I’m now just two books short of my yearly target of books to read. I challenged myself to read 12 books last year, and read a total of 15. Again, since I was now living in New York, I kept the target small and set it to 12 – one book for every month of the year.
Secretly I’m hoping to pass the 15 that I read last year and read 16 or more. Given that I am on book number 11 and that it is only April, I might change my target to reading 30 books by the end of this year.
There’s no better time to start a reading habit now that we’re all in isolation. Books have definitely gone up in price a lot since I started buying books, but I now only buy second-hand from charity shops or Amazon.
Since I can no longer browse charity shops, I buy from Goodwill stores on Amazon. It’s a lot cheaper than buying brand new, and the books usually arrive looking good as new anyway. Plus, you could find some hidden messages written inside which I love to find.
I’ve got my own little library going on in my flat right now with a total of 25 books. One thing I love is sharing a book after I’ve read it, if I’ve really enjoyed it. There’s something that makes me feel good knowing that someone else is going to experience the same happiness or knowledge that I gained from a certain book.
Here are reviews of the most recent five books that I’ve read.
1. SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU – CAL NEWPORT
I borrowed this book from my flatmate, wanting to read it ever since I saw it on his bedside table. The title of the book is one of my favourite quotes. It’s a quote by Steve Martin, the actor and comedian.
The full quote is ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.’ I don’t know why, but it’s always stuck with me and it’s something I live my life by. It kind of overrides the notion that you have to know the right people or be in the right place at the right time for something to come your way.
Instead of relying on family friends or talking yourself into something, show everyone what you can do. Be so good that there is no way of them ignoring you.
The book actually talks about not doing what you love for a living. Instead of following your passion, follow your skills. In my humble opinion, I think you can do both. You can be passionate about the skills that you possess in a certain industry. I believe that you can have your dream job if you really want it.
The book talks more along the lines that you don’t want something that you love turning into something that you hate. If that could happen, it is best to keep the two separate.
2. WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE – OPRAH WINFREY
I loved this book. It was such an easy read that I read it in two days. The book is made of short columns that Oprah has written over the years for her O Magazine.
There is a lot of wise teachings in there, and I got to know a lot more about Oprah herself. Oprah is a very smart woman and worked hard to be where she is today.
The book did give an insight into her extravagant life, her connections to the Universe, her love for meditation and love for friends and family. It’s an uplifting book and so good that I might even go back and read it again.
3. A NEW EARTH – EKHART TOLLE
Oprah mentioned this book a lot throughout What I Know For Sure and I just happened to have included it in my Amazon order along with her book, so it had to be the next book that I read.
I had read another of Eckhart Tolle’s books, The Power of Now which I reviewed in June 2019. I wasn’t a huge fan of that book because a lot of it went over my head and I found it too technical. I think if I went back and read it now, I would have more understanding of its teachings.
A New Earth was an easier read and made me think about things a lot differently. It teaches you about the Ego and how you can attach your Ego to things to make them yours. From this, you usually then attach emotions to things and from that evoke feelings of anger, hurt and sadness – when there really is no need to do so.
Think about the things you call ‘yours’. Take your birthday for example. Is it really your day? Does that day really owe you anything? If it’s not a great day, you feel let down and deflated – but in reality, it’s just a normal day.
Take yourself out of certain scenarios, take a moment to reflect before snapping back at someone, look at something from another point of view, be open to people’s anger and worry and open yourself up to being a kinder, gentler and free person.
It’s an enlightening book and may make you change the way you see the world and more importantly, yourself.
4. REPORTING THE TROUBLES – DERIC HENDERSON & IVAN LITTLE
Quite different from my usual reads, but I wanted to add a history book and a fiction book into my book order for isolation. I think it’s good to mix between genres and not to get stuck reading psychology books forever.
As I come from Northern Ireland, I had a deep interest in this book and didn’t take long to finish it as I wanted to read all of the stories in one sitting. The book is a compilation of short stories from journalists that covered the Troubles during the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s.
There were stories in there about my hometown of Lurgan and the village of Aghagallon that I live now. There were names in there that were familiar and there were new stories that I had never heard.
Almost 4,000 people died in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and I’m never going to know the stories of every person that died. However, I did learn about different people and groups and even those that were murdered by accident or in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Troubles is quite a taboo subject back home, and it’s not often that people like to talk about it as they were very dark days. I would definitely like to learn more about it, but this book is a great way to start, if you would be interested in reading about the troubled history of Northern Ireland.
5. THE UNIVERSE HAS YOUR BACK – GABRIELLE BERNSTEIN
I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. I love reading about the ‘Universe’ or the ‘Source’ or whatever name other people have for that higher power that dictates what happens to us. Some people call it God, but a lot of people have different names for it.
Personally, I feel that there is a third-party that has influence on my life and there have been times when I can’t explain how fate has come into play or how things have coincidentally taken place in my life. I could say that I’m ‘lucky’ to be where I am now, but I know that luck is only a small factor.
There was a lot of meditation examples in this book, something I don’t yet have the patience for. There were also a few plugs to Gabrielle’s website and a lot of references to another book of hers, A Course in Miracles. I’m all for a plug here and there, but I felt like I would need to buy her other book in order to understand this one.
There are a lot of great teachings in the books, and it helped me get back on track with how I put things out into the ‘Universe’ in order for them to happen. It’s quite like manifesting in that what you ask for, you shall receive.