Minimalist Journey: Books and Reading
I love books! I can’t remember a time I wasn’t reading or escaping into fantasy, creating stories for all my dolls, teddy bears and siblings … Daydreaming!
Weekly visits to the library. Dusky, dark wood and dim lit. Musky. Contentment. Anticipation. A trove of treasure to be discovered! All the books to take out!
Long, small-town afternoons spent reading in the sun and shade. Nights, dimly lit, reading after everyone has gone to bed.
We move countries, and as I try to make my way in a new school, town and society…books bring a solace to my teenage heart; a comfort in the unknown. Keeping me company, as I navigate all the new.
These novels open my small-town life into something bigger, more exciting. Feeds my imagination. Gives me access to new languages, words and ideas. In turn these words and ideas make way into my language and voice. But also in the want for new and different. A curiosity that is never still.
I move continents and discover, this love for literature, will travel with me. I set up home. I collect (all) books. And as this collection grows…I fill my days with reading. On my commute. At home. Before bed. Weekends. On my travels. When I am happy, sad, lonely and content. There is always a book to compliment the mood.
And the more I read, the more there is to read…. So I buy more books. Three, four at a time and the pressure to read ALL THE BOOKS never ceases. Faster. The long lists, short lists, prize winners, cult reads, holiday reads, Cookbooks (!!!) Self help, Biographies…Overwhelmed!
I stop reading. I look at my unread pile and feel guilty. Heavy.
…Until I start missing my books. My reading. Daydreaming. I want it back, but on my terms. I look at all my books. Piles of them everywhere. Unread and unloved. This needs to change. This heaviness needs to go.
I stop buying books. I stop going to the library. I let go of the books I have read, I feel freer.
I pile my unread books high; next to my bed. I choose one book to read. I take my time with it, savour every word. I reread passages, sentences. I love and marvel at the words and structure. I fall in love page after page! I gift these finished books to my nearest and dearest, in the hope that they find the same inspiration. I fall in love the idea, that a book will be read, again and again, until it falls apart.
The pile of books decrease. And I have come to love this (shrinking) pile of randomly selected books. I have started savouring novels again and now I am reading book reviews and interviews with authors I love. AHHHHH! What is even better than a book….reading about the book! The author. Hearing what others think about it…
As my pile of books decreases, the list of books to read increases. I am in no hurry to buy them or go to the library. I savour the thought; when the time is right, I will read them. Fully. In the moment. Savouring every page. Unhurried.
And so I have come up with a simple little list to rejuvenate a passion for reading. Reading, without feeling overwhelmed, by the choice (and clutter) too many books bring. Here goes:
The Minimalist Guide To Reading
1 Make time for reading
Whether daily or weekly. Pencil it in. Tune out the world. Make a cup of tea/ coffee/ wine and enjoy! The more you do this, the more you will want to do it…
2 Read what you have
Make a pile of all your (unread) (to be re-read) books lying around, choose one and start reading. Continue until this pile is finished, and only then move on to your next read
3 One book at a time
There is no need for more. Savour and move on.
4 Gift books instead of hoarding them
Instead of holding on to all the books. Gift the books you have read. Letting go will lead to less clutter and a calmer home.
5 Use your library
Once you have finished reading and decluttering the shelves and piles of books… Start using your library. All the books, without the clutter. But also…Libraries are magical places. Live in the magic.
** More on Books and Reading
Read my Weekend Edit for Bibliophiles here
***More minimalist inspiration from these posts:
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A little starter guide to minimalism: