When I get the chance to physically go into a book shop – and not just ’1click’ my way through the kindle section of Amazon on a binge fueled by the ease of it all – I often follow a particular path.
I usually start with the new title recommendations and the ‘what’s hot’ piles, I then find myself at the pop psychology and self help section, depending on time, the business shelves and always like a magnet drawn to the sci-if fantasy novels, honestly, mainly young adult- and no, not something I qualify for.
This is an exercise that was recommended to me by John Williams, author of “Screw Work Let’s Play” . In order to help identify your areas of interest, or hone down your list if it seems endless, he advises to look at what you’re drawn to in a book store or magazine isle.
By looking into my route, as well as the internet bought titles (especially the impulse purchases) my list began to take shape. By delving a little deeper and asking myself some basic questions it also broke down into sub sections:
What I looked at but didn’t buy, or purchased and read at a much slower rate.
What I read for guilty pleasure.
What priority I gave the books on my reading list or night stand.
I learnt that I’m a sucker for marketing, I like new and shiny and always pay an interest to trending titles, best seller charts and like to spot patterns.
Confirmed I’m clearly committed to working for myself, in a flexible work pattern that reflects my interests and needs.
That I’m all about the psychology of why we do what we do and think what we think, combined with how that effects how we feel. That learning as much as we can about ourselves and channeling that knowledge into living a more fulfilled life is fascinating to me.
I discovered that I actually don’t follow “I should…” decisions as much as I thought. That in the last year or so I haven’t brought books I haven’t read and that the very few titles were productivity or health related. That brought it home that I’m not taking action in these areas, rather just paying lip service.
Weirdly, I found out that I like to ‘save’ things. I sometimes delay buying the third part of a trilogy because I want to prolong the experience. I always buy the second part as soon as it’s released and if I know it’s not the last, the next installment as soon as it comes out. Yet not the end, I may buy it fairly promptly but save it for a holiday or weekend when I have some time. I’m someone who reads very quickly, sometimes in one sitting and although I race to it, I don’t want to finish. (That’s something to ponder on when I’m working on my procrastination tenancies?)
I know I love stories. Heaven is an endless stack of good novels.
Yet the real juicy reveal came to me when I looked at the books I read for pure pleasure. What did they have in common?
What was compelling me to pick up the titles I wouldn’t necessarily be proud to sport reading on the London underground?
It occurred to me when I looked at the young adult novels, and even those that did not fall into that category, they were actually coming of age stories. That the heroines were on a quest to learn and accept new things about themselves, whether it was the discovery that they were actually another species, super power, living in a conspiracy or dumped in the middle of nowhere rebuilding their lives. They were all different in some way, embracing those differences, discovering their true qualities and becoming who they really were.
Cue light bulb moment. That’s where I am right now, that’s what I’m passionate about.
So what does your reading list say about you? What are you reading? Why? What do those choices reveal to you?