Reading

2020: a year in reading

2020: a year in reading by Ruth Dawkins

Despite everything that happened in 2020 – or perhaps even because of everything that happened – I’ve managed to keep up a pretty good pace of reading this year.

There’s still a week or so left in the year, but to date I’ve read 107 books. Ten less than last year, but still not bad.

The split was 48 fiction, 48 non-fiction, 8 poetry and 3 mixed anthologies. Three of them were audiobooks, and four of them were e-books that I was sent as a volunteer reader for the Highland Book Prize. The rest were hardcopy, sourced from a combination of new and second hand bookshops, op shops, loans from friends, and free little libraries.

Additionally, I started three books that I didn’t finish – but I tend not to name and shame when that happens, because reading is such a personal thing. Message me if you really want to know…

I thought I’d share my favourite fiction and non-fiction reads, along with a couple of poetry recommendations, in case you’re looking for some reading inspiration over the holidays. (Or perhaps a last-minute Christmas present!) Continue reading “2020: a year in reading”

Reading

Reading as self-care

a blue book on wooden table with the text 'reading as self-care: what to read when the world feels overwhelming'

I’ve been meaning for months to write a blog post about the benefits of reading as self-care. For obvious reasons, now seems as good a time as any.

Reading has always been my go-to activity.

Worried about something and need to know more about it? Read a book.

Worried about something and need to distract myself from it? Read a book.

Need to shut out the white noise of the world and remind myself how to focus on one thing at a time? Read a book.

Heaps of time to kill – at home, in a waiting room, while travelling? Read a book.

It has been clear from watching the stress levels rise across my social media feeds and in-person communities over the last few weeks that not everyone has tuned in to the life-changing magic of books yet.

That’s reasonable. We are living in exceptional times – for those working in frontline jobs, on casual contracts, or as freelancers, there are financial pressures that accompany the COVID-19 pandemic that can’t just be wished away. For those personally affected by the virus, there are even more pressing things to think about.

But for every one of us, for our own wellbeing and mental health, it’s important to have a way of taking the occasional break from the strangeness of it all – from the pressure, the panic, and the 24-hour news cycle. Books are one of the most accessible ways of doing that. Continue reading “Reading as self-care”

Reading

My Top Reads of 2019

Tall stack of books with caption 'My top reads of 2019' by Ruth Dawkins

Have I mentioned before how much I enjoy reading? I think I might have! Once… or perhaps twice.

2019 has been an absolute cracker of a year for good books. My targeted approach of only buying and borrowing books that are on my wishlist – rather than lucky dipping from the sale table – seems to paying dividends. I’ve not encountered many duds this year at all.

We still have a couple of weeks to go, but my reading stats for 2019 are:

Books read: 117

Books started but abandoned before the end: 6

(I don’t like criticising books publicly because reading is such a personal thing, but message me on social media or email me if you want to know what they were!) Continue reading “My Top Reads of 2019”