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Update on my Reading Challenge - 1st Quarter Completed!

We are 25% through 2019!

For me, January felt like it had 80 days in the month, but then February came and felt normal, and then March FLEW by in the blink of an eye.

One of my goals at the beginning of 2019 was to "Scroll less, read more" which was basically my way of saying I wanted to spend less time on social media, and more time reading a variety of books.

Now, 3 months into the year, I realize it's been less about decreasing my social media scrolling, and more decreasing my screen time in general. Not only have I spent less time on social media, but I've also spent less time on Pinterest, Youtube, Netflix, and TV in general.

The inspiration behind this whole 2019 reading challenge happened because I discovered a site called Goodreads, where you can keep track of books you've read, books you're currently reading, and books you want to read. You can leave your own ratings and reviews, and "friend" other book lovers and see what everybody is reading!

For almost the last decade, they've hosted annual reading challenges where each individual can set their own goals and participate in. I decided to join the 2019 Reading Challenge, which their site currently says over 2.5 MILLION people are participating in. Crazy!

I set a pretty intense goal of reading 60 books this year, which considering I haven't been a habitual reader since college, I was honestly super curious/doubtful how I would do once I got past the "new year" motivation.

I'm happy to report I am on target (so far) with meeting my 2019 reading goal!

Here's the list of what I read for the first quarter (in mostly the order I read them):

  • The Deep by Nick Cutter

  • Big Plan for the Creative Mind by multiple contributors

  • The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up by THE Marie Kondo

  • Ararat by Christopher Golden

  • Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe

  • This is Your Brain on Anxiety by Faith G. Harper

  • Macrame for Beginners and Beyond by Amy Mullins

  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

  • Make it Happen by Lara Casey

  • Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch

  • Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

  • Present Over Perfect by Shauna Nieque

  • The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron

  • Educated by Tara Westover

  • To All the Boys I've Loved Before & P.S. I Still Love You, both by Jenny Han

I had the idea that to try and keep variety in what I read, for the books that I picked out each month, that there had to be at least:

1 Inspirational Book (self-help, motivation or personal growth type of thing)

1 Imaginative Book (Fiction)

1 Informative Book (Non-fiction or research-based)

1 'Istorical Book (Historical, but I wanted to stick to my "I" theme I had going on!)

I didn't really stick to that trend every month, BUT it did help me remember to try to jump across genres after finishing each book.

I classified each book I read into one of the four categories and ended up with:

I was a little heavy on the "Inspirational" Category, which is because the only books I read in January were goal-setting/encouragement/tackle the new year type of books. And several of these books could be multi-genre... like "Body Positive Power" is as much showing the Informative research into diets and the body-image marketing world as it is the author's memoir of her life growing up. So for some of these I just have to choose whichever category felt the strongest to me.

There were a couple of books I started reading, but had to abandon ship on.

"Pricing Beauty" was one of those attempts. The premise REALLY intrigued me: the author herself was a high fashion model, and did all her research and interviews as she was involved in the model culture:

"Ashley Mears examines how models sell themselves, how agents promote them, and how clients decide to hire them. Pricing Beauty offers rich, accessible analysis of the invisible ways in which gender, race, and class shape worth in the marketplace."

Unfortunately, this book is a direct publication of her dissertation, with no re-writing, and it reads as exciting as you would expect from a dissertation (aka, NOT). I got about 50 pages into it but took me forever to get there, and I could never get "hooked" so I finally decided to call it quits and move onto something more enjoyable (although I really did want to enjoy it and learn about the fashion industry)

Of course, while there were some books I rode the struggle-bus on finishing, those were definitely outweighed by the books I absolutely could not put down. "Body Positive Power," "Educated" and "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" were probably my top 3 most addictive reads for this first quarter, and I would recommend the first two to ANYBODY.

The "To all the Boys..." book I initially only picked up because I needed a genre change, and I'd noticed that Netflix made a movie of it and everybody was talking about it, so I wanted to try to read the book before seeing the movie. It's a fun all around young adult rom-com read, so if you like that kind of stuff, I'd definitely recommend it to you as well (and it's part of a trilogy, so of course I already read the 2nd one, and finished the third book last night (overall, a decent feel-good rom-com trilogy).

I can't recommend these two books enough. #GameChangers

HOWEVER, to anybody that in any way, shape or form, struggles with their appearance, their weight, or their diet/eating habits, I would IMPLORE you you read BOTH "Body Positive Power" AND "Intuitive Eating" because those two books make a PERFECT pair and have personally changed my life, how I view my own body, and how I now view both diet and exercise. They are both serious game changers, and I'm planning on writing a more detailed post about this in the near future, but am taking my time because I want to do the topic justice..


So far I've really enjoyed this experiment. Not only can I look at a list of my reading accomplishments and feel good, but I also know every page I read was one less moment of screentime... while I'd like to think I can multi-task, I quickly learned I can either pay attention to what I'm reading, or pay attention to what I'm watching, but I can't do both at the same time.

So while it's usually hard to quantify how much less time I've spent on social media/Netflix/TV/Youtube/whatever, I CAN say with confidence that I've spent at least 16 books' worth less of screentime these 3 months.

...And that's pretty cool!


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