reading

The Do’s and Don’ts of Being a Minimalist Bookworm

The term “minimalist bookworm” sounds contradictory, I know.  Book lovers these days seem to be defined by the content of their bookcases- the more books we see, the more well-read we assume a person is.  I struggle with this, because as much as I dream about having a library of my own someday, I personally feel overwhelmed by too much stuff, so having a huge collection of novels isn’t exactly my ideal.  I think that’s why I was initially drawn to a more minimalist lifestyle (also because I adore tiny houses!).  The Minimalism Movement has been on trend for a few years now, and I’ve been striving to be more minimalist, so I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned on my way.

DO keep books you’ll reread.

It’s only natural that you’ll want to revisit some of the books you’ve already read, and it’s hard to justify getting rid of something you’ll eventually come back to.  Keep your favorite books, the ones that interest you, the ones you’ll want to return to someday.

DON’T hang on to books you’ve owned for years but still haven’t read.

If you’ve owned A Game of Thrones since the first season premiered but you still haven’t gotten around to it, I think it’s safe to say you won’t be reading it any time soon!  We all read at different paces, but consider setting an amount of time, anywhere from eight months to five years, after which you will get rid of books you haven’t read yet.

DO save books that have meaning to you.

Still own that battered copy of Charlotte’s Web that your mom used to read to you as a child?  Did you purchase a book as a souvenir of your trip abroad?  These are the ones you might want to save, and that’s okay.  I actually regret donating some of my favorite childhood books, so hang on to sentimental books unless you’re positive you no longer want them.

DON’T own more than one edition of the same book

Of course, there are some exceptions to this one; for example, I own a paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and I also own the illustrated edition.  I can’t imagine getting rid of one or the other.  However, I think having ten editions of Pride and Prejudice might be a bit extensive (#sorrynotsorry).  You just have to determine what’s right for you.

DO utilize the library.

One of my favorite things about the library is there’s no pressure to like every book you read.  Often, when I buy a book, I feel the need to enjoy it because I’ve spent my hard-earned money on it, but at the library, I’ll pick up just about anything, and if I don’t like I’ll return it, no guilt necessary.  The library is a great resource for quick readers especially, and (bonus!) it’s free, so you really can’t go wrong!

DON’T purchase books just because they’re popular or trendy.

It’s okay, we’ve all done it, but buying a book, especially one you don’t think you’ll like, just because it’s all over Instagram, is probably not the best idea.  Eventually the popularity will fade and you’ll be stuck with a book you don’t actually want to read!  And if you’re not sure whether or not you want to read it, try waiting a few months after the hype has died down and see how you feel about it then.

DO try ebooks and/or audiobooks.

Ebooks and audiobooks are great for saving physical shelf space, and (bonus!) they’re often cheaper than paperbacks or hardcovers.  However, if you don’t like reading in either format, don’t force it: reading should be an enjoyable experience, not a frustrating one.

DON’T buy books without reading an excerpt.

For me, the writing style is one of the most important qualities of a book; if I don’t like the writing, chances are I won’t enjoy the story or the characters.  That’s why I always like to read an excerpt or chapter sample of a novel before I purchase it.

DO try a book-buying ban.

Set yourself a period of time in which you refrain from buying any books, and see how it goes.  Not only are bans great for stopping the intake of new books, but they also allow you to get around to the books you own but haven’t read yet.  It’s a win-win!

DON’T let yourself feel stressed or discouraged.

You might notice it’s difficult to strip your shelves at first, and that’s okay!  It’s not for everybody, but don’t let your feelings keep you from making the change.  It’s definitely easiest to do a little bit each day rather than all at once.  Personally, I’ve found that making the strides to be a minimalist bookworm has been challenging but absolutely worth it!

If you’re interested in reading more on minimalism and books, I’d recommend checking out Why I Love to (and Will Always) Buy Books by Cait Flanders, who went through a two-year shopping ban while paying off debt, or 12 Helpful, Practical Steps to Unclutter Your Book Collection by Joshua Becker, a longtime minimalist of ten years (and counting).

Do you have any other tips for anyone seeking to be more minimalist?  Have you tried any of these tips yourself?  Let’s chat in the comments!

xx,
Hannah

On My Nightstand: January 2018

So many books, so little time!  Here’s a look at some of my upcoming reads, which are currently sitting on my nightstand, demanding to be devoured.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Hamid’s Exit West was one of the most talked-about books last year, so it’s about time I read it!  I’m currently two chapters in and I’m finding it hard to put this one down.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Smith’s newest, Swing Time, has been on my radar since it was first announced, though I have to admit I’m a bit skeptical because it’ll be my first Zadie and I’ve heard it’s not her best.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

The Mothers is probably the book I’m most excited about on this list!  Not only is the cover absolutely stunning, but so is Bennett’s prose.

The Girls by Emma Cline

The Girls was the book of the summer in 2016, and for some reason I never got around to it.  I’m still looking forward to this Manson-esque coming-of-age story that Random House reportedly acquired in a seven-figure, multi-book deal (quite a feat for a debut novelist).

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Goon Squad is one that I really don’t know too much about other than it won a Pulitzer, but the publication of Egan’s newest release, Manhattan Beach, has gotten me curious about Goon Squad.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

Kavalier and Clay will be my first Chabon, and it’s an absolute behemoth, but it’s his most popular and I’ve heard it’s a good one to start with.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Groff’s Fates and Furies seems like the quintessential love-it-or-hate-it book, but I’m hoping my own reading experience is the former!

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Beatty won the 2016 Man Booker Prize with The Sellout, so it’s been on my to-read list for a while.  As with Goon Squad, I know virtually nothing about it, so I’m anxious to pick it up.

Have you read any of these books?  Which one do you think I should read first?  Let’s chat in the comments!

xx,
Hannah

How Blogging Changed my Reading

I began blogging a little over two months ago, but in that short period of time my reading has undergone some changes.  Since starting Hannah and her Books, I’ve noticed that I’ve been reading more, reading with an analytical eye, and reading diversely, but I’ve also been feeling pressured and stuck.

I read more.

When I started college, my excessive workload forced me to put reading on the back burner.  However, starting this blog has made reading a priority again.  I am always carrying a book, and I make sure to set aside reading time every day, either right after I wake up in the morning, right before I got to bed, or other random times throughout the day such as between classes or during lunch.

I read analytically.

Since I started blogging, I’ve looked deeper into the books I’ve read to really understand what I like and dislike about them.  Reading has become more than just simply absorbing books, but rather taking them apart like a puzzle and examining the pieces and how they work together.

I read diversely.

Blogging has allowed me to discover so many books I never would’ve found without being a part of this online community of bibliophiles.  I’ve stumbled upon so many different novels and authors across a wide variety of genres, and I’ve been picking up books written by POC, like Homegoing and Behold the Dreamers.

I feel pressured.

One of the cons of book blogging is all the pressure that comes along with it.  There is the pressure to read “popular” books, the ones that everyone else is talking about, so that I can stay relevant.  There is the pressure to read new books, even though it means less rereading, which I used to do all the time!  I also feel pressured to read as much as everyone else, even if I don’t have the time; I’m happy if I manage to finish two or three books a month, but others are reading fifteen or twenty.  Lastly, there’s the pressure to write positive (read: dishonest) reviews, because no one likes a Negative Nancy.

I feel stuck.

I feel stuck in the sense that I am always reading books I’ve heard of before.  When I shop for books, either in person or online, I find myself buying books that I recognize, compared to when I was a young girl and I just perused the shelves for a book that looked good.  Not to say there’s anything wrong with that, but I guess I just miss being surprised by a book.

Overall, blogging has been a rewarding experience thus far; it has definitely changed the way I read, perhaps for the better.

xx,
Hannah