My Reading Shenanigans — Part 2

Abhijith C
4 min readDec 29, 2023
Photo by @felipepelaquim on Unsplash

Originally published in my blog.

In the first installment of my reading saga, I spilled the beans on how I resurrected my reading habit, danced through genres, and discovered the art of balancing fiction and non-fiction. I’m back with the sequel — think of it as the Empire Strikes Back, but with fewer light-sabers and more books, with some focus on what went right and what was troubling.

Revisiting the Grand Plan — The core of my reading strategy involved compartmentalizing my reading based on context and location. Weekdays at home meant non-fiction tête-à-têtes, and my commute became a road trip with audio-books. This structured approach turned out to be a game-changer — I completed my goal of reading 20 books this year.

2023 Reading challenge

Enter Goodreads, where reading feels like a social sport — the less UX-ey Tinder for book lovers. Goodreads played a pivotal role in this journey. I connected with a bunch of friends and started sharing and reviewing book recommendations. This became a weekly habit. My to-be-read list is now longer than my grocery list. Let’s (connect?)

A major trouble I faced with my literary road trips was the inability to take notes or highlight key passages while driving (traffic is bad, but not that bad to allow me to do this). To tackle this, I experimented with finding digital copies or summaries online and creating personal summaries for me in a book. This two-fold solution not only refreshed my memory but also provided the benefits of note-taking for future reference. But to be honest, this is added friction, yeah.

In a surprising plot twist, a friend handed me a Kindle Paperwhite who didn’t quite warm up to it (which I bought from him a week later). It was like Christmas morning, but a gadget instead of socks, and October instead of December. Although it’s been just a couple of months, the Kindle has already found its niche in my routine. Non-fiction has found a home here during my weekdays at home. The ability to highlight crucial points has replaced the two-pass scheme of note taking I mentioned earlier. The Kindle’s potential goes beyond its e-ink display. I’m exploring ways to integrate my highlights into Notion to create an organized hub for my notes.

Now that non-fiction can be cut from my driving routine, I’ve bid farewell to my Audible subscription and replaced it with podcasts. The change is not just about content but also a shift in focus — podcasts offer a different listening experience, and I’m excited to explore this new dimension (also, a lot of fomo since my crowd follows podcasts a lot).

A friend’s advice, “pace down for retention” led to me contemplate a slight shift in my reading speed. While the quantity has been impressive, I want to ensure that the quality of my reading experience isn’t compromised. Too many books might lead to a literary identity crisis — characters merging into one, plotlines entwining like spaghetti. Nobody wants that, right? This reflective pause will help me gauge the optimal balance between consumption and retention.

Now, here’s the unexpected perk of this reading saga. Becoming well-acquainted with both fiction and non-fiction titles has transformed me into a certified book connoisseur. Conversations with fellow bookworms are a breeze. People are genuinely interested in my book recommendations, eagerly awaiting my reviews, and engaging in spirited discussions about literature.

Lately, I’ve stumbled upon a delightful new habit. After work, I stroll into a cozy café, grab a cup of joe and read away. A friend joins me and together we explore new coffee blends and concoctions.

My next challenge or rather something to look forward to is how I maintain my reading streak (keeping the retaining thought in mind) and also figuring out how I can plug in textbooks into this mix. I’m an ML Engineer and I use textbooks and papers to keep me updated. That’s something I’ve intentionally skipped in this sequel since that habit needs more brewing.

As I wrap up this chapter of my bookish escapades, I’m raising a metaphorical glass to the laughter, the revelations, and the pure joy books bring. 📚☕️✨