I have to admit. I like to read but, last year I only read four books. I am only talking about books, not articles, manga and so on. Since last year, I started to keep a list with the books read during the year so I can have a better image of how much I read. When I started to act towards a more minimalist lifestyle I didn’t intend to be a minimalist in terms of reading, but somehow I got there.
I tried to think of methods of how to increase my reading time, but first I had to find the problem behind. In my case procrastination and many activities that I can’t give up on ( like practicing my languages and learning Japanese, doing various courses and starting to learn about financial education, plus spending more time to get out for walks in the park).
One of my goals for 2022 was to increase the number of books I read, because let’s face it, reading is food for the brain and soul. I started with analyzing my lifestyle, and now that I live in a new place I had to adapt to these changes as well. I made goal lists and activities lists that I wanted to make into habits. For example, reading and learning Japanese are my goals for the year and for the years to come, so they are also on my activities list.
On my activities list there are all the things I want to improve or learn further. I have 13 activities on this list that I do one by one and they are related to journaling ( I had to put it on the list in order to be more intentional and more organized), learning and practicing languages (listening, writing, grammar activities), blogging and reading.
This list is great because I get to do everything that is written down, which is actually what helps me achieve my goals. Reading became an important goal for me this year and until now I have read double the number of books I had read last year. It’s already better and it’s going to be even better. I decided to do so.
As tips or methods to increase my readings I found that it helps to:
- put reading on your to do list (if you work well with to do lists, of course);
- read whenever you can, even if you only read 2 pages (I try to read when I go to the park, while I dry my hair, while I do my skin routine etc);
- read more books in parallel ( I now have 3 books that I started reading and I read based on how I feel at that moment);
- listen to audio books if you like to listen rather than to read (my sister is the perfect example, she listened more than 30 books while I only read 8 until now this year);
- create a comfortable space and turn on that asmr;
- read the books that attract you and if you feel like not finishing the book after starting to read it, feel comfortable to put that book on hold or even to give up on it. There are so many good books to read in the world and not that much time to actually do it, so feel free to choose your books.
This article is about books and reading, but it is also a way of keeping records on my progress so far. I am going to list the books that I have read so far, and maybe you’ll be inspired to read some of them too:
1. The art of simple living by Shunmyo Masuno
This year I was super into books on simple living, minimalism, Zen philosophy, and I read more Japanese authors than before. Not only that I started learning Japanese, but I feel like I learn and relax in the same time when I read this kind of books.
2. Everyday life in Joseon era Korea edited by Michael D. Shin
This was a great book on how people used to live a few centuries ago. I was always interested in this subject and fortunately I found a book that helped me find out what people from different backgrounds used to do, what they ate, how they worked, how they had fun and how they lived at that time.
3. Joseon’s Royal Heritage 500 years of splendor – Korea Foundation
Another book with historical theme. This book talks about the cultural heritage of Korea through royal palaces, royal tombs and the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty (records of the dynasty that still exist today and they can be also found online).
4. 생의 모든 순간을 사랑하라 by William Hablitzel
The second book I finished in only Korean and it made me extremely proud and motivated to keep reading in Korean even if takes longer, even if I don’t understand everything. In translation, the title means Love all the moments of your life, and it shows what you can learn even from the most difficult moments in life: illness or death. (The version in English of this book is Dying was the best thing that ever happened to me: stories of healing and wisdom along life’s journey).
5. Ikigai. The Japanese secret to a long and happy life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles
One of my favorites. It made me realize so many things and I learned another way of observing life in general. It really depends on how we take life, it can be good or bad depending on our perspective. One of the books I warmly recommend if you need a change in perspective or only positivity and motivation in life.
6. A little book of Japanese contentments by Erin Niimi Longhurst
Another great one that I would recommend. It is somehow similar to the preceding one because they talk about similar concept or even the same ones, like ikigai (finding purpose), but it has the warmth and style of a blog. At least this is how I felt it, not to mention that the author has her own blog.
7. It’s ok to feel things deeply by Carissa Potter
Very short, but super warm and light. Healing through visual content and short phrases that feel like a talk with your friend.
8. Zen Wisdom for the anxious by Shinsuke Hosokawa
Again, another Japanese book, a book on how to take life, a book that calms not only through content, but also from a structural aspect.
Books that I am currently reading:
- A Buddhist monk’s guide to a clean house and mind by Keisuke Matsumoto (I am reading it for the second time)
- 엄마를 부탁해 by Shin Kyung Sook (Trans. Please look after mom)
- The comfort book by Matt Haig
As you can see, for now I am interested in finding about new perspectives, but also in learning how to be grateful and live better. Also, i like to read books that make me feel better, books that carry the power of healing.
Books won’t necessarily make you richer and you won’t become smarter after reading a few books, but you will become richer in terms of spirituality, new perspectives, vocabulary, and you will get in contact with people who lived centuries ago, in a totally different context. Reading is another word for traveling.
This is it from my part. I hope you like my list of books and tips for reading. And because we’re talking about reading, share with me your favorites, maybe your list will inspire my next choices.
Thank you for reading by the way.