Mary Knize

I read three books in two weeks

2 min read


Last year, I had a goal to read 20 books. I ended up logging 18 books throughout the year. I went through long stretches of not reading, and abandoned some books along the way.

This year, I have the same goal to read 20 books, and I've already finished three books as of today. This might not be a huge accomplishment to some people, but with my sporadic reading habits in my adult life, I'm very happy with my productivity. I've made a couple of changes that are helping me reach my goal, and I'm hoping to maintain these habits through the rest of the year.

First, I've been using app pinning to put my Kindle app front and center on my phone. By making the Kindle app an obnoxious gateway to the more "fun" apps on my phone, I've forced myself to read a few pages instead of browsing social media or news apps by default, which usually leads to me reading to the end of the chapter or section.

Second, when I am mindlessly scrolling through social media or a news app, I recognize what's happening and make myself read a few pages of a book. Again, this usually ends with me finishing a substantial number of pages. Obviously these two changes only help when I'm reading Kindle books, which is helping me get through my backlog of unread ebooks.

Third, I'm choosing to read novels or memoirs instead of business-focused non-fiction. Last year, I read a number of books about productivity, habit, design, computer science, and math. While I find those sorts of books fascinating, I also tend to read them at a slower pace. My goal when reading those books is to learn new skills, instead of reading purely for enjoyment, so I take more time to reflect and think as I'm reading. I am reading Code Complete alongside shorter novels, but because it's a physical book and extremely heavy at 960 pages, I read it in small bursts and infrequently.

So what have I been reading? In the past two weeks, I finished The House in the Cerulean Sea on January 2nd. I had started the novel at the end of 2022, but finished the bulk of it over the New Year's weekend. It's a light fantasy romance that was perfect to read after watching Wednesday on Netflix.

I started The Puma Years on January 2nd and finished it on January 11th. The Puma Years is a memoir recalling the author's time volunteering at a wildlife refuge in Bolivia, her special bond with a puma, and how it changed the course of the rest of her life. The first third of the book was a little slow, but it picks up after the author leaves and returns to the refuge the first time.

After that, I started The Great Passage, a Japanese novel about compiling a dictionary. While the subject matter seems a little strange, it's really a book about love; the love of words, love of a profession (referred to as a calling in the book), and love between people. I read this book in only five days, finishing it early this morning when I couldn't sleep. At 224 pages it's a short novel, and it's large chapters had me reading huge chunks at a time.

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