Trigger Warnings and Sometimes We Just Need to Snort-Laugh in Public

Lately I’ve been feeling like I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump. Looking at my Goodreads Challenge for 2016 (89 out of 100 so far. Not bad muthafu*&ers!), you would think this sentiment is utter bullshite, but I just feel a little bit over it all.

It might be that end of year feeling. It might be my regret at not taking some annual leave during this odd “After-Christmas-Before-New Year” period. Who knows?

I didn’t realise I felt this way until a colleague at work asked me during some down time before Christmas, “So what types of books do you like” and I literally said “Um… all of them?” in my annoying, shaky, high-pitched liar voice.

Even I wasn’t convinced.

Because the honest to Neil Gaiman truth is, I really don’t love any books out there at the moment. But I’m okay with that. Really, I am.

I’ve been going through a lot of random choices lately. In the past I have tried to read a lot more classics and literary fiction, however 2016 has seen my tastes venturing towards a hell of a lot more self-help books (hello, quarter-life crisis!) and what is usually termed “women’s fiction” (by the way, why the hell is that genre called that? These books can be read by men and women. They just happen to have female protagonists. Ugh!).

I’m a big believer in the right books finding you at the right time. After all, there’s no “right” way to approach reading.

So 2016 was a bit of a year about self-discovery and I read a few heavy books. A Little Life was probably the best book of them all. In saying that, I tend to not recommend this one when people ask me for recs, because I don’t want to be responsible for someone’s nervous breakdown triggered by the amount of self-harm and abuse portrayed in that novel. I’m considerate about my fellow man, and all that jazz.

On the other hand (and on a bit of a tangent) how do you feel about trigger warnings for books? Personally, as a psych undergrad, I think it’s responsible but as a reader I don’t think it has a place in art. In my humblest opinion, you’re meant to be open to feeling all of the emotions as part of the experience/consumption of the piece.

ANYWAYS….

After all of the heaviness, I thought I would end the year off with some light-er reading. Preferably something funny, set in England. I am an anglophile, afterall.

So I found out that Kindle Unlimited is now a thing on Amazon Australia and a couple of novels by Nick Spalding were in the Top 20 and recommended to me.

Usually, if I’m in a reading slump, picking something from the “recommended for you” list is not the best thing to do. I’m only going to end up with the same crap I’m trying to avoid, right?

Wrong. Thankfully, oh so wrong.

I read Nick Spalding’s novels Bricking It, Mad Love and Fat Chance (in that order) within the same week. They were such a hoot, I actually snort laughed on the train going into work. His novels gave me a much needed belly-laugh break from the boring books I’ve been borrowing, DNF-ing and returning to the library.

That last sentence was for the kids with alliteration fetishes.

Spalding’s books reminded me that there really is something for everyone and sometimes they are right under your nose. Or perfectly chosen for you by the Amazon recommendations algorithm.

So a few questions for you, my Dear Reader. What’s the funniest book you’ve ever read? Is there something you do in particular to pull yourself out of a reading slump? Have you found some great books from the “Recommended for you” sections in the possibly many book websites you peruse?

Trigger Warning: All caps incoming…

AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TRIGGER WARNINGS IN BOOKS/ART?

Would love to hear your thoughts, so grab a cuppa and let’s have a chat!

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Review: “Attack Your Day! Before It Attacks You” by Mark Woods

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From Amazon:

Smarter time management for a whole new world: faster, more flexible, and easier! Mark Woods’ activity-based Attack Your Day system has helped thousands of individuals supercharge their productivity – in work and business, in school, and throughout their personal lives. Now, it’s your turn! Attack Your Day‘s five crucial “activity management” skills and 101 productivity strategies can help you achieve unprecedented levels of effectiveness, as you move relentlessly towards achieving your most important goals in life. You’ll learn how to dramatically improve the way you choose and prioritize your activities… organize your day so it’s inherently more productive… make sure the most important tasks get done… overcome procrastination once and for all… know how and when to “turn on a dime” in response to events, without sacrificing focus or efficiency… learn how and when to say NO to interruptions. You’re always doing “something”: make sure you’re doing the right things at the right times the right way, and you can transform your life!

My Amazon account tells me that I “bought” this book for my Kindle on 9th July 2013. That’s a while ago now and the main things I remember when I downloaded this book for my Kindle:

  1. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t pay anything for this book because at the time it was free for a promotion
  2. I was completing my final year of University and putting the final touches on my thesis, as well as working in a part-time job in retail.

More than 2 years later and I found that I still had a need for this handy little book. Working full-time and not prioritising my hobbies or health, for that matter, I needed to read this book for some tips. And it sure is full of a lot of them. About 100 of them, give or take a few.

I liked that the book wasn’t too long – I don’t necessarily want to spend a lengthy amount of time on learning how to save time, I think that defeats the purpose. Even though it was short, I took a couple of things away from the book.

  • I know when to say “no” now and not feel guilty about it if it means finishing what I need to get done.
  • I no longer call my “to-do list” exactly that… it’s now a “results” list and outlines what I want to achieve by the end of the day, week, month etc. Yes, it may not sound like it is a big thing but every little thing adds up and what works for some may not work for others.

What I found really compounded the take home messages from this book was the MOOC on Time Management I enrolled in straight afterwards on Coursera. I’ve really seen a difference in my approach to work and my work/life balance which ultimately gives me more time to unwind and relax with a book at the end of my day. No complaints here at all!

I would recommend this book (and even the MOOC on Coursera) only to those struggling with their time management and finding that healthy work/life balance. If you aren’t having issues with either of these things, your time would be better spent doing something else.