Hey book fans! I’ve teamed up with mystery author Kate Dyer-Seely to give you a chance to win a prize pack in celebration of the release of her new book First Degree Mudder. The book is part of Kate’s Pacific Northwest Mysteries (Kensington Publishing) and comes out Nov. 29,
but you get a chance to win the whole series right now!
Congrats to Jenne Turner for winning our PNW prize pack!
Thanks to everyone who entered our give away!
Now on to my comfy reading outfit and how I’ve rekindled my love for reading…
As a kid, I enjoyed reading at an early age, but the older I got, the more my focus switched from reading to writing. By my tween years, I had already decided I wanted to be a journalist, and when that happened, my main passion became writing. Still, I had missed reading for enjoyment, and plus it’s no secret that part of becoming a stronger writer and developing your own voice is to read as much as possible.
So this time last year, I decided to make my New Year’s resolution to read more. I started a Goodreads challenge of reading 12 books in 2016 — about a book a month. Though I did have some stretches where I read zero books in two months and three books in one month. Regardless, I am still on pace to complete my challenge, and my love for reading is stronger than ever!
However, it did take a lot of soul searching to identify what factors caused me to stop reading in the first place, and determine what I needed to 1) meet my goal of 12 books in 12 months; and 2) actually enjoy reading again. Here’s what I came up with:
- Physical books: Reading physical books gave me terrible neck, back, and eye strain. Prime lighting for reading is also a very picky thing. To sum up: the tangible variables couldn’t align for me to enjoy reading hard copies of books, which broke my heart.
- iBooks: So how could I overcome this? One answer was iBooks. For one, I know that when it comes to reading on a screen and in narrower columns, I am quite the speed reader. I’ve heard many people have the opposite experience, where they prefer reading off paper than off screens. But maybe it’s because I’ve grown accustomed to staring at screens for days while coding websites and editing videos, screens have become a natural home for me.
- Audiobooks: But what about all those gaps in the day when I want to read but my eyes need to be elsewhere? I wanted to be able to continue reading while I was cooking, washing dishes, or cleaning my apartment. That’s when I decided to try audiobooks and ultimately found that this was the winning medium for me.
In defence of iBooks and audiobooks
It’s not an uncommon life goal to have a wall(s) of books in your home. A personal library from floor to ceiling, complete with a wooden ladder. But with my experience with physical books, plus how much I like to pare down on physical belongings and constantly declutter / organize my space, owning a vast collection of hard copies just isn’t in the cards for me. It’s still a romantic idea I like to flirt with, but I’ve converted almost completely to a digital lifestyle.
The thing is, to my surprise, I’ve discovered there’s such an unjust stigma around iBooks and audiobooks. I’ve seen and heard so many comments along the lines of “I prefer to read real books” or that nothing beats the feel of paper pages underneath your fingertips. While I agree, there is much more sentimental value to paper books, all I have to say is sure, it’s OK to be precious about your hard copies — but I don’t find it necessary to place the different formats on a hierarchy. It’s all about preference.
I like to keep my work or travel bag as light as possible. With digital books, I can carry an unlimited number of titles on my iPod that weighs no more than 88 grams (3.10 ounces). But again, that’s just me. Others make the extra space in their bags for a paper novel, and there’s nothing wrong with that either.
Also, paper books have always caused me to fall asleep. This was not helpful during high school or university when I had to get required reading done by the next morning. But with iBooks or audiobooks, I could be up till 5 a.m. reading and getting lost in a story.
If iBooks and audiobooks will keep me as an avid reader, then I have nothing but praise for those formats. They’ve helped me go from not reading books at all to being a total book addict, always itching to read the next title. I know more intense readers complete dozens of books a year, but going from zero to 12 is a huge accomplishment for me, and I couldn’t have done it without iBooks and audiobooks.
How do I “read” my audiobooks and iBooks?
Here’s what a typical day looks like when I’m really engrossed in a book:
- Morning commute: I start my day with a decent chunk of listening during my walk + streetcar ride to work — 20 minutes.
- Evening commute: Whether I’m walking all the way home or taking the streetcar, I’ll get another good block of quality listening time — 20-30 minutes.
- Dinner: I’ll play the audiobook through my iPod’s speakers or on my iMac while I’m having my meal — 30 minutes.
- Chores: I’ll let the audiobook run while I’m washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning/dusting — 1 hour.
- Blogging or video editing: If I’m editing my photos or a video (when it doesn’t require sound), I’ll keep the audiobook playing from my iPod’s speakers — 2-3 hours.
- Shower: With my Bragi Dash wireless earbuds, I take advantage of their waterproof feature and continue listening to my audiobook in the shower, with my iPod placed on a chair outside the door. *IMPORTANT: Remember to keep your electronic devices outside of the bathroom while showering. Over time, the moisture in the air can lead to severe water damage inside your device. This has happened to someone I know who liked to play music from his phone while showering. Then his phone died from all the moisture and he had to buy a new one.
- Bedtime: I keep the audiobook playing with a sleep timer as I drift away to sleep — 30-45 minutes.
If I have absolutely fallen in love with a book, I’ll purchase the iBook as well and use that to mark up my favourite quotes and make notes.
When Kate Dyer-Seely and I were collaborating on how to work our book giveaway into a style post, we landed on the idea of a “reading outfit.” Think of it as your ideal outfit for the comfiest read possible.
Personally, I’m comfiest in an oversized button down shirt, some luxuriously soft joggers, and some thick winter socks.
This shirt is the Veritas shirt by Community. At $95 CAD it’s definitely an investment shirt and I definitely wear it to more than just reading in my bed. Sure, it looks like a regular striped boyfriend shirt that you could buy anywhere else for a fraction of that price. But none of those shirts are ever comfortable enough to wear all day without feeling so stiff.
The Veritas shirt, however, is insanely comfortable, with cotton-linen-blend fabric that feels like you’ve already broken it in to your perfect fit. When I wear it to work, it makes for sharp-looking office attire on its own, or underneath a blazer or pullover sweater. When I wear it on casual outings, it looks great as a nice lightweight layer of texture with destroyed jeans and a leather jacket.
My joggers were a find in the sleepwear section of Marshalls. It’s a mix of rayon and spandex so they feel super soft on the skin and are perfect to lounge in. I also wear these to work as a high-waist bottom with a loose crop top and fitted drapey blazer.
As for my socks, these TNA Birken socks are the only socks I wear in the winter because they’re the warmest things I’ve put on my feet without causing them to sweat. They’re perfect for nights in, as well, to keep your toes cozy while reading.
The specs I’m rockin’ are my Warby Parker frames in the style “Dahl”. Read more about them here.
My 2016 reading challenge
Here are all the books I’ve read or are completing for my Goodreads challenge (in chronological order). My top three favourites are highlighted.
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins — Amazon | iBooks | Audible
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn — Amazon | iBooks | Audible
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes — Amazon | iBooks | Audible
- Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher — Amazon | iBooks | Audible
- Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty — Amazon | iBooks | Audible
- The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith — Amazon | iBooks | Audible
- Inferno by Dan Brown — Amazon | iBooks | Audible
- The Substitute by Denise Grover Swank — Amazon | iBooks | Audible
- What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty — Amazon | iBooks | Audible
- It’s So Easy: And Other Lies by Duff McKagan — Amazon | iBooks | Audible
- The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty — Amazon | iBooks | Audible
- Currently reading: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson — Amazon | iBooks | Audible
- Next to read: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty — Amazon | iBooks | Audible
Have you read any of these books? How did you like them? What books would you recommend for me to read? Let’s chat in the comments section below, and your comment will count as your entry in our book giveaway contest (be sure to add “PNW” to your comment if you want to be entered).
Till next time, my friends! :)