This summer, I did a 7-day digital detox during my summer holiday. Seven days with no devices. It was bliss! And I don’t think it can be a coincidence that in those seven days I read seven books. Can it?! 😉
In that time I rediscovered how much I love reading non-fiction. I used to be that kid that went to the library for the non-fiction section. [I say that like there were multiple – I could easily be outing myself here as the only one!] The 900 section was my favourite. That’s where all the history books were. The French Revolution, Henry VIII, Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Crusades – I read about it all! And I ventured into other territories in the Dewey Decimal system, too.
Somehow in adulthood though I lost the interest – or maybe the time, or even the energy? – for non-fiction. I never lost my love of learning new things! But the unslakeable thirst for non-fiction reading of my youth was put on ice for a while. However, over the last year or so I have really remembered how much I love this avenue of learning.
So when I read this article on how one trait that most smart people share is that they read a lot (it’s one of the top 5 things they do – the others are important too!), it not only resonated with me, but also encouraged me to get back into non-fiction reading!
But I really wish this were actually fiction!
In one of those timing coincidences, just as I was vowing to read more non-fiction, the alumni network of the university where I studied started a book club! The first book up for discussion is Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez.
It is fascinating, disturbing, shocking, unbelievable, disheartening, and brilliantly written. Some of it details obvious data gaps. (Although surprisingly and embarrassingly few are indeed obvious.)
But for the most part it is truly eye-opening to realize how much using “normal man” as the norm harms and negates women. This really should be required reading for everyone! Especially anyone who is, should, or wants to be an ally to women.
Fiction to escape into
I was so excited when I heard Ken Follett was bringing out a new book. He is one of my favourite historical fiction authors. And the new book was going to be a prequel to The Pillars of the Earth, one of my all-time favourites! The book was released in September but I saved The Evening and the Morning for the autumn half-term holiday and it was the perfect time to read it!
I loved it. It was formulaic and superficial and had none of the suspense or depth of Pillars but despite that was a fun and compelling read. In these weird times, I need books that grab my full attention and let me escape to another world, and that’s exactly what this book did!
Let’s be honest. The last few weeks have been a bit…November. Ya know? Lockdown, the US Election, turning the clocks back… what we all really need right now is a good belly laugh! And this podcast lived up to its name – CBC’s Laugh Out Loud – and gave me just that. Multiple in fact! Not just a few chuckles, but genuinely laugh out loud laughs!
I also really enjoyed this episode from one of my favourite podcasts: The Happiness Lab. Even though the episode is titled “A Happier Election”, it’s really about how to deal with anxiety and what simple, proactive steps we can take to increase our calm and happiness in stressful and uncertain times.
I’d love to know what resonate with you or triggered your interest! What would you like more or less of in future issues?
As always, please feel free to share!
Stay healthy. Happy reading. And have an awesome weekend!