I forget exactly who’s advice it was but there have been a few of my non fiction hero’s that recommend reading more than one book at a time. When I first discovered this tip I thought it was crazy. Shit, I struggled to get through one book at a time, let alone two or three but after experimenting with it for a while I finally see the benefits.  

Right now, on this very day I’m reading the following books. 

I’m half way through The Sunny Nihilist by Wendy Syfret (thanks for the recommendation from Steph Clarke). This book shows that caring less about a so-called ‘meaningful’ existence can often lead to a more peaceful one - it’s a nice continuation on from the Stoic summer I’ve had.

Book number two is Deep Work by Cal Newport - This is a self help banger. I’ve been meaning to read it for years and am two thirds the way through. I’ve just hit the practical chapters that offer suggestions on how to achieve a deep work state which is so important in our ‘shallow’ work societies. There will be another blog from this I’m sure but in the meantime the thought that has stuck with me the most is the excuse, ‘it keeps me connected to other people’ that people use to justify huge amounts of time spent on social media. Newport suggests that spending a fraction of that screen time on actually improving your social connections - like arranging a lunch with an old friend - would lead to a far richer and fulfilling life.

The third book is The Theory of Everything Else by Dan Schreiber. This book was recommended by the author who hosts one of my favourite fun podcasts The Cryptid Factor. The book is basically a collection of short stories about the weird and wonderful. My favourite so far has been about an English woman called Rosemary Brown who released an album called A Musical Séance in 1970. The classical album included pieces of music by Liszt, Chopin, Beethoven and Debussy, to name a few. This album is unlike any of the other classical hits you’ll recall because each song was composed from beyond the grave. Rosemary was the medium that these dead composers chose for their encore. 

In regards to e-books, which is my preferred reading method, at 3am when I can’t get back to sleep, I’m reading The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid which I totally chose because I liked the cover. This is a short book about a white man that wakes up black one day. There is no explanation why it has happened but it has happened across the country. Spontaneously some white people have turned black. It’s written in quite a conversational way which I quite like, it's like you can hear the author thinking out loud - there is alot of second guessing their thoughts. It's an interesting take on race as the main character navigates his white life as a black man. 

Finally I’ve got a couple of audio-books on the go - which totally count as reading - just reading with your ears rather than eyes. Thanks for the Feedback by Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone is another must read in the PD (personal development) department. The book goes deep into explaining what feedback actually is, spoiler alert, it can be few things (appreciation, coaching, evaluation) and gives super examples of how feedback is misunderstood and what we can do as the receiver and giver to make sure we’re heard correctly. 

The latest (and last) audio book is We are Electric by Sally Adee which I chose because it said it was read by the author. I like audio books that are read by the author, not always, the Harry Potter books read by Stephen Fry for example are a hit in our house. But there is something about the author reading their work that I connect to. Perhaps it's because when I write my mum says she can hear my voice when she’s reading the words of my blog. On that, Power by Kemi Nekvapil is probably one of my most favourite audiobooks read by the author.

So, right now on this very day, I have 6 books on the go. It sounds crazy right but it is actually a really fun way to read. I like to have a variety of nonfiction and fiction on the go at once because it gives me the opportunity to pick and choose. When one book is lagging I can jump onto another. Sometimes, when a book gets really good, I don’t stop till it's finished. Other times a new book will pop up and leap frog the rest. It can take me months to read a relatively short book but I’ve gotten less precious and am happy to drop a half read book if it's not enjoyable. 

Ironically, I listen to my audiobooks while I design books at work. Book layout work requires the perfect amount of my attention then repetition making it a great time to listen to an audiobook. I like to think of it as a little cycle of creativity as one author helps me bring another author's words to life. 

It wasn’t that long ago that I used to find reading quite difficult (see BB#90) but taking it less seriously and having lots of options on the go has been a really great way of increasing the amount I read and the variety of that material. Whenever anyone recommends a book to me I write it down and I will eventually read it. I'll pretty much give anything a go!

Reading books has become a pretty important part of my life. If you asked the kids what a dream day for me would be, they’d probably say I’d set up one of their hammocks in the backyard and read a book. Gently swaying in the breeze while I read and nap. Read and nap. Read and nap.

Video of the week
Super Bowl Halftime Show EXPOSED: Artists Work In Exchange For Exposure. Is it worth it?
Podcast of the week
OHNO Radio: The Casserole Special
Font of the week
Casserole: Font of the week by OHNO Type

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