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I was always a big reader. When I was a kid, our library had a summer reading challenge where you got prizes for every book you read, and the librarians would always quiz me because I got through so many, they thought I was cheating! But no, I just loved reading. My parents were both teachers, I grew up in a house full of more books than I could count, and I was always allowed to read whatever I wanted.

As an adult, obviously, my moments for leisure reading are few and far between, so this year, I’m making it a priority. And what better way to do that than with a challenge? Late in December, a few of my twitter friends started posting about Goodreads, which I’ve had an account at for years and somehow, never really used much. I noticed they had a reading challenge option and decided that reading 52 books this year was a good goal!

Here’s what I’ve read so far in January:

The Shape of Water by Guillermo Del Toro

★★★☆☆

I actually have yet to see the movie for this, but it popped up in Libby (the app my library uses for e-books) and I decided to take a peek at it. It was a pretty good book! It’s not my favourite by a long shot; it was good, just not really my style, and I had to push myself to finish reading it. From what I’ve seen of Del Toro movies in the past, I feel like it would be a better watch!

From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty

★★★★★

Caitlin Doughty’s “Ask A Mortician” is probably my favourite YouTube channel. A friend of mine sent me one of her Ask A Mortician videos last year, I quickly got through most of her uploads, and she’s now one of my most-watched channels! Her videos are hilarious, informative, and don’t shy away from the realities of death and decay, which is a pretty interesting combination, all things considered. From Here to Eternity is written with the same wit and soul as the videos are made, and it’s just fantastic to read.

Caitlin seems like a genuinely lovely, respectful person, and I feel like I learned a lot from her journey around the world, discovering how different cultures treat death and the dead. I have always been scared of death—I’m going to blame Stephen King, here—but Caitlin makes it a little less scary.

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

★★★★☆

This book was recommended to me by my friend Crystal, and I devoured it hot on the heels of a marathon of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Minimalism has definitely been the hot new thing for a while, and The Year of Less has definitely helped influence my desire to be more minimalist. It’s a year in the life of a woman who has decided to stop buying and start getting rid of things and tells the reader how she accomplished it: her successes, her failures, and everything in between.

While there are parts of it I don’t particularly identify with, I found a lot of it to be inspiring and motivating. Who knows—maybe 2019 will be my “year of less”.

Coming up…

On my reading list for the rest of this month, finishing up January and starting February strong:

  • Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive by Kristen J. Sollee
  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat
  • The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
  • The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish