Here I am for my occasional quarterly post. Thing is, I do miss blogging… but I hadn’t been reading enough to blog. Just me?
I don’t mean it in a “You’re not a reader if you don’t read at least three books per week”way, more in a “I have no idea what I could write about because I’ve forgotten everything related to reading” way.
I recently turned 20, and it’s now evident that there’s no going back to childhood, when paying bills and responsibilities were just a distant, hypothetical nightmare. Adulthood has meant less space and energy for hobbies, so far.
Is this a thought dump or the result of too much confidence before things start spiralling again? I have no idea. But this blog felt like the best place to talk about it.
(Disclaimer: Any discussion related to mental health in this post is derived from my own experience and is not based on medical facts or opinions.)
I’m Learning to Prioritise the Right Things
Juggling with three jobs and being a full-time student has been taxing during my first year, which means I had to cut out some stuff. At first, I let go of all me-time (simply because of disorganisation and ignorance when it came to prioritising).
That was a big.
Me-time and self-care are so important to avoid burn-outs, I wish I had made space for it before. Sure, the lockdowns and national complications didn’t help, but the stress they caused would have weighted much less if I’d focused more on myself.
And I’ve come to consider hobbies an essential me-time and self-care. I kept hitting moments of lack of motivation, but that was because I was continuously evolving in the same cycle.
I felt much better when I started breaking the cycle by investing energies in different projects and pastimes. (Also, I cut some toxic people out of my life and had the unwavering support of my best friends, but that’s not the focus of the post.)
Let’s dive into what the title promised.
I’ve Gotten Into the Habit of Reading Several Books Simultaneously – And I Don’t Hate It
Obviously, the first pastime I tried to reconnect with was reading. It was hard to carve some time out for it at first because:
- I watched too much TV,
- I was too tired at the end of the day to read for more than 10 mins,
- I wasn’t always in the mood for the book I’d chosen,
- I wasn’t always in an ideal situation to read,
- other reasons I’ll discuss down here.
Eventually, I started reducing my Netflix hours. And I’ve learnt to consider reading an actual activity, not just something I did in-between other tasks.
If before I thought reading more than one book at a time was a terrible idea (because it would lead to confusion), lacking the motivation and time to read have caused me to change my mind.
I’ve gotten into the habit of reading several books at the same time, and here are some things I like about it.
♡ You can choose books depending on your mood
- Before I read simultaneously, I would struggle through most of the books I started because I wasn’t always up for the tone or story. I also downright DNFed a lot of them.
- Reading 3-4 books at the same time means you can diversify the genre and mood you read in. Right now, I’ve been reading a YA mystery, a contemporary romance, a classic, and a YA fantasy, and I just finished the first two.
- I’ve gotten less bored or annoyed with books that don’t necessarily fit my preferences.
♡ You can have a book for every situation
- Reading simultaneously means you can also read in different formats. At some point, I was reading one eBook on my Kindle and one on my phone, a hardback, and a paperback. I’m not really an audiobook fan, but I’ve been trying that out too.
- I prefer reading eBooks at night, because the devices are lighter than physical books, so I can hold them up for longer. And also I think I’ll need glasses soon, so the extra light and the bigger font are a good help in the dark-ish.
- I like paperbacks for when I’m on the train or in the bus. They’re easy to hold and read, and I wouldn’t be devastated if I lost one (unlike with my Kindle).
- Hardbacks are for when I dedicate myself to reading, i.e. by going to a cafe or a park. It’s exciting to read a nice book outside.
♡ You can stay more up-to-date with the bookish universe
- If you’re on all of or any combination of BookTok, Bookstagram, BooTube, and read book blogs, you know how frustrating it can be to be constantly bombarded with recommendations and positive reviews.
- My attention can be extremely fleeting. When I used to only read one book at a time, I’d get very impatient to finish it in order to move on to the next one. Which meant, what a shocker, that I didn’t enjoy the story properly.
- I’m not necessarily talking about new releases (the stars know I don’t have the budget to stay on top of those). I’ve been catching up on backlist tiles and classics.
♡ You can work through your TBR faster
- I know reading isn’t a competition, but it feels good to know you’ve taken one more book off your TBR.
- Because of the previous reasons I mentioned, I was able to speed up my reading a little. I’m almost back on track with my yearly goal.
Where I Get My Books (A.K.A. Why I Can Read 4 Books at a Time on a Very Low Budget)
I know it’s pretty annoying to hear about people who have loads of books when you don’t have the budget to access them. But even though I’m talking of having 4 books at disposal simultaneously, I can’t spend more than £10 pounds on books per month (if I even get to that). So here’s how I’ve been getting my books:
(Keep in mind that I live in the UK. Not all of these can work for you.)
- As a student, I’ve got reduced subscription feed to Amazon Prime. I read eBooks with Prime Reading.
- For eBooks again, I use some of the resources from this post as well as NetGalley.
- I get hardback ARCs from ReadersFirst.
- I’ve gotten over 30 audiobooks (and great ones!) from AudiobookSYNC’s summer program.
- I get classics from my university library and have a local library subscription.
- I frequently visit charity shops and check out The Works, especially the 3 for £5 section.
- (I haven’t tried this yet, but I will: Little Free Libraries.)
Other Current Hobbies
Apart from getting back into reading, I’ve also tried to get a bit more into things like flower pressing and baking. Here are two hobbies that can easily be romanticised (and thus please the bookworm in me very much):
♡ Bookish tours
- I’ve created a list on Google Maps of all the possible bookish places I can visit in my area, and I’ve been using my free days to visit them. This includes libraries, bookshops, and places where authors used to live/write.
- I plan to start a BookTok account to document these tours.
- I’ll start donating my inscribed books to the Little Free Libraries.
♡ Letter mailing (and hopefully penpalling)
- I got a pack of 100 brown envelopes from a uni gift card and I’ve been decorating them with black and golden ink pen in my free time.
- I’ve been getting back to making DIY cards with pressed flowers and minimalistic designs.
- One of the people I love the most in the universe will soon move to the UK as well, and I’ll bombard them with mail.
- I’m looking for penpals! Possibly from the UK or Europe. (I’m serious, if you’d like a penpal, let me know in the comments).
Do you read several books at the same time? What’s your opinion on that? What techniques do you use to keep up with reading?
If you’d like to be penpals (on a steady basis or just occasionally), please let me know in the comments or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!