how to be a book lover

Books are complicated. There is so many of them, and more are being drafted, written and published as you read this. They are the final product of years of thought and experiences, and I find them to be one of the most rewarding and satisfying things that you can do to nourish your mind and soul. Throughout my long journey with books, I have come to see them as my long-term companions. They are there when I feel lonely, when I need some words of wisdom, or when I just need a fantasy world to escape into. They are collectively my lifelong partner, and I think they should be yours, too.

Let them be the first and last thing you see each day. What I love most about books is that they allow you to focus on one thing, and one thing only, at a time. It slows time down to its real pace, and it sheds the distractions from your surroundings. It’s the most soothing way to wake yourself up, and the most calm way to let yourself drift to sleep. As you become more comfortable with their constant presence in your life, you’ll know which kinds of books get you up from bed, and which ones get your eyes fluttering shut.

Keep your options available. Reading is not about being exclusive and sticking to just one method of reading. Physical books, e-books, and audiobooks are the three common type of reading methods, and they can each help you gain extra reading time in different situations. Personally, I use my kindle voyage the most often, because it’s so lightweight, small, and has a pretty cover (hehe). Of course, I also love how I can easily read samples of books that I’m interested in, how I can buy and download books immediately, and search up unfamiliar words whilst reading. I don’t read physical books as much mainly due to convenience, but if I someday have the space, I would love to have my own library room where I can retrieve to at the end of the day and read with my cats on my lap. Last, but not least, audiobooks are the smartest way to non-read read. I listen to them when I’m exercising, commuting, or doing some task that takes up little of my mental attention. It’s like having a companion whispering words of wisdom in your ear.

I know there may be other reading options available, and I encourage you to explore them. One that I’ve seen roaming around is Blinkist, which lets you read summaries of books. If you’re a busy person that would like to read a book without actually having to read the whole book, I can see why this is appealing. But for me, it defeats the whole purpose of reading. Reading makes you slow down and focus on one task at a time. It’s about taking things one step a time. I remember the books that I’ve read better than the summaries of books I haven’t read, and if this means that I’ll read fewer books, then so be it. I would rather choose the few books I want to read, and absorb the things that I think are most important from them. I also simply enjoy taking the time to understand the story, the author’s voice, and all the small details that are obliterated in summaries. But then again, that is just the opinion of someone who hasn’t first-hand tried out Blinkist.

Love with fervor, but know that it’s okay to take a breather. There are always gonna be some books that you click with more, some that you have to take it slow with, and others that annoy you to the core of your soul. All books are different, so it’s okay if it doesn’t work out with some of them. It’s also okay to take a break from all books for a while, and then slowly get back to the groove of it. It’s important to keep reminding yourself that reading is like relationships: they are grounded on the basis of love, but you have to put in the work. But at the end of the day, it is your happiness that counts the most. Love can’t work if you’re not happy or compassionate with yourself first. Then you can pure your heart and soul into the relationship and bury your face with books.

Make your relationship public. Goodreads is like the social media godsend for book lovers. You get to create your own virtual library, categorize your books based on your interests, make and read reviews of books that you like, and share it with lots of people. One of my favorite features is the yearly reading challenge: you basically set yourself the challenge of reading a certain number of books this year, and then it will tell you whether you are behind, on track, or ahead of your reading challenge. It’s an awesome way of keeping track of your goals. Goodreads also allows you to keep track of the books you’re reading. I find this feature the most helpful as I’m usually reading several books at once, and sometimes it’s easy to lose track of a book that you started months ago and have yet to finish. For me, Goodreads is my long-term memory jar for books.

Treasure your loved ones, but don’t be afraid to get inspiration from others. Browsing books in a bookstore is like walking into a roomful of doors, waiting patiently to be opened. Many, if not most, books are open for you to flip through the pages, which allows you to get a pretty good sense of the whole book without having to buy it. Some bookstores have chairs where you can sit for a while, especially if you’re considering getting the book. Personally, I tend to add books that catch my eye to my online library – aka my Goodreads want-to-read list. This will allow me to go back to the list when I’m looking for new books to read, and buy it on my kindle.

Treat them with kindness and appreciation. I love reading on my kindle. It’s the last thing I do when I go to bed, and it’s the first thing I see when I wake up. It’s never ‘put away’, because I grab it numerous times throughout the day. I have a white marble case on my kindle, and in the two years that I’ve had it, I haven’t felt the need to change a thing about it. It’s perfect the way it is. I make sure that they’re never out of battery, I clean the screen when it gets a little dusty, and I wipe its surfaces every once in a while.

Make them your lifelong companions. Be Rory Gilmore and carry them with you wherever you go. I carry my kindle whenever I’m going somewhere that I feel will give me some time to delve into another world. When you have it with you, it will take away the temptation to mindlessly browse your phone and allow you to progress at least a few pages of your book. Honestly though, I’m not a huge fan of this. I like having a good amount of interrupted time to read, and I most likely won’t pick up my kindle to read in spurts of a few minutes, as it could prevent me from getting the gist of the chapter I’m reading. However, this idea aligns with my belief of making books as accessible as possible. You will be more willing to read if the option is more readily available to you, if you are willing to include it as part of your life.


kindle voyage vs. fire

I recently got a new baby, the Kindle Voyage, after using my Kindle Fire for 5-6 years. As a bookworm, I love the convenience of using a Kindle. Not having to order books from Amazon and wait longingly for them to arrive from abroad, being able to carry a tablet-like thing with me at all times without anyone knowing what I was reading, and the fact that it’s always cheaper than buying a physical book completely bought me over. However, I do still own a collection of physical books so I can have the best of both worlds. If you’re a user of both forms of reading, you’ll see that they each have their own pros and cons.

In this post, I want to write a first-impressions review on the Kindle Voyage, in comparison to the Kindle Fire. Hope you find it useful!

kindle voyage PROS

  • SCREEN: Unlike the screens that we see on our laptops and tablets, this is an actual e-reader with an E ink screen (I think), which is less damaging to the eyes. This also means that the screen doesn’t give off a reflection when reading outside. This is a major factor for me, as I tend to read at night before bed, and staring at a LCD screen was neither good for my eyes nor for my sleep cycle.
  • SIZE & WEIGHT: It’s noticeably smaller and lighter than a Kindle Fire (it weighs just a bit more than the iPhone 6), which makes it so much easier to carry around and being Rory Gilmore everywhere.
  • FASHION: I definitely think the Voyage makes a better accessory than the Fire, but I may be biased. I got the marble case when I ordered the Voyage, and I love how it makes the e-book so much more stylish. It’s also very lightweight to carry around on your hand, in comparison to the Fire, which is heavier and more burdensome to do so.
  • PAGE TURNER: This one’s a pro and a con. You have PagePress pressure-sensitive sensor on both sides of the Kindle (outside the screen), which is convenient if you want to turn pages back and forth with the hand that you’re reading with. However, it’s not as pressure-sensitive as it could be – I often have to press a few times before I ‘hit’ the sensor. Most of the time, I just on the screen to turn a page, and this never fails me.
  • GOODREADS: I love that the Voyage can be connected to your Goodreads account, and automatically updates on the books that you want to read, are currently reading, and have read.

There are not that many benefits to getting a Voyage over a Fire, but the fact that the screen assimilates that of a book (instead of a laptop screen) really convinced me. There are probably more cons to buying a Voyage over a Fire – which you can read below – but, I am a heavy reader, so for me personally, the choice was clear.

kindle voyage CONS

  • PRICE: The Voyage is by no means a cheap item. And the starting price doesn’t include ‘additional costs’ that might add to the experience of the Kindle. Nevertheless, I decided to go ahead and buy it because I’ve used the Fire very regularly for the last several years, and getting a Voyage is a really good investment for me. However, the Fires are now much more cheaper than it was before.
  • COLOR: As you can see below,  everything on the screen is black and white. After having gotten used to the colored screen of the Fire, I have to admit that it took me a while get used to the b&w feel of the Voyage. However, it really isn’t that big of a deal, as most of the books I read rarely have colored illustrations inside the book.
  • (FEW) OTHER USAGES: The Voyage is strictly to read books. This means that, unlike the Fire, you can’t listen to music or play games like on the Fire. Personally I don’t mind at all, as I barely used the Kindle Fire for anything other than books. Though they are not physically books, I treat them just the same.
  • ADS: Ugh, this one is annoying. Book promotions/ads completely cover the lock screen (each time, it’s usually a new book being featured), and it also appears at the bottom of the Homepage. It’s very annoying, and you CAN get rid of them but with an extra cost. I chose not to pay the extra cost, which I’m okay with, but it’ just a detail that still annoys me a little.
  • TECH: The fact that the screen is different to that of a Fire means that the ‘feel’ of it is different as well. The touch is not as immediately responsive as the screens that we’re familiar with, but it’s quite good nevertheless.

Overall, the only con that really bothers me are the ads. The others I can bear, because I pretty much treat the Voyage as if it were a physical book. Ultimately, it really comes down to what you want from the Kindle, and choosing one over the other is just about what you prioritize more.


read the world | reading challenge

A few days ago, I listened to a TED talk about a woman who spent an entire year searching, seeking and reading 196 books from all 196 countries in the world. Her name is Ann Morgan, and she didn’t just read the world. She traveled across countries within her mind, got a glimpse of every culture and custom she came across with. She traveled the world through the eyes of people of different ages, nationalities, customs, and experiences. She did it with the help of many people who supported her along the way, but made the decision and took the steps herself. I want to take on this challenge as well.

I want to live inside the minds of those who have different values to me, who see the world in a completely different way than I do. As a bibliophile, I know how books have and can change a person. Though I’ve read books of different types and genres, but I have also enclosed myself within the Western-based literature. That will change now. As a wanderluster, my traveling experiences have always been intrinsically meaningful and unforgettable in their own unique ways.

By combining these two personal interests together, I shall travel the world.

How many books from how many countries have you read so far? How much do you really know about the world that you live in? Can you really call yourself a true bibliophile if you haven’t even books from most countries?

These were a few of the questions that I asked myself after listening to the TED talk. No matter how much I read and how many genres I touch, I’ll still be living in my happy little bubble if I don’t try to truly step out of my comfort zone. Read books of cultures that completely baffle me, written by authors I’ve never bothered to learn about before. It took Ann Morgan 1 year to complete the challenge, but it will take me at least a few years to choose, get hold of, and read all 196 books. And that’s alright, because the purpose is to achieve this challenge regardless of how long it takes me.

I have made a page to record my progress on this challenge – which I will start by May 2017.