Sarah to Zero Pt.2

What the fuck is Sarah to Zero? I love books and I buy a lot. Over the years I had accumulated hundreds. This was my overambitious intention to read them all. Every single one.

I started 2020 with the goal of reading 100 owned books. For some reason in about March (actually right before the pandemic became our every day) I did a small culling of my shelf and was left with around 185 books. I decided, fuck it, I’m gonna read them all.

And I did.

I somehow actually did it. I finished last year having read 206 books and with an empty shelf. (Just kidding, I already have 25 books on my shelf. HAHA! I received some lovely books for my birthday and Christmas that I didn’t include in my challenge and will calmly read throughout this year.) I still can’t quite believe that I completed the challenge.

How did I do it? Oh, well I did absolutely nothing else for a year. Simply put.

Here’s some things I learnt from my mad year reading 206 books:

– It’ll take a lot of time.

– I am not a quick reader. But I am a quick listener.

– Audiobooks are life.

– You become more equipped at knowing instantly if you’re going to enjoy a book/gel with the writing.

– Not every book is a winner. And that’s okay. Some are still worth reading.

– If your mouth is not open speaking to someone right that moment, then you should probably have an audiobook on.

– I buy a lot of books I think I should read. (Thanks, English Literature degree, you bastard.)

– I no longer read books I think I should read if I’m not feeling them.

– There is a lot of holes in my reading and my diversity of author, subject matter, even genre. I’m excited to explore more.

– Readathons will really get you there.

– You have very patient people in your life who love you and respect your hairbrained schemes. (Looking at you Danny, you the realest.)

– Damn, there is a lot of incredible books out there. And you have just a tiny sliver of them.

– Reckless determination can really take you places.

– Reading in the garden is really lovely. Reading in bed when you’re tired will not end well.

– You’ll watch way less Netflix/Youtube, but in a good way.

– There’s some pretty fun people on bookstagram and taking pictures of books is surprisingly addictive.

– You find links between books everywhere. I think it’s because you’re still living in a book world but catapulting yourself into another before your brain can adjust.

Would I do it again? Absofuckinglutely not.

I honestly had a really fun year and I’m glad I did the challenge and I’m still gobsmacked that I actually completed it. But one of my main motivations for doing the challenge to begin with was so that I could have a more chill reading experience moving forward. I had just accumulated a lot of books, from like ten years of buying more than I was reading. Whenever I looked at my shelf I felt excited but overwhelmed and when I purchased a new book I felt guilty and would put it aside to pick up an older one. Dumb, I know.

Goals and intentions going forward:

– Keep my physically owned tbr to under twenty books.

– Join some online book clubs and seek out new, fun readathons.

– Read diversely. Prioritse BIPOC and queer stories and authors.

– Take more time reviewing each book.

– Do buddy reads with my friends.

– Read more new authors. I used to read mainly backlist but I’m really excited by new authors recently.

– Read every memoir in existence. Or, you know, as close as you can get.

– Read every day in some capacity. Cos you love it.

I reckon that’s enough to be getting on with for now! I set my reading goal as one book this year and I’ve completed that. Feels really freeing to just see where the year goes now!

What are your reading goals for the year? Did having to stay home during the past year mean you read more than usual? Did you find any new favourites? Do you want to make reading a bigger priority for yourself this year? I hope so, cos reading is boss!

Happy reading!

Chinese Satellite – Phoebe Bridgers

The Book Buying Ban

Like anyone who loves books, I also love buying books. I can easily walk into a bookstore and pick up twenty books. And I was. So I knew I needed to stop. I don’t just buy books for the sake of it, I buy them cos they intrigue me and I’m desperate to read them. However, the rate in which I buy books and the speed at which I read them could only ever end in disappointment. I just get overwhelmed cos there’s so many books out there that I want to read. But I’ve decided to start with the ones currently in my possession. I challenged myself to buy only twelve books in the year of 2018, one for each month. This would allow me to make a bigger dent in my already owned books. Since we’re almost midway through the year I figured I’d give you an update of how that’s going!

Gay’s the Word, London

In May I popped into Gay’s the Word. Yeah, you heard, I got to bloody MAY before I bought a single book this year. I was super impressed with myself. I’ve walked passed this book shop many times on my way to Skoob Books and it’s just either been closed or I was running for a train home. So on my most recent trip to London I purposely put this shop on my to do list. And it did not disappoint. This small store near Euston station will fulfil all your LGBTQ+ needs, be it fiction, essays, poetry, memoirs.

Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin

I read this book in university and ever since I did I wanted to read the series. I just never did. So I picked this one up to start the journey again. Basically it’s kind of like a written soap opera set in San Francisco with, of course, many LGBT issues and themes. It’s lighthearted and fun, mainly.

Your Silence Will Not Protect You – Audre Lorde

All I know about Audre Lorde is that damn, she can write very quotable sentences and phrases. I’ve seen her name splashed across many feminism social media pages so I thought it was about time I got acquainted with her. This is a collection of her poems, speeches and essays. From what I’ve read about her she’s a badass black, feminist, activist, lesbian, essayist, poet. She crosses many identities which is why I think she demands to be listened to, especially now in a time where her words are so relevant despite her death being over twenty five years ago.

Waterstones, Glasgow

During my trip in May, I passed this shop every day that finally I just broke and went in. I’m glad I did! As far as Waterstones’ go this was a pretty spectacular one. It had a couple of floors above ground which were good but below ground was where the fun was happening. There’s like a gallery which is kind of like a cave and there’s also the lower ground floor which is a gigantic room with a circling balcony. Basically there was just too many books to look at I could not breathe.

The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz

I’ve been aware of this book for many years now and just never pick it up. But I wanted to use some of my books this year to be books I’ve wanted for a long time instead of all being somewhat spontaneous. So I went in hunt of this one. In the few pages I’ve read it’s exactly what I thought it would be. It’s about self love and generosity and positivity. The four agreements are a way to live your life authentically.

At The Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being & Apricot Cocktails – Sarah Bakewell

This one I have never heard of in my life, but damn, was the sixteen year old Sarah inside me sold instantly. As far as I can tell it’s kind of an overview narrative of existentialism from the beginning. It introduces all the major players. I’ve only read thirteen pages so far but it’s excellent.

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge

Another book I’ve been hearing a lot about since it came out a few years ago. I decided it was past due that I picked it up. I’m excited to read it because it’s specifically about race in Britain whereas a lot of the similar literature you hear about has an American setting. Whilst I think American issues are very important, I think it’s paramount that I actually know what’s happening in the country I live in. So I can see if there’s any way I can alter my behaviour and ideas.

So my total book count so far is five. Let’s see how the second half of the year goes!

What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get? – Snow Patrol