Early 2019 I made a resolution to read as many books as I can. This is one of my 100 new little things.
Some of you who know me may ask: Why is it a new thing because you have been reading your whole life?
Yes but well, my reading pace is very slow. In some years I only finished 4 to 5 books, which I suddenly realized that it’s never enough!
So I devised a new tactic to read differently (I wrote a whole article about this tactic, you can check it here).
- Firstly I organized my time to read daily, with an attempt to eliminate all distractions.
- Secondly, I began to explore new genres and selected a number of books that seemed interesting. I avoid too much of novel/fiction, the genre I have been drowning in my whole life. As a slow reader, I set a goal of 20 books for one year, high for my pace and ambitious enough for something I love: reading.
- And last but not least, I read. Of course you can not leave the fancy plan there and do nothing for the whole year, so I read non-stop throughout the year, one book at a time, pretty much like a marathon. After finishing a book, I gave it a score. For those I really like, I wrote one or two pages of reviews to reflect my fresh feelings and thoughts.
And guess what, I’ve completed 27 books (oh how I love myself for that!) Reading this much is one new thing I did, but I can’t tell how many new things I have learnt out of it, through thousands of pages. Each book unfolded in a different way. Reading them all is just so miraculous. Among various genres, I realized that cosmology caught my attention a lot, the topic that made me do research while reading in order to understand technical terms. I never thought I would be so much interested in cosmology my entire life until I randomly pick up a book on this topic. And if you want to know why I am so into it, the answer is that this kind of cosmology is very much similar to my favorite philosophy theory. Under the enormous dark sky, one will definitely ponder about existentialism, humanity, life and the universe, just like Stephen Hawking did. And not just that, science fills the big gap between the facts and the philosopher’s mind, which I really appreciate. Science may deny philosophy on certain things, but it is a string that keep the daydreamers’ feet on the ground. I found myself so lucky to have read these enlightening cosmology books.
But there raised an anxiety of not knowing enough. The more I learn, the more I fear how little I know about this world. Out of my fields of knowledge, I am a novice in many others. During the year, I often felt like I should quit everything else including my job and just focused on reading, then immediately realized that I can not easily deny all responsibilities, so here the paradox again. In fact, I could do nothing to overcome this Onism than to just continue to step forward, one step at a time. You may say this is such a clique that one overcomes oneself, but this year 27 books are my big step. Some books I read again to recognize how little I understood them in the first read. Some other books are hard to read and reading them was more difficult than working, but somehow I managed to complete the whole list. All the new genres other than my fields are monsters on the ancient map, which I chose not to look away, but to venture, just to be conscious that I fought against my foolishness. We always struggle to overcome things, but then when we reach the edge of the abyss there will be a sweet satisfaction of knowing our unlimited.
Here is the list:
(Please note: scoring is subjective and for reference only)
- Historical fiction – City of Thieves (David Benioff) – Score: 6
- Historical fiction – Human Acts (Han Kang) – Score: 6
- Dystopian fiction – The handmaid’s tale (Margaret Atwood) – Score: 8
- Novel – The citadel (A.J.Cronin) – Score: 5
- Novel – Hear the wind sing (Haruki Murakami) – Score: 6
- Novel – To the lighthouse (Virginia Woolf) – Score: 8
- Chinese Romance – The memory lost in space (Tong Hua) – Score: 8
- Literary Fiction – Breasts and eggs (Mieko kawakami) – Score: 4
- Hard science fiction – The three-body problem 1 (Liu Cixin) – Score: 8 (read again)
- Hard science fiction – The three-body problem 2 (Liu Cixin) – Score: 8
- Children’s fiction – His dark materials: Northern Lights (Philip Pullman) – Score: 7
- Poem – Milk and honey (Rupi kaur) – Score: 8
- Marketing – Trust me I’m lying (Ryan Holiday) – Score: 6
- Self-help – The power of your subconscious mind (Joseph Murphy) – Score: 4
- Self-help – Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill) – Score: 4
- Self-help – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (Mark Manson) – Score: 8
- Self-help – Chuyến tàu 1 chiều không trở lại (Kien Nguyen) – Score: 4
- Psychology self-help – Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell) – Score: 6
- Psychology self-help – Blink (Malcolm Gladwell) – Score: 5
- Technology and Civilization: 21 lessons for the 21st century (Yuval Noah Harari) – Score: 8
- Technology – Công nghệ và thiết bị Nano (Truong Van Tan) – Score: 7
- Technology – Platform (Michael Hyatt) – Score: 6
- Popular science – A brief history of time (Stephen Hawking) – Score: 8
- Popular science – The universe in a nutshell (Stephen Hawking) – Score: 9 (read again)
- Philosophy – Philosophy (DK) – Score: 8
- Philosophy – Thus spoke Zarathustra (Friedrich Nietzsche) – Score: 9 (read again)
- Philosophy – Tao Te Ching (Laozi) – Score: 8 (read again)
Share your thoughts of reading here?
If you have a minute, check out my book: 100 new little things – A method to know your Why.