Truthfully, I might have this weird obsession in trying to discuss (or justify) in detail what I try to do in my spare time other than to be sucked back into social media and do the proverbial “doom scrolling”. In fact, I feel like I have been pretty good at keeping myself in check. I must admit that there were a few weeks in between that I had been in a YouTube rabbit hole (in fact, my boyfriend also has the same problem, but unlike him, I did not delete the app and THEN watch videos on the phone browser – you played yourself, sir), but I stopped myself before it got any worse.
They say that to correct one bad habit, you have to replace it with another, good one. Cue in books.
As I have mentioned, and probably lamented, before, I have a ton of reading material. When I moved houses, I probably only got rid of a dozen, but the majority I had kept with me. Yes, some have been relegated to trophy status (my prized Filipino books collection, with a few English ones that I occasionally lend to the curious – let me know if you'd like me to feature them), but there are still some that I have truthfully bought at a second-hand shop but not touched. Back in May, I was hopeful that I'd find that one book that would ease me back into the habit, and I did find it – coupled with my enthusiasm to check out the new book-related website rivaling Goodreads – The Story Graph.
I started reading Together: The Healing Power of Human Connections in a Sometimes Lonely World by Vivek H. Murthy back in September. It was given to me and my colleagues by my boss who enthusiastically bought us all copies after hearing the author talk in one online seminar or another. Now, this isn't usually my type of book – I have always thought of myself as a fiction lover – most non-fiction books bored me to death. I gave it a shot anyway and enjoyed his writing and his experiences in seeing, identifying, loneliness in people. In a way, I related to it – I had spent my first few years in this country trying to battle this profound feeling of loss and loneliness, and in one way or another, the book touched something in my soul.
There is still a third of the book left that I have yet to finish, but it had me going. Since then, I've found the motivation to finish two audiobooks I borrowed from the library – A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Elsie Chapman and Ellen Oh and The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders. I've also taken up reading two other books to somewhat “relieve” the heavy feeling of reading a non-fiction book – The Secret Loves of Geek Girls by Hope Nicholson and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Looking at this current read and reading list, it's made me wonder how different my tastes have changed, if at all. The problem I had in May might have just been because of the fact that I was trying to cling on to a genre, a type, that was no longer serving me. YA books had always been my sanctuary, but during the time that I stopped reading, the love for quirky and awkward romances somehow died. What I was left with was a passion for books, but with no suitable candidate to fill my current interests.
What I'd like to try doing is to try and diversify the content I'm reading. I have a few ideas, a few challenges, but we'll see how that goes. I'm also slightly interested to try, at the very least once, the phenomenon that is letting independent, local bookstores recommend you a book based on your reading needs and/or wants! Very very curious.
Thanks for reading till the end! If you'd like to drop a message (even just to say hi!), get in touch with me here – would love to hear from you!