Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | My First Month Using Scribd

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So, I finally decided to give the service Scribd another try. I think back in the day when it first started I did a free trial and canceled it within a day. At the time they did not have the books I was trying or enjoying so at the time it was not worth paying for. As of late I have been seeing more and more of it and I thought a great deal of time has passed it might be worth giving it another try. On top of seeing it talked about a lot I also was motived by the NEWTs Readathon taking place and I was going out of town for a few weeks. Traveling with huge books is not really fun or easy to do so I thought that giving this digital service a try might help.

I will say I did have reservation mixed with my hope of the improvement of the choices from this service. I continue to hear stories of people being limited without really being told why they were being limited. They make it kinda clear that you can have unlimited listening or reading, but then why are there limits? When do you hit these limits? There is no real answer that anyone has come across. I was just kinda worried I would be on vacation then all of a sudden in the middle of a book, I loose access to it. I was also worried that this service still didn’t really carry the books that I am currently reading and I would not be using it after a month because none of my current TBR are on there or the same availability as my library that I can use for free. Anyway, worries aside I gave it a try and here is my experience after using the service for one month.


-My Experience-

So, during this experiment of sorts I accessed both audiobook and ebooks. I enjoy both of these formats and they are great for traveling and being on the go. I am going to discuss my experience by talking about each format on their own.

First, let’s talk about the audiobooks. I first used Scribd mainly on my desktop computer I wanted to save the app and room on my phone for when I was traveling. Anyway, I really liked the interface for the audiobook on desktop. It was set up pretty cleanly and everything was clear without being walked through it, at least for me. Another major thing I was the look out for was the speed I would be able to access the audiobook at. I tend to listen to audiobooks at 2x or 3x speed, it depends on the narrator and pace of the reading to begin with. I also took advantage of the sleep timer a few times when I was listening at night incase I were to drift to bed.

The only thing I think that could make this interface better would be if there was a preview or label that popped up if you hovered over a control. I learned by playing along with a book I didn’t really care to much about keeping my place, but if I was in the middle of a book and hit the go back to start of chapter button when I really only wanted to go back 15 seconds or 30 seconds. Also, labeling how many seconds it jumps back or forward, it would be wonderful. So, I guess I would say there are two things that can be improved upon.

-The App-

On top of using the desktop interface, I also used the ISO app. I have to say, there were a few things that I liked and some things that I didn’t like.

I will start with the things I liked, first and foremost of which is that I can download an audiobook for on the go and not have to worry about data usage or being in a low service area interrupting my listening.  For me personally, it is a must if I am going to be listening to the book on go. Another notable thing I enjoy is the bookmark aspect, incase I lost my spot by hitting a button on accident. I am notorious for doing this, so whenever I pause or put an audiobook down, I always mark my spot.

When looking at the app as a whole instead of just at the listening screen, it looks like you have access to pretty much everything. You can look at recommended books, explore, and search for your next read. You can easily find your saved list with the bottom navigation and a nifty thing I noticed is that you can hit a button and only see the books on your saved list that you already downloaded to streamline listening.

With all things, there were some negatives with this app. The first and honestly the most annoying was the fact that it randomly paused multiple times. At first I thought it had to do with it being a new chapter and maybe it was a way to make sure the reader didn’t fall asleep or space out while listening. Sadly, this was not the case. It just stoped on me in the middle of  chapters. It was very annoying and I had to keep putting aside what I was doing to get my phone, open the app all the way and hit play again. This happened 3 times within the first chapter of American Gods… a book I had downloaded on my phones. So it was not due to lack of service or anything like that. The second thing that annoyed me was that on the app the max speed you can listen at is 2x speed… on the desktop you can listen at 3x speed, which is a speed I utilize often.  While I can make due with 2x speed, I am just confused as to why on one interface the max speed is different than the other.


-Items “Taken Out”-

Thunderhead ebook

Supermarket Audiobook

American Gods Audiobook

Endless Night Audiobook


-Final Thoughts-

At this point in time, I can easily see the value in a service like this. If someones library is not well stocked with the types of literature someones likes or if their library has a fee that is maybe more than this service it is a wonderful resource. Also, if owning audiobooks is not something you are interested in, this is a very good alternative to other popular audiobook sites, such as audible. The main thing you need to make sure of it that this service has the audiobooks you are interested in. Otherwise it is not worth it in the slightest.

While this service can make some improvements, some of which I stated in this post, for me at this point in time it is worth continuing to give it a go, but I still have questions/concerns. Mainly with what the true limits are on the accounts that some people run into. I have done some research and I have found that users can run into problems if they are signed into too many browsers or devices. I was kind of concerned to be signed into the app and desktop, but I have not run into any problems at this time.

I also don’t have a firm understanding of what saved is. Does that mean I “checked them out” or just for future reference? Does that mean I have access and it is reserved in a way? I have heard stories of other users saving ebooks or audiobooks, then go to listen to them and are told they are not available. So, it is kind of confusing.

Long post short, I am going to continue to give this service a try and see if it is a good alternative for me and my reading habits when supplementing my all of a sudden limited library digital resources.


Do you use Scribd? What do you love about it? Have you run into any problems using this service?

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Lets Talk · Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Let’s Talk | To Do Lists

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Hello everyone, happy to have you hear. Today I am going to be talking about to do lists. If you follow me on twitter, you know I love a good to do list. Nearly every weekend I post a twitter thread that looks something like this:

Todays To Do

  • laundry 🧺
  • start current read📚
  • organize my desk🗃

Throughout the day I make additions to the thread and update my progress as I move through the tasks. There are a few reasons as to why I share this on twitter. The first being it keeps me accountable. If I share it with others I will be more likely to follow through or do as much as I can. The second being I love being organized. If I have a clear path I tend to get through my tasks faster because I don’t forget and I don’t waste time time trying to remember.


A few weeks ago I was curious to see if anyone else enjoyed or regularly used to do lists or if I was just someone who is very overly organized. Twenty two people filled out my twitter poll and I got the following results.

I was happy to see that 64% of those who answered did work off of to do lists and another 22% use them from time to time. Now I wanted to take a look at why we use to do lists and maybe the type of to do list we follow.

I think one of the most popular “to do” lists we use in the book community it a TBR. I know, hear me out. TBR is a to be read list or pile we have either in our homes, in our notebooks, on our devices, or on our websites. But, it is a to do list. Is it really that different from a list of items we need to get done that we slowly work through, but everyday we could add a few more items. Essentially it just keeps going on forever. Sounds just like a TBR if you ask me.

Other to do lists revolve around things we need to do, these could be chores, tasks, or maybe even places we need to go. But, there are a bunch of different formats that can be used for this. You could work off of a daily, a weekly, seasonal or even a yearly list. I know I mainly used a daily, seasonal, or yearly list.

In the picture above you can see an old picture of my yearly goals or to do list dealing with my reading. I am slowly checking off the items I complete and I hope to get them all done before December 31st. On the other page I have the start of my Summer to do list, which I also work through slowly, but steadily.

I think the ones I reference and use the most is a daily to do list. I write these down either in my bullet journal on a particular day or start a thread on twitter such as the one below.


Now, I am really curious what type of to do list do you regularly use and what format you keep track of it. Do you use an app like trello or notes in your phone? Write it on a little pad or in a notebook? Do you find them useful or do you just do things as you realize they need to be done? Do you maybe keep them for work, home, or reading?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | My 5 Least Favorite Books I Have Read So Far This Year

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Welcome  to part two of my continuation of my mid-year check in! Earlier I did a whole post talking about my top 5 books I have read so far this  year. Now, it is time to talk about the bottom 5 books I have read this year. If you would like to see my top 5 you. can find that. here:Let’s Talk | Top 5 Books I Have Read So Far This Year. Anyway, I don’t want to do too much. of an introduction, but the books I mentioned just didn’t do. it. for me personally for one reason or another. That doesn’t mean they are a bad book or that you can’t like them. I just didn’t and thankfully most of these were library books.


-The Books-

1star

There is only a single “book” I gave so far this year and that would be a work by Shakespeare. Since I first read some of his works back in high school, I did not enjoy them in the slightest. I thought that this feeling was mainly due to teachers in the past making me read a bunch of them. Turns out, I still don’t like the plays all that much. Maybe it would be different if I saw one of them preformed, but I just thought it was WAY too dramatic.

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare


2stars

So far there is only one book I have given two stars and this would be The Woman in the Dark. I was just bored by it and I don’t really think it has anything to do with the book. I just read a lot of thrillers and this one never really surprised me or kept my interest. I think It was just predictable because I read so many of them. The writing itself was good and the author is talented, just the plot of me was meh.

The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage


3stars

The fact that I need to list any three star reads is great in my eyes. That means I have not read a lot of books that I didn’t enjoy. I am finally getting better at finding books I am more  likely to enjoy. But, while these books are not bad at all, they are at the lower end of my rating scale.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

While this was an enjoyable book, I was not wowed by it. It was just something I read and moved on. It was not notable for me personally.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Behind her eyes has a similar reason as The Woman in the Dark apart from the ending being surprising. I was just not totally feeling into the story as I read, but I liked it enough to finish it.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

 War and Peace was good, just I was not that drawn into the lives of the people I was reading about. These stories are very character driven in my opinion and if you are not feeling the characters you most likely wont enjoy it very much.


What is your least favorite read so far?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Top 5 Books I Have Read So Far This Year

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I was watching youtube, as one does and I recently subscribed to a booktuber called Katie Wismer. Her newest video, at the time of writing this, popped up into my feed and I loved this little addition to a midyear check in. Last month I went over all of my goal. updates and such in my post called Reading & Blog Goals | 2019 Mid-Year Check In, but after watching her video I thought it would be fun to share my favorite and least favorite reads so far this year. I am going to start with  a gush fest, I hope you don’t mind!


-The Books-

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

I mainly read this because I was hearing so many great things. Then after I picked it up my boyfriend happened to watch the first episode of the Prime series and said I would really liked it. So, I decided to read this and it has easily become a favorite for me. I read this in two days. If I didn’t have work it would have been a single day.

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

This was such a well planned out and very well organized thriller it was able to surprise me so many times along the way. The description I think sells it sort because the plot is so much more. I don’t want to say too much, but wow. I have to say I am really lucky to have been given an ARC for a book that ended up being 5 stars. It is wonderful when that happens.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

This was such a cute LGBTQ+ graphic novel. I actually read a free sample from the publisher on their website and I read the sample then walked into the library because I needed to know what happened next. The artwork and the words were both beautiful. Sadly not pictured because it was from the library.

Elevation by Stephen King

This is a wonderfully weird novella from King. It was not horror, but more science fiction and I loved that! Even with its short size I became connected to the characters and felt for them. I will admit I teared up at a particular point. This was a very unique story and I will reread it again.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Now, there is not much to say about this high fantasy novel/series that has yet to be said. I am started a reread of this series and I am enjoying the adventure so much. I can’t  wait to continue and maybe implement a hobbit style eating habit along the way. The world, the language, and the songs created by JRR Tolkien are all amazing and so detailed it feels so real.


What has been your favorite read of 2019 so far?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Why Reading Only Digital Books is Harder Than it Seems

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Hi everyone, it has been some time before I have done a full Let’s Talk post. I haven’t really had anything I wanted to talk about until today, I am writing this May 22nd. I was walking around the bookstore looking for a book to peak my interest. Which, if you read my post Decluttering | Switching to Ebooks, is most likely VERY confusing and pretty much hypocritical.

In this post I talked about why I wanted to switch to ebooks, how I didn’t have room on my shelves and how I wanted to carry all of my books around with me on my kindle. I made the very bold statement of switching to ebooks and committing myself to it. That was before really researching it and realizing how difficult it could really be.

Now, for some there are medical reasons why this is not viable, there is also the price of the device, and a few other issues with this. But, in this post I really want to focus on one aspect that I found difficult/annoying and derailed me from my goal.

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So, like I said earlier in this post I was walking around a bookstore looking for a book to inspire me to pick it up. I received some great news and I wanted to treat myself in celebration. Now, I didn’t have a ton of money in my budget so I was looking strictly in the discount section of the store. I ended up finding a book I was really interested in called The Secret History of Twin Peaks, it appears to be a thriller/mystery told through documents and interviews. It kind of has a House of Leaves interview type feel, thankfully the pages aren’t as all over the place.

As you can see from the picture I posted earlier today, The book was under $7, I actually for it for under $5 because I have a membership. Now, as you know I was making the switch to ebooks so when I find a book I am interesting I look up the ebook cost, this is where once again I ran into my problem/issue.

When I first looked it up on amazon, where I get my ebooks for my kindle, at first I was excited to see what the hardback copy was going for.

I knew right off the bat that I was getting a very good deal. I then clicked on the book and then switched to kindle edition and was not as happy. 

The ebook was more expensive than the hardback edition in person as well as online. It was a whole $10 more… How can I justify spending $10 more on a book? I can buy a lot of food and other necessities with this money. How is it that something that is digital is more than something made of actual matter? This is the issue I have found myself running into time and time again. The digital editions of books costing more than physical and not by a few dollars.

Now I know, I can spend $0 on a book by using the library via ebook or even physical. While, I am lucky my library generally has books I am looking for. But, recently they have broken from the company they were working with and the choices have gone down. So, where I was able to get ebooks and audiobooks for nearly all of the books I wanted that is sadly, no longer the case.

So, I am left with spending the least amount of money. That means I am picking up a physical book. Thus, my ebook commitment has kinda gone out the window. On top of that, I have the problem of not wanting to keep my credit card bill high and less and less stores are carrying gift cards for amazon. So, there is another issue that is kinda related.

So, thanks for listening to my rant/possible discussion about ebooks.

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Have you ever run into this issue?

Do you know any other sites I can buy ebooks for my kindle?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Try a Chapter May 2019

LetsTalk12:17

Hello and welcome to me realizing that my reading tastes have changes a ton in the last 6 months. I feel like every time I turn around my reading tastes have taken a 180 and I am DNFing books left and right. When this happens I sit in front of my shelves and do an unhaul. This round I was able to easily get rid of 10 books with no problem, but there were 4 books I was very much on the fence about keeping. Due to this I decided to do a try a chapter post. Without more of a delay, here are the books.

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His Perfect Wife by Natasha Bell, I feel like I would like this book, but I have not reached for it since receiving it from the publisher. I have not really been fully in the mood for a thriller as of late so that is why I want to read it before unhauling. I feel like I may really like her writing style.

The opening narration kinda had the vibe of someone who is watching from above and I can’t figure out if the wife was already dead or just being the narrator for kicks. Well, I read a little more and it turns out she is not dead and just said she just made those things up. I am kinda still on the fence about this book. I am think I am going to keep it for now and see if I am in the mood for it when I want to read a thriller.


Image result for An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat HowardAn Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard, this was a very last min. edition to my bookoutlet order in the new year. I really need to stay away from that site, I end up buying books that don’t really call to me in the first place. 

I have no idea why, but the opening sentence of the book made me laugh and I cannot take it seriously. I did not really enjoy the set up to the story so I am going to have to let this one go. 


Image result for The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

3.The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay, this was my BOTM pick for December. I mainly picked it because it was set in Southern India and travels around various counties within Asia not because of its synopsis. I want to read more books set around the world, but I want to like the idea of the plot as well. I am hoping that this will surprise me and I end up wanting to keep it

I already want to know more after reading the first chapter. I know about her parents kinda, I know that someone is dead and it might be connected to her. I want to know how her family dynamic is tied to the fate of a man from a small village on a mountain.  I am going to keep this book and read it!


Image result for Searching for the Amazons by John Man

Searching for the Amazons by John Man, I love learning about the amazons the only problem is I forgot this book was sitting on my shelf, which means I am not thinking about it in the slightest. Which, is a but concerning if you ask me. I am hoping that reading the first chapter will lead me to wanting to read it.

I did not enjoy the narrators voice, for some reason I was very bored by it. I don’t see myself picking it up again in the near future if ever so I am going to have to let this one go. 

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So I decided to unhaul 2 books, I am still iffy about 1, and I am really excited to read another. Talk about being all over the place! Anyway, thanks for reading and are there any books on this list you think I am wrong about? Should I give any a second chance with chapter 2?

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Lets Talk · Uncategorized

Lets Talk | Posting Update & Blog Changes

LetsTalk12:17

Hey everyone, this post is going to be a little different than my normal. In the next few months there are going to be quite a few changes in my life, hopefully all for the better. Since I will be busier because I am working towards something that is a huge goal of mine. I am going to be cutting back on my blogging from 3 times a week to 2. Maybe this will temporary or last forever, only time will tell. But, I wanted to just talk about it a bit and explain why there is a sudden change in my posting.

I have been blogging for some time and I have met some amazing people and I really love talking to everyone. I have found such awesome books since blogging and really opened my eyes to a lot. I don’t want to lose that connection and experience because I am working towards something else, but I need to be realistic.

Chances are this new project is going to take a ton of my time and I will be stressed out of my mind. Who knows if I will even have much time to read, I really hope I do. Anyway, when I decided a change needed to be made I posted a poll on my twitter and on my instagram to have your input.

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So, according to my twitter poll, the most popular choice was Sunday/Wednesday and the same went for my instagram poll as well. So over the next few weeks I will slowly start to make a change to this new posting schedule. Thanks for all the input who saw the polls and voted, it really helped.

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Thanks for reading! I hope in the next few months I will get to share really exciting news with all of you.

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Reusable Straws

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So for some time I really enjoyed drinking soda, coffee, tea and most of my drinks through straws, even when I was younger. I am not sure why, maybe because it bothers my teeth less or I am less likely to spill my drinks all over me.

Regardless, of my love of using straws I stopped using them for various reasons. The first being money and the second being waste. So I eventually decided I would get some reusable ones to carry around with me. I will say I did save up a bit and I have previously had a metal straw and promptly gave it to someone else because it has a weird metallic flavor to it. So, this time I ordered some glass straws from a company called Simply Straw. The reason I went with this company is because it is made in California, Women Owned, and they are able to be used with hot and cold beverages. In addition, I can hand wash and or throw it in the dishwasher. Also, the nice bonus of a lifetime guarantee.

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-My Experience-

I have been using glass straws for nearly 2 months at this point and I will be 100% honest. While I do love using them I found a few faults. While I was using my straws the biggest drawback is after using them. I often had no where to store the dirty straw because I did not want to restore it in the same container because I was worried about germs and contamination. So I often had to just throw it in my lunch bag and do a deep clean once I got home, but depending on what I drank it sometimes settled in the straw was REALLY hard to clean at times.

Due to that the 3 I had tended to all be in need of a wash at the same time so I could not use glass straws exclusively because 2 of my straws are really skinny the brush cleaner does not fit in there so I had to wash them in the dishwasher.

Moving forward I will continue to use these straws, but I need to find a better way to store and maybe find a good “dirty” pouch. I also feel like I will need to invest more in this, which I don’t really see myself being able to do currently. Maybe add a few here and there to make this really doable.

-Overall-

Likes

  • Less waste
  • Feeling fancy!
  • Reusable/Well lasting

Dislike

  • If you don’t have a sink around, you can’t clean it. I feel like my pouch was getting dirty.
  • Finding the right size is hard, I needed to buy multiple and will need more
  • Investment $$$

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What do you think about reusable straws? Do you use them? What other ways do you cut down on waste?

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Lets Talk

Lets Talk | Five Star Predictions

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So, for readers there is nothing better than a 5 start book. As I read more and more I have been able to determine if I will like a book, but I find it harder to predict a 5 star read. So, I wanted to flex that muscle a little and really take a hard look at my TBR and see if I can predict some 5 star reads.

When I rate a book 5 stars it means a few things. First, the plot and characters were really enjoyable. It was not completely predictable and flowed nicely. Characters were not annoying or if they character has a fault it is to display a particular lesson or commenting on something else through their writing. I have to find myself surprised, angry, happy, excited, elated in combination or separate. The characters need to be distinct. But, overall I need to enjoy the ride, then entire ride.

5stars

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My Predictions

The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Overstory

After reading this description I knew I needed to have this book. It seems like a mixture of magical realism and science? Also, kind of a sad future we may be heading for? It seems like a warning letter to what we as a planet to become and honestly, I just really love the idea of this book so much.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls

I picked this as a Book of the Month book late last year and I vividly remember it being the second description I read and knowing right away that I needed to have it. It tells a story of women throughout history who have done so much for the world, but have remained silent, it seems like a historical fiction of sorts.

Bringing Down the Colonel by Patricia Miller

Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the "Powerless" Woman Who Took on Washington

I got this book as a gift and I love it so much. I have heard whispers of this case, but I am very excited to learn more about it. Since it is was one of the first major cases of a women coming forward and saying she was assaulted by a man in power. It seems like it will be a very hard hitting factual book.

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

The Mars Room

I will be 100% honest here. I am basing this off of the cover. I know, don’t judge a book by the cover, but the vibe I am getting from the cover has me really excited. Also, to be fair I would not have bought this book if it was not part of my Reading Goals | Reading a Shortlist. But, I am very happy I did because the description is interesting as well.

The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)

I really loved the first book in this series, The Cruel Prince, and I have love quite a few of Holly Blacks novels in the past. So, I think it is safe to say that I will love this one as well.

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What was your last 5 star read? What do you think about my predictions?

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Decluttering

Decluttering | Switching to Ebooks

declutter

So, in the past I have written quite a bit on decluttering and finding balance in my life. You can find some of those posts here, decluttering. I have done many book unhauls and I have gone through quite a bit of my belongings. But, there is one thing I always have difficulty with keeping organized and a bay, my books.

While I know there is quite a bit of talk around books and Marie Kondo, much of it being misquotes and unfair towards her in my option.  Anyway, this is a method I have used to get my life organized and it has helped me quite a bit. Anyway, I digress. Books are still an area I have trouble with, an area I spend a ton of money on. I want to change this.

I currently have 3 bookshelves that are filled with books stuffed all over the place. I don’t feel joy when I look at it, in fact I feel as though I am doing the books a disservice. They look uncared for and unloved, which is far from the truth. Forty of these books are unread, the rest have been read and have found a place in my heart where I can’t currently part with them. Here is the problem, at this point all of the books I own I love and want to keep, but I have no room.

To rectify this I have decided to try and make the switch to ebooks. I already own a kindle, the most basic one, it would not cost me anymore money to make the switch. While I do use it from time to time, I do overall enjoy using it. It is light and I can carry it around with me without worrying about it becoming bent or ripped.

While I know this decision might be controversial to some, I too love reading a physical book. But, it is the best route that I can think of for my own personal journey. I feel like I am not giving my books justice and that just isn’t how I want to feel.

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What do you think about ebooks? Do you read off an ereader?

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