Monday, June 22, 2020

Ten Changes in My Bookish Life Since 2010

I'm linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for another Top Ten Tuesday.

In celebration of the Top Ten Tuesday linkup turning 10, we're revisiting a topic we missed the first time around (or want to redo). I skipped this one last year, and it seemed particularly appropriate for this 10-year anniversary celebration: How has my bookish life changed in the last 10 years?

1. I started using Goodreads.
I had held out for several years because I had all my books and reviews on another site and I thought it would be a pain to switch, and then that site shut down and took all my data with it! So I set myself up with a Goodreads profile and since then have rated and reviewed just about every book I've read in the last 7 years — over 800 reviews!

2. I joined several different book clubs, two of which I'm still part of.
About a year after we moved to Portland, I read the book MWF Seeking BFF, which made me think to start seeking out book clubs for a first time. I tried out several local ones through Meetup before settling on one that I've been part of ever since, and I simultaneously found an online book club that I've also been with for the past 7 years. I've been part of a few others throughout the years that have formed and then disbanded, but these two have been constants. I try to never miss a meeting and to always read the book!

3. I switched to digital formats for the vast majority of my books.
I talked about this way back in 2014, and since my son was born in 2015 my opportunities to read hard copy books have been drastically reduced, so now the percentage of books consumed digitally (ebook and audiobook) is even larger. Thank goodness for OverDrive!

4. I started tracking and intentionally diversifying the books I read.
In 2014, I made an intentional effort to diversify the race, gender, and nationality of the authors whose works I read and the protagonists of the fiction books I read. This involved creating a spreadsheet to track these details from every book listed under my Goodreads profile at the time, which I've since added to as I read more books. It's been a good exercise in keeping myself accountable so that I'm not reading just book by and about white Americans.

5. I started this book blog.
A Cocoon of Books launched in September 2014! At the time I didn't know the blog would be almost entirely Top Ten Tuesday, Quick Lit, and Best of the Bunch linkup posts, but I'm OK with that — I knew I didn't want to post my book reviews here since I was already using Goodreads for that, so it's worked out well.

6. I started setting annual goals for my reading.
As part of Top Ten Tuesday — which used to have a topic at the beginning of each year to generate ten goals for the year, but hasn't in recent years — I've set goals around my reading life every year. At times these can feel constraining, but they can also push me toward books or genres I wanted to read anyway, get outside my comfort zone, and give me permission to read things I otherwise might not make time for.

7. I read tons of new picture books.
After my son was born in 2015, I got rid of a ton of old books on PaperBackSwap and used the credits to start filling his bookshelf. In addition to classics from my own childhood, I sought out books with diverse representation, most of which have come out within the last decade. For some of the more in-demand books that have long waiting lists on PaperBackSwap, I've put them on his Christmas and birthday lists. This has given me the opportunity to read lots of great contemporary picture books that I otherwise wouldn't have had reason to pick up!

8. I made my "to read" list less of a "to do" list.
When I realized that my to-read shelf on Goodreads was stressing me out, I stopped adding books to it and made a "might-want-to-read" shelf where I started putting everything. Just recently I moved a bunch of books from that original to-read list to my might-want-to-read list, so now I feel less pressure to read some of the books I was no longer as interested in.

9. I set up a special reading area for myself.
When we moved into a larger apartment, I wanted to make an area dedicated to reading. (I think I got this idea from a book, but I don't know which one.) I got an old stuffed chair my parents were getting rid of and decorated the wall behind it with bookish items — a poster, a shelf of our Harry Potter books, and a clock that says, "Too many books, too little time." The chair has an organizer over one arm where I keep my Kindle and my bookmarks. I don't get a lot of chances to sit and read, but it still makes me happy to have this special space for my favorite activity.

10. I stopped owning books I haven't read.
After clearing out many of my old books after my son was born, I was able to get my unread stack down to a manageable amount, which I read through over the next few years. I try very hard now not to add anything to my shelf unless it's a book I've already read and loved so much that I want a physical copy to be able to reference or lend to others.

What has changed for you in the last 10 years?

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: The Warmth of Other Suns
Five years ago I was reading: The Miracle Worker, Angle of Repose, and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Ten years ago I was reading: Everything Is Illuminated

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