The Stories from a Backpack Monthly Online Book Club
So I have a weird system.
I can’t run out of books. Ever. I always have at least ten ready to go. I mean it’s an irrational fear, but you know, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Like when there is a global pandemic. But I can breathe a little easier knowing I won’t run out of books to read.
Anway, after a book has been read, it only gets to stay on my bookcase if it makes an impact.
That’s fair right? Now, I’m not book bashing, I know how hard it is to fill 350 blank pages, but I’ve also only got limited space on my bookshelf, so I’m only going to keep a book and re-read it if:
- It teaches me something,
- It makes me cry,
- It feels truthful or,
- If it captures my imagination.
Earning a place on the shelf
I don’t want to have loads of ‘stuff’. That’s why I’m trying to get more and more books from the library. I’m working on reducing what I own, so a book has to earn its place. I’m not keeping any books that are less than 4/5. There are millions of books in the world. I need to make space for some more.
What about you? How do you choose which books get to stay? And which books go?
I used to think I needed to keep books forever. I used to think if I’d bought a book that I had to keep it. But sometimes you’ve got to move things around to make space for better things, do you know what I mean, friend?
I’ve been so lucky that I could read during lockdown, I know some people have found it really difficult. Here’s some ideas to help you read more.
Tips for reading when you don’t feel like it:
- Read books with big text. Pick big chunky hardbacks with large pages and large font and lots of juicy white space on the page. It helps make it easier for your eyes to read and for your brain to process the information. There’s no shame in large print books, in fact, it can even help us read quicker!
- Read short stories or books with short chapters. When you don’t feel like reading short chapters can seem more manageable. I’ve recent;y started reading short stories and I love it. It means I can read a story before bed and it not take hours. The Moth book I talk about below would be perfect for this.
- Don’t read what you usually read. Pick something totally different and random. It can help break the idea that reading is routine and boring and predictable, make it fun again.
Hopefully, these books will give you some reading inspiration.
Here’s the April round-up:
Total books read: 9
Total pages: 2,857
Book #1 – Untamed – Glennon Doyle
Where was it from? Amazon. I’ve seen lots of people on Instagram reading this book, so I caved and bought it.
Non- Fiction: This book has received my first 5/5 rating for 2020. You’re going to love this book if you fancy a quiet pep talk with a friend who’s felt the ground crumble. Glennon shares a deeply personal journey about fighting for who you are and the life you want. It’s laid out beautifully and there are some great ideas and quotes you can take away.
Read this book if: If you like honest writing and storytelling you’ll like this book.
Quotes I think you’ll love:
- “Our next life will always cost us this one.”
- “Be careful with the stories you tell about yourself.”
- “Who was I before I became who the world told me to be?”
- “The truest most beautiful like never promises to be an easy one.”
Book #2 – The Fear Bubble – Ant Middleton
Where was it from? Stolen from my Husbands bedside table.
Non- Fiction: Ant Middleton from SAS Who Dare Wins (love that TV show), wanted to push himself to the edges of his ‘fear bubble’. He wanted to see if he could scare himself and challenge himself. So he decided the best way, the only thing left, was for him to climb Everest.
This book is so engaging. It’s hard to put down. I do think I prefered his first book, but stories about climbing mountains are always going to be good. I got lost a little in some of his fear bubble talk, but it was a beautifully quick book to read.
Read this book if: You want a pep talk, or if you want to read about someone else’s life-threatening adventure from the comfort of your sofa.
Quotes I think you’ll love:
- “The simple fact is, you don’t know if you’re good enough until you open the door.”
- “The critical thing to remember is this: you might think that you defined by your tally of success and failures, I’m here to tell you, you’re not… What actually defines you is your capacity for opening doors.”
Where was it from? Amazon preloved.
Non-Fiction: Cool fact, I read this book because it was ghostwritten by my University lecturer. After spending weeks of learning how to ghostwrite, I was fascinated to see how it was actually done.
Are you a Doctor Who fan? You’ll know who this bloke is if you are. I’m not sure I’ve seen anything that Christopher Eccleston has been in, but this book is a wonderful reminder of why it’s important to remember that everyone has a story and they are all equally important. This books turned into a love letter to his Mum and Dad really and I love it for that. It’s so honest too. He talks so brutally and beautiful about his mental health breakdown and how he fought through it.
Read this book if: You want to find out more about Christoper Eccleston, or you want to read about one man’s mental health journey and battle with body image.
Quotes I think you’ll love:
- “You don’t get cared for the same as you do by people who love the bones of you.”
Book #4 – Writing Done the Bones
Where was it from? A beautiful friend lent it to me, I hope she knows she isn’t getting it back!
Non-Fiction: Are you wanting to do some more creative writing? This book will be a great start. It is a bit airy-fairy, but then the best ones. Some wonderful true stories and activities to help you get into writing. This has now become one of my staple creative writing books.
Read this book if: You want an insight into creative writing.
Book #5 – The Versions of Us – Laura Barnett
Where was it from? Second hand from a book swap.
Fiction: I loved this book. This is my kind of fiction novel. It took a while to get into, as the format is weird, but preserve. I’ve not read a book like this before, the story is told in three versions.
Eva and Jim are nineteen when they meet and the book takes you through three versions of their life story, we can how the course of their lives are changed based on tiny decisions. Life is complicated and this book shows it well. Not all books have to have a happy ending.
Read this book if: You like Sliding Doors or One Day. It looks at how seemingly small decisions can impact our lives forever…
Where was it from? Waterstones in Manchester and I attended my first ever book launch. When I took myself out on a date.
Non- Fiction: A beautifully gentle book that you can pick up and put down. Keep this one by your bedside, even if you read a paragraph a sentence a day, it can be left in your thoughts to ruminate overnight.
Sunim is one of the most influential Zen Buddhist Monks, what better time than now for us to think about slowing down. The book is broken into chapters that start with an essay and then lead into short messages.
Read this book if: You need some space and some words to reflect on.
Quotes I think you’ll love:
- “Don’t sell your freedom.”
- “When your mind rests, the world also rests.”
- “When we are joyful, our heart opens up to new things.”
- “Stop worrying what others think and do what your heart wishes.”
Where was it from? The library, which I’m missing more than ever.
Non- Fiction: The Moth is an underground storytelling event that started in America. It used to be a couple of friends having drinks around the campfire, sharing stories. And then it grew into something incredible. Short, true stories. I love this book. It got a 5/5 rating from me. There is also a really cool podcast under the same name. Check is out.
It’s been hard to read at times this month. I’ve loved reading these short stories as I can dip in and out when my concentration allows.
Read this book if: You want some short stories you can read before bed.
Stories from a book club #6
Stories from a book club #6 I read and review some books each month, to find some I think you’ll enjoy. Here’s how the book club works:
You pick one you like from the list above and read it. We then get to chat on Instagram about all the things you loved and thought about when you read the book. No time pressures. No complicated questions. Just DM me and we can chat.
Just two friends reading the same book and chatting through how it made us feel. Sound good? How about if we turn this into a Facebook group? Let me know if you’re keen.
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