I don’t keep a numerical target to my reading, and it isn’t just books I read. I read a lot of articles, follow inspirational accounts on Instagram (mostly on personal financial sustainability and investing), and for work (mostly on Artificial Intelligence, Technology, etc.) I also do not force myself to complete articles or books that I don’t like. You only have so many hours in a day and so many days in a lifetime. I do not want to spend my time on things and experiences that I realize do not bring me joy.
Personally, I prefer purchasing books from local bookstores in the city. If you request them to especially order books for you, they would do it in most cases. I visit Bahrisons, Khan Market and The Bookshop, Jorbagh for my book shopping.
The benefits of shopping via a local bookstore are:
- You support the local economy instead of putting your money in the pockets of the biggest tech giant in the world.
- You can get personalized suggestions from the store owners. Some of my favourite reads have been these suggestions I have gotten over time.
- You build personal relationships with the store owners! I love going to The Bookshop and spending time there browsing through books, reading, playing with the cat, chatting with up Mahika, Sonal, and Nini Aunty. It is one way of creating a new home for yourself.
- You also get to meet interesting people in person (instead of Goodreads, which I do not use).
- Impact of transportation (travel and packaging) on the environment is minimized. I am routinely horrified at the kind of packaging used to deliver products when shopped online. I understand why it has to be done – I would just prefer not to be a part of that wastage.
A couple of months ago, I saw a post online on why independent bookstores ‘charge’ you more than online stores. It’s important to think of the true cost of our choices. Online discounts might be cheaper on the face of it, but the cost the economy and our freedoms incur are massive and unquantifiable.
Having said that, I also see the benefits of ordering online. There are limited instances when I do so.
- I use my JetPrivilege points to get Amazon Gift Cards which I use to order books (mostly). This might be once or twice a year.
- If the book (or product) I am looking for is not available in-store – this is especially the case when independent writers put up their self-published books online. This is quite rare, and I always make it a point to check it from the bookstore before placing an order online.
- If the book I need can be delivered sooner than custom order, especially in the case of academic books, I would choose to order it online.
As always, the sustainability of bookstores, packaging and delivery is a trade-off between time spent on acquiring your book (or any product for that matter), and the cost of that trade-off. I do continue to use Amazon as a wishlist and recommender for my reading.
Here’s a list of books I’m reading in 2019:
- Jasmine Days by Benyajim.
- Women & Power (An Updated Manifesto) by Mary Beard.
- Ways of Seeing by John Berger.
- Before We Visit the Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.
- The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.
- On Writing by Charles Bukowski.
- Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
- How to be Married by Jo Piazza.
- Matilda by Roald Dahl.
- Offend, Shock, or Disturb by Gautam Bhatia.
- Foxy Aesop by Suniti Namjoshi.
- The Mathematics of the Breath and the Way by Charles Bukowski (left halfway).
- Am I There Yet? by Mari Andrew.
- What Would de Beauvoir Do? by Tabi Jackson Gee and Freya Rose.
- Autumn by Ali Smith.
- When I Hit You: Or, The Portrait of a Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy.
- Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney.
- Normal People by Sally Rooney.
- A Cry in the Snow by Stella Vinitchi Radulescu (left halfway).
- Pick Me Up by Adam J. Kurtz.
- A Transformative Constitution by Gautam Bhatia.
- The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
- Ikigai by Rector Garcia and Francesc Miralles.
- Indian Super Foods by Rujuta Diwekar.
- The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House by Audre Lorde.
- The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair.
- A Murder on Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey.
- Planting Seeds by Thich Nhat Hanh.
- Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz.
- Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.
- Show Your Work by Austin Kleon.
- Winter by Ali Amith.
- Walking on the Ceiling by Aysegul Savas.
- All About Love by Bell Hooks.
- Best Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen.
- I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.
- Sita under the Crescent Moon by Annie Ali Khan (left halfway).
- Exponential Organisations by Salim Ismail.
- The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal.