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Didem Gurdur Broo

If you remember from my earlier posts, I promised myself to read 1 book per week during 2019. I am happy that I achieved that goal and even went a bit further. I have read five books per month in average during this year. In total, 20 days 3 hours and 16 minutes of 2019 is divided between 60 books. It was a challenge, surely, but I benefited by this decision in many ways.

A year ago when I decided to dedicate a few hours every day for reading books – not news, scientific or popular science articles but books – I was reacting to something that I did not like. Simply, I was not reading. In 2018 I guess I read only 10 books. In contrast, I was known to be a good reader and read a lot of books when I was younger. Then, year by year, I lost that. Maybe it was due to the diverse interests that I acquired while getting older. I had to divide my time into many things that I enjoyed to do and there was not enough time for books anymore. In addition, I was already reading a lot during work, so I did not feel like I should devote time for books. It was time to change this, I first tried to find out different techniques to read more, then I changed my daily schedule a little bit. Now I walk more, read books in diffirent forms and feel really uneasy if I don’t have my book time every day.

I always loved jellyfish but only after reading a book about jellyfishes I have learned that they are the oldest animal living and the only one that can reverse the growing up process. A jellyfish start their life as a polyp and in some conditions after living as jellifish, can go back to be a polyp! I was amazed by artificial intelligence, I do research in data science. But only after reading books, I understood the extent, the history and the limitations of data better. I heard about Barbara Burks in a book this year. I knew nothing about her, nothing! A woman who was ahead of her time, who was not taken seriously, who was not given a chance in academia, who has been lost so soon and known so little. I learned a lot about philosophy and I felt ashamed that I didn’t know more about Nietzsche, Hume, Marx, Socrates, Pluto or Kant. I had an interest in Japanese culture and Japan but only now I know the history, art, economy and gardening in Japan – what makes Japan, Japan. And the theories of ethics, from history to philosophy to the future and robots! Einstein was right when he said

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.

I am telling you, I literally felt that my brain was stimulated to think actively, focus on a topic, connect the dots. It was, simply, a nourishing experience for my brain. I mean, it is not so easy anymore to feel like that, many things in our lives are so fast, so basic, so much repetation. And it is fine to have them also. You know, I am the last person to say that I do not use or like social media, but I am really not interested in my Facebook feed at all, only follow limited Instagram profiles, and check my LinkedIn periodically. I read articles, posts, popular science and scientific journals as I was doing before. I even had time to watch all of my TV and documentary series 😉 Still, I prioritize my books. If the book did not finish until Sunday then that Sunday is the book day.

So what is next? I love visiting libraries and bookstores. Cambridge is a wonderful place for book lovers. In 2020, I will try to visit the libraries of the university, colleges, and city. Only the University of Cambridge has over 100 libraries! I want to spare time to sit and read books in these hundreds of years old libraries. I do not think that in 2020, I will count hours and pages as I did in 2019. (If you know me a bit, you would know that I am trying. Come on! a little appreciation, please). Maybe I read a little less than sixty but I cannot imagine a life without reading a book for at least a few hours every day.

Before listing all the books that I have read in 2019, I strongly suggest everyone to take a similar challenge. It does not need to be a book per week, you can start with a book per month. If you feel that you should read more, I assure you, you will read more in 2020. I know at least two of my friends are inspired by this challenge and started to do it, why wouldn’t you?

Here is the list for 2019: