I read TEN books in April!!! I also finished all my Orilium subjects, plus did a few extra that may or may not help me if I decide to try a for a new career path in August (during the Orilium Autumn Equinox Readathon)!
Here’s everything (fiction) I read that fit one of the Orilium Readathon prompts:
- The Last Ride to Love by Kearney Wentworth (Astronomy) — This is a super cute short story written by a friend of mine. It was previously part of an anthology, but now it’s been released as a stand-alone story that will eventually link to her forth-coming contemporary romance series featuring rugby players!
- Even Though I Knew the End by C. L. Polk (Inscription) — I really enjoyed this novella. The world-building is really rich and immersive for such a short book.
- A Tempest at Sea by Sherry Thomas (Psionics & Divination) — This wasn’t my favorite of the Lady Sherlock books, but I always enjoy these stories because I really love the characters. The murder mystery was pretty good, too.
- This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede (Lore) — The strength of this book is really in its two main characters and their love story. I really wanted to like it more because of that, but the side characters were not that interesting, and I wanted a lot more from the world-building than what I got. It was good, but ultimately kind of disappointing for me. I probably won’t read the companion novel.
- Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries (Art of Illusion) by Heather Fawcett — This book, on the other hand, was excellent. It had the kind of fae and fairies that I prefer (think Enchantment of Ravens), crossed with a main character that reminded me a lot of Veronica Speedwell. Definitely recommend this one.
- Reclaim Your Author Career: Using the Enneagram to build your strategy, unlock deeper purpose, and celebrate your career by Claire Taylor (Conjuration) — Not much to say about this one except that it managed to explain “theme” in a way that finally made it make sense to me. I’m still not sure which enneagram I am, but the parts about how to use the core fear and desire of each personality type in your writing were very interesting.
- What the Hex by Alexis Daria (Elemental Studies) — I really enjoyed this cute novella about a witch returning to her island home for her sister’s wedding and having to team up with her former high school nemesis to fight off a demon who has possessed the groom. A fast, fun read!
I also read some others that didn’t fit any of the prompts:
- Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon — I read this for fun as a distraction to keep me from checking social media while I tried to “digital detox” this month. The short sections made it work really well as a replacement for “bored” scrolling of Instagram and the like.
- Atomic Habits by James Clear — I listened to this one on audiobook. I kind of hate self-help books because they tend to be very repetitive, and this was not an exception to that rule. However, I feel like the concept of “habits” is one of those things that gets watered down so much through pop-productivity media (like the BuJo community, for example), that a lot of the science gets lost. Sure, habit trackers are great, but habit trackers alone aren’t going to help you build or change your habits. This book explains how to build (or break) habits in a really helpful way (if you can get past the “basic bro” examples).
- Dragonholder: The Life and Dreams of Anne McCaffrey by Todd McCaffrey — This is less of a biography and more of a rambling blog post in book form. I picked it up because one of the pieces of advice in Steal Like an Artist is to read biographies of your favorite authors (or people who influence your creative work). In that regard, this was interesting, but not exactly what I was looking for…
Ultimately, I think I read so much in April because I was limiting my computer/phone use to only necessary stuff. This was because I read Digital Minimalism in March and wanted to give his digital detox a try. It’s kind of shocking how much more time you have when you’re not checking email, Discord, and social media on repeat. I have relaxed my restrictions a bit now that April is over, but not by much. We’ll see if that leads to more books read in May as well.
What I’m really hoping my attempts at digital minimalism will lead to is more focused writing time. One of the reasons I gravitated toward that book (after reading Deep Work) was because I was realizing that nearly every time I context switch, I get pulled into a distraction loop checking all the things before I can settle back down and get back to work (if I ever get back to work). This leads to me getting an hour or so of solid writing in the morning and then struggling to get back into it after I take a break. Not ideal. So, I’m learning and playing with process to try to figure out what works for me.
That said, I’ve had a lot of (mostly legitimate and irl) distractions in my life over the past few months. In general, I’m feeling really scattered. So, taking a break from all the online noise is really nice.
How did your readathon go (if you participated)?
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