Top Books of 2019 (so far) & How to Read More

This year I set out with the goal of reading 30 books. It seemed like a reasonable number, seeing how I managed 32 last year. Somehow, I got on a roll and eclipsed the 30 mark yesterday, exactly halfway through the year. The coveted 52 books in 52 weeks is within reach! But first, here are my top from the first half of 2019:

5. Essentialism by Greg McKeown

This book is exactly what the subtitle says “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.” A book on minimalism, it stays true to its theme and provides excellent advice in a succinct manner.

4. What Doesn’t Kill Us by Scott Carney

If you’ve heard of Wim Hof, you’ll love this book. If you haven’t, you absolutely must read it. A writer’s  quest to dispel the “Iceman” ends with an attempt to climb Kilimanjaro with him… I won’t spoil the rest.

3. Beartown by Fredrik Backman

I don’t read a ton of fiction, but this one was recommended by several people and did not disappoint. Backman’s writing style is incredibly captivating; as he tells a story of a hockey town in Sweden.

2. Educated by Tara Westover

This book has received a lot of critical acclaim and rightfully so. It’s non-fiction, but certainly doesn’t feel like a true story. Tara Westover’s own memoir of being raised as a fundamentalist Mormon survivalist (it’s a real thing) and defying all odds to succeed beyond measure.

1. Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

This historical fiction novel is disturbing, but powerful. Set in 1950s Ontario it’s a dark reveal of Canada’s past and the awful residential schools. The young protagonist finds hope and salvation in the sport of hockey, but ultimately cannot escape his past.

Honourable Mentions

Atomic Habits by James Clear
Love & Courage by Jagmeet Singh
Conspiracy by Ryan Holiday
The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer
Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins – must be audiobook!

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THREE Tips for Reading More
1. Schedule It In

If you don’t schedule it in, other activities will push it aside. I aim for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes before bed. Obviously I don’t hit those every day, but I’m more likely to if it’s in my calendar. Another tip I learned and practice is to bring a book everywhere. It sounds odd, but you’d be amazed at how much dead time there is throughout the day when you’re waiting aimlessly for a meeting or an appointment. Instead of clicking away on the phone, why not crush a chapter of a good book?

2. No TV Shows

This one is always met with opposition, but nowadays everything is fighting for your attention. TV shows are designed to grab you and keep you hooked. It’s difficult to fit both in your leisure time, forcing you to ask yourself: which one do I get more out of? Nothing wrong with the odd TV season binge here and there–I’m personally guilty of crushing Season 8 of Thrones in one glorious weekend–but if you want reading to be your ritual then I recommend axing the TV shows.

3. Get a Library Card

A library card allows you to get unlimited books. Why is this important? A book should completely grab you, if it doesn’t then it’s not the right time to read it. I have 4 library cards for different regions and 5-10 books at my disposal at all times. I try to not read more than 2 books at once, but this allows me to always have several different books at the ready; because you never know what you’ll be feeling when it’s time to grab the next read!