. So gratifying!

      Erin – some of my recent faves are:
      A Place For Us – Fatima Fahreen Mirza (so so beautiful!)
      Sourdough – Robin Sloan (fun + different)
      My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante
      Here I Am – Jonathan Safran Foer
      Where The Line Bleeds – Jesmyn Ward
      Stay With Me – Ayobami Adebeyo
      What We Lose – Zinzi Clemmons

      Next in my queue: Sight by Jessie Greengrass and book #2 in the Neapolitan series!

      I could prob keep going for awhile 😉

    • Reply Ashley February 6, 2019 at 12:44 pm

      I echo the Goodreads fans! It is “social media” record keeping worth doing, in my opinion. It is incredibly motivating and inspiring– I also get a mini monologue in my book review that feels a little book clubbish since my other reader friends will be seeing it. It’s a fabulous way to track a reading goal!

  • Reply Genevieve February 4, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Excellent tips!

    I am reading The Fifth Queen by Ford Madox Ford, and Flights by Olga Tokarczuk. I find Goodreads to be of great help, partly for providing a place where I can keep a list of what I want to read, and enormously because it helps me keep track of what I have read and thus prevents me from going insane trying to remember a certain book based on an amorphous memory of the plotline or what the cover looked like.

  • Reply Rachel February 4, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    I, too, have the goal to read more books this year. So far I am ahead of my goal. I also have a list of books to read written in my planner. Lots of books on my Kindle, and a few “older” books will be borrowed from the library.

    I also read Michelle Obama’s book over Thanksgiving. It was remarkable, and a book I know I will cherish forever. I had zero guilt purchasing the book to keep.

    I’m currently reading The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker.

  • Reply Alison February 4, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    I highly recommend Goodreads if anyone is looking for a digital solution. It’s easy to find books, keep them on your “to read” list, and then I always have that handy on my phone or computer when I’m at the library or requesting books. It’s also nice to give a quick rating and keep track of what I’ve read so I can quickly recommend books to friends. By keeping track of my reading, I’ve definitely increased it the past few years. Last year I read 74 books, and only two years ago I was much closer to the 25 mark. It’s one of those habits that the more you do it, the more you get from it, but it can be easy to fall out of practice.

    The one other thing I love is prior to a trip, I try to find a book set in the location, or written by a local/native author. It’s been a fun way to integrate my travels with reading when I plan. It’s been fun to read books I never would have looked for otherwise as well!

  • Reply Rachel February 4, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    I read Wallace Earle Stegner’s “Crossing to Safety” and Jeffrey Eugenides’ “Middlesex” this past month, and highly recommend both!

  • Reply Rebecca February 4, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Not that you asked for members, but I’d love to join a book club!! 🙂

  • Reply Jo February 4, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    A book club! A great idea. When I moved to a new city with my sister we started one to meet new people. The rule was you had to bring someone along who didn’t know anyone. And a plate of food.

    We also didn’t all read the same book – we’d each bring in a book that we’d read and share it with the group. It was a great way to be introduced to new books without feeling locked in to reading a whole book in 1 month and meant there was always a new book for me to borrow.

    It kind of turned into a Culture Club with us usually getting distracted and talking about new plays, movies, songs, exhibits etcinstead of our books. ☺️

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 4, 2019 at 9:22 pm

      A culture club also sounds excellent!

  • Reply jenna February 4, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Great post – I read a book about cell phone use in December and vowed that I was missing the real world by spending so much time on my phone. I now read whenever I would have been on my phone (deleting Facebook and other social media apps really helped!), and it is honestly so great! I feel like I am learning a lot more (as I tend to draw towards nonfiction books). Thanks for sharing!
    -Jenna ♥

  • Reply Lauren February 4, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Where did you find that excellent tape?

  • Reply Lexie February 4, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    I am reading Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs and The Idiot by Elif Batuman. I find that I can plough through memoirs like nobody’s business so I often read them alongside fiction or topical nonfiction. I read more than one book at a time, and I keep the app Pocket on my phone to read articles as well! It’s great!

    • Reply Kim B. February 5, 2019 at 1:44 am

      I am a HUGE Pocket user. My work commute is by metro, and I live abroad, so for me it’s the perfect way to catch up on my New Yorker reading . .. or LitHub, or a book review, or whatEVER article I find that I want to read. It’s so great to have something handy for when I have no cell or WiFi access.

    • Reply Kim B February 5, 2019 at 1:45 am

      Also LOVE Elif Batuman. Will read anything she or Rebecca Mead writes!!

  • Reply Ali Enza February 4, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    I’ve managed to read 6 books so far this year and I can definitely attribute that to having gotten a Kindle. My brother got me one for Christmas and it lives in my bag. I read on the way to and from work and sometimes during my snack and lunch breaks. It’s been great as I’ve only read free books so far and it’s lighter than paper books.
    That being said, I love reading paper books and just bought myself the Eragon series (I read it the first time ages ago as it was coming out when I was in High School) and I’m going to set the books next to my bed so I can read at the end of the day without a screen.

  • Reply Emily February 4, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    I’m reading The Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It’s about immortal cells, cancer, science history and mostly about a woman and her family, how her body has been used to make incredible gains in medicine but she never knew about it because no one asked for consent, and her family was never supported or compensated. It’s fascinating and heart-breaking.

  • Reply Beth February 4, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    I recently finished Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower by Tom Krattenmaker and am currently reading Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver. Would totally recommend both! Weirdly, I’ve been documenting finished books on Twitter for years now, and even though I’m not much of an avid “tweeter,” it brings me a little gold-star satisfaction to log on and record title and author as soon as I’ve finished the last chapter. 🙂

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 4, 2019 at 9:20 pm

      I love that. (All about that gold-star satisfaction, no surprise!)

    • Reply Tom Krattenmaker February 7, 2019 at 9:18 am

      Thanks for reading – and recommending – my book! I, too, am a Barbara Kingsolver reader and fan,k BTW.

  • Reply Janean February 4, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    I know this may seem extreme but it’s what I had to do: took Safari off my phone. (Well, technically disabled it under the Restrictions setting.) It has been nearly two months and I’ve read 7 books. I use my computer for a living so am still connected but all those hours I would scroll when bored, in bed, on commute… is now devoted to reading and other healthier activities. I feel human again!

  • Reply Erin S February 4, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    I’m over halfway through with ‘You Think It, I’ll Say It’ by Curtis Sittenfeld. It’s a book of short stories and I am really liking it. I’ve gotten a little rusty with my reading habits as well. These stories feel accessible and current – while also providing complex, interesting characters.

  • Reply Jenna February 4, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    A few years ago I joined Emma Watson’s book club on Goodreads, called “Our Shared Shelf” (I think the original recommendation may have come from these tea leaves?) and have never looked back. Her choices focus on feminist books, both non-fiction and fiction. More recently, in the last year or so, she has really been focused on inter-sectional feminism and highlighting books written and/or edited by women of colour. I’ve found many new favourites through the book club, but alas, also some duds that just don’t do it for me. I suggest taking a look if you haven’t already!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 4, 2019 at 9:19 pm

      Ha, yes! I definitely shared it here. Need to revisit!

  • Reply Tabitha February 4, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    I am reading The Wife (Meg Wolitizer) and Decolonizing Trauma Work (Renee Linklater). I picked up The Library Book (Susan Orlean) to start tonight. I have kept a book journal for around 10 years, recording what I’ve read and when I finished it. I also keep a list of suggestions to read on my phone. I love to read and so I have made it a priority in my life.

    • Reply Kim B February 5, 2019 at 1:49 am

      The Library Book is sooooo good. Part history of the LA Library, part mystery investigation and character sketch of a shady suspect, part vignettes of historical library leaders, and a paean to reading and libraries. I couldn’t have loved it more.

  • Reply sonya February 4, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    I am reading Joy Enough by Sarah McColl (I attended her book launch recently in Brooklyn). I too have a goal to read more (and have less screen time) this year! My first mission is to tackle the stack of unread books that has been piling up, including quite a few books by friends (shame, shame).
    Seconded: where’s that great tape from?

  • Reply Juliette S Rousseau February 4, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    The SF public library web site is perfect for all that – it keeps track of my reading history, gives me suggestions based on my interests but also on what the library is showcasing, allows me to keep titles on a “for later shelf”, suggest other titles when what I am looking for is unavailable – it’s a gold mine. I read so much more now that I don’t agonize over the choice (and sometimes the price) I didn’t buy the book so if I don’t like it I bring it back, it’s so freeing!

  • Reply Cheryl February 4, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    The Memory Chamber by Holly Cave – could not put it down!

  • Reply Kristen February 4, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    Wonderful! I’m definitely a “phone putter-awayer.” I followed a couple of guides for moving toward a minimalist iPhone that works for me—not the other way around—and deleted almost all of my social media profiles. The result has been profound… so much more time for reading.

    Here’s what I’ve finished so far this year:
    * Finished reading Leonardo (started in 2018)
    * Educated (SO good)
    * Becoming
    * The Hidden Life of Trees

    Next on the list:
    * My Own Words
    * Sisters in Law
    * Greek to Me (new release)
    * See You in the Piazza (new release)
    * The Moment of Lift (new release)

  • Reply Liz February 4, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    When breath becomes air is a beautiful book

  • Reply Sarah February 4, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    I also enjoyed Educated, well not sure if “enjoyed” is the correct word for such a life story, but it was a very good read. I had to do it in spurts as it was a bit heavy to take in all at once. It would make a great book club book, when I was finished I wished I had someone to chat about it with! I read Warlight, Michael Ondaatje’s new book and another book by an author who is local to me in rural Ontario, Sarah Selecky. Her book is called Radiant Shimmering Light, I think it got a mention in Good Housekeeping too! I have Becoming on order since I can’t wait to get through all 91 holds at our local library.

    • Reply kim February 5, 2019 at 10:38 pm

      I also found the book to be very heavy and graphic at times. I’ll admit I had to skip certain parts of the audio book that were too much for me. You could really sense the trauma those particular events had caused the author. I’d be very interested if she wrote a follow up in 10-20 years after some time has passed. Seemed like the author was (naturally) still processing it all.

  • Reply Naomi London February 4, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche is an amazing writer whose work I discovered last year….Half a Yellow Sun, Purple Hibiscus, Americanah…all really worth reading.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 4, 2019 at 9:16 pm

      Yes! Haven’t read her fiction! Must do.

  • Reply Megan February 4, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    I’m already nearly finished with all of the Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante (translated by Ann Goldstein) after finally beginning them this fall per many recommendations from friends and in the media. They are beautiful, intelligent, and absorbing books! Relatedly, Ann Goldstein also translates Jhumpa Lahiri’s Italian-language memoir In Other Words (about Lahiri’s experience learning Italian), which is interesting and strikes me as excellent bedtime reading!
    p.s. I so rarely comment here that I also wanted to take the opportunity to express my gratitude for your wonderful blog/Instagram account/book. I’ve been following your work for years now —I’ve learned so much from you and always appreciate the beauty of your words and images. So, thank you!

  • Reply Elizabeth February 4, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    Some friends and I started a book club (… had to think a minute…) 12 years ago this year! We meet every other month for a potluck dinner and book discussion. We each take turns choosing the book, and I’ve read so many that I never would have thought to read had they not been “assigned”., and there are enough of us (8-9ish usually) that each person’s turn to choose only comes up every 18 months or so, meaning that there’s not much pressure and there’s plenty of opportunity to read something I might not have heard of before. We’ve read brand new books and super old ones, and I find that even the ones I wasn’t crazy about while I was reading get better somehow with the discussion. Can’t recommend joining or creating a book club enough!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 4, 2019 at 9:16 pm

      Sounds so lovely!

  • Reply Floppo February 4, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    I am reading Factfullness by Hans Rosling and its very good! The way he describes the world is comforting and his 4 levels of income is genius. Everyone should read it

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 4, 2019 at 9:15 pm

      James just read this!

  • Reply Helen February 4, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    Loved the Ferrante novels, also have recently enjoyed Exit West, Underground Railroad, Pachinko, and everything by Kate Atkinson. Didn’t enjoy Educated; found it a bit cloying.

    For some reason, I have actually found that I read *more* since having kids. I have failed to do many other healthy things, but reading before bed remains pretty solid. My phone is put away about an hour or two before bedtime, maybe that helps?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 4, 2019 at 9:15 pm

      So many folks find this! I’ve found myself so tired, or otherwise trying to cram work into off hours, but definitely seeing the light!

  • Reply Amanda February 4, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    Another vote for “Educated.”
    One particular chapter is about when she learned about racism. It makes me think of my own rural, sheltered upbringing and how I was racist without realizing it (I went to college and my best friend gently and lovingly helped me understand how powerful words are).

  • Reply Jordane February 4, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    I’m actually really interrested in knowing where you got that checking boxes washi tape? And also, I’ve always wanted to be part of a book club but never had the chance.

  • Reply Sarah February 4, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    I’m making my way through the Maisie Dobbs mystery series. I use the kindle app on my phone and read on the metro on my way to/from work. It’s a calm way to start and end a busy and stressful job.

  • Reply Nicole February 4, 2019 at 11:21 pm

    On a poetry kick right now–in various stages of completion, New Poets of Native Nations, American Journal, and a Mary Oliver collection. I think I’m still hundreds deep on my library’s waitlist for Becoming, and really need to just order it!

  • Reply Nancy February 5, 2019 at 1:05 am

    Oh, yes. Sad but true—if my phone comes in to the bedroom with me, I get no reading done. Leaving my phone downstairs at night has contributed directly to finishing more books, more regularly. I have a little notebook and I write down what I’m currently reading, and random thoughts about the books, too. (I keep a little diary in it so my book reading is part of my note taking.) I also use Workflowy to keep notes about my reading, applying to any text—whether written or visual.

  • Reply Leslie Sears February 5, 2019 at 1:09 am

    This year I began as a co-admin for a new Facebook bookclub for folks in my profession! We travel too much (or have odd work schedules) so most of us have never been part of a regular book club, so we’re figuring it out together and it’s been marvelous. We have a roughly two week period to vote on reading assignments, a month to read, then we open discussion. So for this month we are discussing Zadie Smith’s Swing Time as we read Michelle Obama’s Becoming, and are about to vote on what we will read in March to discuss in April. And since all past questions and comments are in the group if people join later or get behind they can contribute as they catch up. Amazing. And great inspiration to stop binging on Netflix when we get home from work. (last brilliant thing I read was Sunlight Pilgrims. I think you’d really enjoy it actually.)

  • Reply M February 5, 2019 at 3:25 am

    I just finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine last night and really enjoyed it 🙂

  • Reply Rachel Lucas February 5, 2019 at 4:00 am

    I usually have a few books ‘on the go’ in different locations…a handbag book (sometimes on Kindle) for train/bus/plane travel, one to read in the bath (this takes ages to finish!) and always one by the bed. I religiously read at least a chapter every night. Currently this is one I’m sure you’d love Erin – ‘The Life of Stuff’ by Susannah Walker…it’s a memoir, based around the death of her mother who was a hoarder and has wonderful insights into why we hold onto things, material and psychological. Absolutely fascinating. I’m also reading a lot of books and articles surrounding the First World War, researching for a book I’m writing…luckily I love this period! Great thread.

  • Reply Lizzy February 5, 2019 at 5:11 am

    I love the tip of sharing the books you have read with someone. Some people in my office just started a book club and I was on the fence about joining, but this blog post convinced me to join. I was too focused on what I could bring to a book club. But it shouldn’t be about what I can bring (I’m sure I can string some sentences together about books), but about pushing me to read more and learn from the people in my company.

  • Reply Em February 5, 2019 at 9:14 am

    Ferrante!

  • Reply Jessica February 5, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Recently loved:
    The Neopolitan Novels like everyone else here 🙂
    Barkskins by Annie Proulx
    Becoming
    All Tana French mysteries
    The Hidden Life of Trees
    Currently Reading: So you want to talk about race? for a book discussion group

  • Reply Elviira February 5, 2019 at 10:15 am

    My favorite read from last year was Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

  • Reply Tara February 5, 2019 at 10:22 am

    Currently reading Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari and loving it! It’s a powerful and unique perspective on humans, history, and our place in the modern world. I highly recommend it.

  • Reply Amanda February 5, 2019 at 10:53 am

    1. Aw, sisters!
    2. Currently reading My Year of Rest & Relaxation. It’s dark and light at the same time, funny, engrossing, set in NYC in 2000; I’m into it. The last book I read was The Witch Elm by Tana French and I know people love her but it was kind of a waste of time IMO. They found the skull in the garden like a hundred pages in and everyone was freaking out but I was like meh. I’m in a book club now and am trying to be zen about it, but people are so fretful about choosing a dang book, I think having a two-person book club would be much more my speed. Or a blog comments section book club. Heh.
    3. LOVE THAT CHECKBOX TAPE.

  • Reply Marlena February 5, 2019 at 10:59 am

    I’m currently in graduate school, so my reading list is dominated mostly by required reading, but some recent favorites (both required reading and leisure reading) have included:
    – Less by Andrew Sean Greer
    – Palaces for the People by Eric Klinenberg
    – The Library Book by Susan Orlean
    – Ghosts in the Schoolyard by Eve Ewing
    – Tropic of Orange by Karen Tei Yamashita
    – The Big Sea by Langston Hughes
    – The Feminist Bookstore Movement by Kristen Hogan

    I highly recommend all of these!

  • Reply Sid February 5, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    I feel like most people here prefer more thoughtful “high” literature or non-fiction but if anyone is looking for pure fun escapism, I can heartily recommend everything written by Talia Hibbert – interesting, well-written diverse characters (multi/inter-racial, neuro-diverse, queer, etc.) with sweet, sexy romantic plots full of excellent discussions about consent, birth control, etc. I only wish she could clone herself and write more books so I could give her more of my money. This is also where I mention the site “Smart Bitches, Trashy Books” because they’ve become my number one way to learn about new/interesting authors – mostly romantic but also sci-fi, fantasy, etc.

  • Reply steph February 5, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    i love recording what i’ve read and making lists in general! i’m halfway through this library list: https://tps-steph.blogspot.com/2018/12/0023-library-list.html but since the rest weren’t available from my library, i checked out home fire by kamila shamsie and white teeth by sadie smith for my month away. i really want to read well read black girl and becoming, too!

  • Reply Anita February 5, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    I write lists. But not for the books I read. Unfortunately, right now, that would have been a short list. I am in the midst of reading two books, Sapiens and Homo Deus, both by Yuval Noah Harari, but I keep not making time for reading. So, they just sit there, upon my shelf, waiting. Back to lists again, I love writing lists when I have weekdays off work. They do wonders for me trying to get stuff done before a certain time, so I write a list with the tile “Stuff to do before 10 am”, or something, and then check the chores off my list as I complete them. Lists for other stuff are harder to stick with. I did start a “movies watched during Christmas”-list, and I’d love to keep up a general movie list, but then I forget about it. And, I put always my phone away in the kitchen before bed. No phones allowed in the bedroom when it’s time to go to sleep.

    But yes, the reading part. I wish I was better at taking my time to plough through some books. I do love Natsuo Kirino’s books, for instance, but she has only so much of her stuff translated into English. Japanese horror is a favorite genre of mine, both in books and movies.

  • Reply Kirstin February 5, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    I’m an NYC transplant from Portland, OR and several years ago a local newspaper reporter there wrote about a challenge between him & his son to read the most pages in a year. Since finding that article, I’ve challenged myself each year to read more books/pages than the previous year (some years I lose to my former self). I have lists of books read (complete with author & number of pages!) each year starting in 2008. 2018 held my all-time record (due to long commutes on the 6 train!) with a total of 44 books read. This year, I’ve committed to reading a majority of works by women of color. I just finished Heart Berries and I’m in the middle of LaRose.

  • Reply Amy February 5, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    I highly recommend the Modern Mrs Darcy Bookclub. It’s online so it travels with you. Lots of great reads and wonderful discussions. Perfect for introverted book lovers like me and the not so introverted too!

  • Reply Jay February 5, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    Currently reading:
    Well-Read Black Girl (ed. by Glory Edim)
    The Poisoned City (by Anna Clark , about Flint)
    Requested from the library:
    United (I’m curious to learn more about Cory Booker)
    Next on my list:
    Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine (by Alan Lightman)
    Goodbye things (by Fumio Sasaki)
    Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning (by Margareta Magnusson)
    Eloquent Rage (by Brittney Cooper)
    The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee (by David Treuer)
    Warrior Poet: A biography of Audre Lorde (by Alexis de Veaux)
    Tales of Two Americas (ed. by John Freeman)
    Squeezed (by Alissa Quart)
    Warmth of Other Suns (by Isabel Wilkerson)

  • Reply Jess February 5, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    Women Talking by Miriam Toews. Just wow.

    Also, I was late to the GoodReads club but I agree that it has really helped motivate me to read more (which I actually want to do but also fall victim to the not so mindless scrolling). And just a note to say there is something about having an almost 2 year old that makes one want to recapture previous interests (and finally there’s a bit more time and sleep to do so! Hooray!) .

  • Reply Linda Zimmerman February 5, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    Currently Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Just finished Educated

  • Reply Lindsay February 5, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    I need to do this. The scrolling is mind numbing. I really think I need fiction. I read so much news and analysis. Fiction feels like a break,
    Reading Autobiography of my Mother by Jamaica Kincaid (love) and just started Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan.

  • Reply Danielle February 5, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Erin — have you read Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Kimmer Wall? I feel you would enjoy it immensely. I’ve also really enjoyed If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie.

  • Reply Nancy February 5, 2019 at 11:13 pm

    I saw a few people recommend GoodReads but I would like to put a plug in for Litsy! I find Goodreads too overwhelming, and Litsy is much simpler! If anyone is on Litsy and wants to follow me, look me up under the_real_nani. App only!

  • Reply Jessica February 6, 2019 at 8:35 am

    If you’re looking for a light, happy read, I really recommend Julia Child’s memoir “My Life in France”.
    I really want to read Delia Owens’ “Where the Crawdads Sing”, and I just picked up a used copy of Paolo Cuehlo’s “The Alchemist”.

  • Reply Stephanie February 6, 2019 at 9:29 am

    I’ve recently got back in the habit of reading more too. I really enjoyed Madeleine Thien’s ‘Do Not Say We Have Nothing’ and ‘White Chrysanthemum’ by Mary Lynn Bracht. I’ll be reading through the comments and adding books to my list, there are so many suggestions!

  • Reply Rachel February 6, 2019 at 10:51 am

    100% agree that unplugging is the way to go! Last year I gave myself the goal of reading for one hour, totally unplugged and distraction-free, every Saturday. It helped me finish more books, and the single hour unplugged always felt like much longer (in a good way — I genuinely felt like I was improving my attention span and healing the parts of my brain that were rotting from social media).

    As for recent reads, two recommendations from me: Severance by Ling Ma, which is a short and great novel, and Bad Blood, the story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, which I TRULY could not put down.

  • Reply Hannah February 6, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Love this post and all the comments! I read Circe recently (actually picked it for the book club I’m in), and I loved it (as did the other book club members). Highly recommend. Other recent favorites were Men Explain Things to Me, Unladylike, Here I Am, and Less.

  • Reply Kellyn February 6, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    I do keep a list – but I’ve only done that recently.

    Reading is my bed time habit – always has been – and I fell asleep best when I read beforehand.

    I also don’t allow myself to bring my laptop or my phone in my room – that helps too.

    I usually read about 50 books a year this way – I just love reading in bed at night. I also only read books from the library. I usually google something like, “best books of 2013” – this way I avoid the pesky library waitlist for new releases.

  • Reply annie February 6, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    my library is looking very healthy after going through these comments… thanks, all. 🙂

    i’ve really loved lauren groff’s books—all of them. yes, fates + furies! but also monsters of templeton and arcadia. truly absorbing, get-lost-in-it storytelling, mixed with history and such personalities. she’s one of my favorites, but i just finished reading all her novels… so my next book is going to be believers by rebecca makkai.

  • Reply SEM February 6, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Might I ask where you got that amazing washi?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 6, 2019 at 8:15 pm

      Link in the comments above!

  • Reply Mary Kate February 6, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    Yes to more reading! I used to read 60 books a year no problem but since my commute gor shorter it’s been a lot less. This year I’m trying for 52, one a week should be doable, right?

    I’ve actually found more time to read since having a baby. Great way to pass the time while breastfeeding all day long!

    I started a Brooklyn book club years ago but we’ve all since moved and the problems I’ve found with book clubs is no one ever wants to read the same books as me. Generally I prefer fiction to non-fiction and as a YA writer I read a lot of YA. I own about 2 dozen books I have yet to read and there are soooo many good ones in my stack. Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor, Lauren Oliver, Karen McManus, Marcus Zusak, Cassandra Clare, and Victoria Schwab are all writers I love who recently came out with books, in case anyone else out there is into YA!

  • Reply Rose February 7, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    My friend was like, ‘Drop everything you’re doing and go get My Year of Rest and Relaxation.’ I did and I read it in one day.

    And yes, lists! A January 1st tradition of mine is posting all the books I read the previous year on my LiveJournal (yes, I still have one of those). It also helps you manage what you kind of wasted your time on. Like 2018, way too much non-fiction, brain stuffing. So new tradition: list of books I’ve wanted to read, would love to read, stick to it.

    Early morning/before bed/on the go: poetry.

    Must: library card.

    Treat: samples from iTunes!

    God, these times! <3

  • Reply Felicia February 13, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    I’m currently reading Becoming & Well-read Black Girl for Black History Month. I’m loving them both!

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