More books, more reading

By Friday, February 17, 2017 4 Permalink

Books credit Kirsten Akens February 2017

I’ve not done a ton of book coverage on this here blog, but I don’t really know why (I think about it often).

Reading is the most pleasurable and time-consuming hobby I have and, unless I’m talking about my pups, you’re most likely to find me discussing books with friends and acquaintances (and even strangers!), and recommending titles.

I believe that the act of reading can deeply impact us. Whether reading for entertainment, escape, or education, it opens us to new worlds, and to perspectives different from our own.

It allows us as readers to challenge our biases and foster empathy — even when we’re not expecting it.

I just finished audio-reading JoJo Moyes’ Me Before You, and I will tell you — without any details so I don’t spoil it — I had expected an escapist novel. It was so much more. (A really beautiful book, by the way. I highly recommend it.)

All this to say, I’m going to change the lack of books here. I want to share more of my reading world. Watch for more regular posts on recent reads, oldies but goodies, awesome audios, library love, and book news — I might even toss in an author interview every now and again.

Join me? (And let me know what you’re reading down below in the comments!)

My life, in books

By Wednesday, January 4, 2017 2 , , Permalink

Books, credit Kirsten Akens 2017

For the past few weeks, I’ve been digging into friends’ annual reports about their favorite books of 2016. And, of course, adding even more titles to my to-read list — which currently sits at 766.

For reference, at the rate I’m currently pacing, I would need approximately 10 years to read just those. On one hand, that feels daunting and frustrating. On the other hand, I know I won’t read them all, and I’m OK with that because the list is much more than just a reminder of what I’ll never get to.
For almost 10 years now I’ve been tracking my reading through Goodreads. What I love about Goodreads is not only the ability to easily refer back to what I have read, keep that list of what I want to read (or think I want to read), and learn what my friends are choosing to spend their time with these days, but also to have the opportunity to review the years and see patterns in my reading choices and habits.

  • How have my tastes changed over the past decade?
  • Who continually rises to the top as my favorite authors?
  • Why was I drawn to certain authors or genres during certain years? (Hello 2016. Year of the Post-Apocalyptic Young Adult Novel.)
  • Why did I go through a few months in 2014 of wanting to read (but not actually reading) every single book about moss I could? (Oh right! Elizabeth Gilbert inspired this through The Signature of All Things: A Novel … and I was training to hike Pikes Peak that same summer, and began seeking out books about the flora and fauna around me as a way to connect more with the trails…)

I’ve never been a very good journaler. I envy those who can sit down every day or once a week, or with some sort of regularity, and put pen to paper about their days. I’ve tried numerous times to settle into this type of routine: from plain old self-motivation, to gratitude journals, to formalized Morning Pages. In the end, every time I’ve come to feel it was a forced process for me, and given up.

What I’ve realized about Goodreads: For me, it’s so much more than a book tracking, rating and reviewing system.

It’s a way of journaling through books.

One thousand, four hundred and eighteen titles. Three thousand, six hundred and fifty (ish) days.

Goals and aspirations. Travel near and travel far. Major depressive cycles. Obsessions and compulsions. Dreams and desires. Relationship ups and downs. Professional highs. Professional lows. Passions and practices.

It’s all there.

The words of my life.

How are you tracking yours?

Welcoming the new year with new tunes

By Friday, January 15, 2016 0 , , Permalink

Boston Terrier napping, credit Kirsten Akens 2016

Happy New Year!

Yes, I realize I’m two weeks behind on the sentiment. Since mid-December, I’ve been overwhelmed with a new fosterpup, and then both I and my Lucy pup got sick (see example of how we looked in the photo to the right).

As excited as I was about a new year, and about the many ideas I wanted to share with you, I just couldn’t muster up a post. (I couldn’t even keep up with my Savor blogging project. Which looking back has me a bit bummed out now.)

But that’s life sometimes, right? Sometimes we have to choose to step back.

So that’s what I did. In addition to much restorative napping, blowing my nose, sipping ginger-lemon-honey-cayenne tea, and making sure Lucy wasn’t eating anything she shouldn’t be, I’ve been listening to a lot of music and I wanted to share what I’ve been dipping in.

You can stream my Seeds Beneath the Snow Winter 2016 playlist below or find it over here on Spotify. It features some of my favorite artists: Gregory Alan Isakov, Tow’rs, Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Tracy Chapman, and Ingrid Michaelson, along with some newer to me.

I hope you enjoy it. Have an amazing weekend and I’ll be back next week.

P.S. I’ve also been reading a lot — I’m seven books in to my goal of reading 78 this year. Have you picked up Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear yet? So. Good.