weeknotes #29: I joined a library again

I joined my local library last weekend. After my pensive last weeknote about trying to keep busy, and calling out that I decided to take people’s book recommendations, I literally took them and welcomed them with open arms.

I haven’t read in a good ten years (although I read a lot, lot lot when I was younger); the story behind why I quit is embarrassing, but nothing groundbreaking really happened. I just spent a while reading on an iPad once eBooks became common, and once I had less time to go to the library and read books due to university, and the book I was reading became horribly annoying to read and I wasn’t enjoying it – and in between that and writing poetry and blogging a lot – I just sort of gave up.

I signed up for my local library online and then completed the process at the branch, picking up my library card and managing to get one book off the small list I had captured – Humankind by Rutger Bregman. I finished it yesterday. It was a great book with a radical perspective on humans not being evil as we are inclined to think… but in fact being caring, good beings. Finishing it yesterday doesn’t sound impressive, but… I actually read two eBooks and listened to an audiobook in between.

It is worth noting a couple of things:

  • I have never read multiple books at once. Ever. I would always complete one before starting another, and there have been only three books in my whole life that I have put down because I could not finish them.
  • I have a sort of aversion to audiobooks because I don’t feel like you “read” the book, but I’ll get to that…

One eBook I read was actually a short book by Graham Panther from The Big Feels ClubHow to Belong on Earth. I grabbed the eBook and made a donation before reading it. I read it in one “sitting” while going for a long walk on the treadmill. In between chapters of Humankind – during which I realised I don’t think I’ll enjoy carrying a physical book around if I happen to be commuting – I borrowed 488 Rules of Life by Kitty Flanagan, and whizzed through that one evening.

The audiobook, How to Decide by former professional poker player Annie Duke, was my first audiobook. I figured I’d give it a try after Chris recommended it to me. I don’t think it was available from my library in physical or eBook form, and I was getting a little bit too excited about the fact that there was a whole digital library, all this borrowable stuff completely for free, and I wouldn’t have to buy loads of eBooks with the risk of disliking them, nor amass an amount of physical books that I also disliked.

I suppose audiobooks are not too bad. I’m finding that I do have to focus a little bit more on the audio compared to a podcast (and I don’t even really listen to podcasts). I have been listening to audiobooks while on monotonous walks and while I’m doing housework. I think the narrator makes a big difference, as I’ve found that it’s a little tricky not to be bored by the narrator of the book I’m currently listening to – Thinking Fast, and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. I have been listening at 1.25× or 1.5× speed as I’ve found the content a little easier to digest that way, and it also retains my focus. If it’s at normal speed it can feel just a little bit too slow for me to follow along properly.

I can understand the appeal of audiobooks. I can also see how it is more accessible for some people. Although I don’t think I could become all that obsessed with them, I am more open to accepting it as an option if I really want to consume a book but don’t have access to a physical book or an eBook.

I sort of can’t believe I’m saying this, but I reserved two physical books from the library and I just borrowed another eBook and another audiobook. (I can share the titles later if you’re interested.) Who have I become? 📚

I’d say “she’s back”, but there’s just this thing about my previous self who used to read a lot that doesn’t really resonate with my current self. There are things where I would feel like I was “myself again” but this doesn’t feel like that. This is like a true re-discovery of books.

Now I just need to calm down and stop consuming so many books before I burn out.

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