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Thoughts on the Hardcopied challenge

Stack of five printed books that I read in July

My five Hardcopied books


So, three weeks later, what did I get out of the Hardcopied challenge, to read only print books for the month of July?

First thing. I already read a lot of print books, but the Hardcopied challenge got me to slow down. (On my time off. The working day was as hectic as ever, alas.) I hadn’t finished many books this year, after averaging one book a week last year, but in July, I decided that sunny Sundays were reading days. So every Sunday, I went to a different Toronto park with a book, and I read. (I sometimes went out in the sun to read on Saturdays too. I was inspired.)

I could feel the difference right away. Of course there were still distractions; any park worth its name is going to have those. But there wasn’t the pressure that I had to jump–to a different topic–a different thought–a different online task. It didn’t take long before I was reading longer passages and then stopping to think about them as I looked around. I noticed a lot of things around me. The house across the street from the park bench by my building, where the new owners had really been spiffing it up. The different people and their different dogs, strolling along the boardwalk down by the beach. And who could resist the guy in High Park, who sat coaxing tiny chipmunks onto his hand, where they sat eating nuts, their fluffy little tails hanging off his palm?

There was no pressure to get one thing done solely so I could get on with the next thing. I also stopped work a little earlier on some days (I work at home) so I could lounge around with a Blue Jays baseball game in the background and read some more. So I finished five books in July, after only managing one each in April, May, and June. I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed a stint of reading quite this much. And it’s been a great, relaxing summer too.

I’m already kind of eager to do it again. I may toy with the idea of doing my own Hardcopied thing every second or third month or something. But I do want to continue to set aside long stretches of time just to sit and read. And think. And absorb.


Reading Bingo: Nice Way to set Reading Goals

I like this idea for setting reading goals for 2014. Instead of just saying, “I’m going to read 50 books by the end of the year,” make sure you’re reading a variety. Random House Canada has posted a printable Bingo card (Reading Bingo Challenge 2014), where different types of books are positioned on each square. Here are some samples:

  1. A book set on a different continent.
  2. A book with a one-word title.
  3. A book that scares you.
  4. A book of short stories. (This would be the hard one for me; I don’t really enjoy short stories.)

Actually, let’s just show you the Bingo card. 🙂 But go to the site, because there’s a YA version too.

Random House



What if these authors had died?

Gabe Habash, of Publishers Weekly, has an interesting article this week about seven authors who almost died. I think the one who strikes me the most is Feodor Dostoevsky (though I’m awfully glad all the others survived too). I studied Russian literature in university (I majored in Russian for a few years), and I just can’t imagine the world without The Brothers Karamazov. The thought is kind of boggling.

Read the article, to discover some of the others (Pearl Buck! George Orwell! Ernest Hemingway!), but check the comments also. People have been adding to the list.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Friday Cat Blogging – Fang Shui

Friday Cat Blogging is again upon us. And as always, the feline sage Catfucious provides Fang Shui words to live by:

Use the energy of the earth to ensure a successful hunt.

Flatten your body: become one with the dirt. Feel its power flowing through you.

– Catfucious

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