Less Books, More Reading

A few days ago I mentioned I am back in minimalist mode. I want to reduce the amount of possessions, or stuff that I do not need and appreciate what I have. I want to make everything I have useful and appreciate it. I’ve had a lot of success, donating clothes, shoes and trading in physical media like record albums, movie discs and yes, books. I know, I know. Getting rid of books is tantamount to blasphemy to some.

I enjoy reading, always have. If I am not reading a book, then I am reading content online or e-books. But I am drawn to books because of the tactile nature. The feel, the smell and the looks of them. Drop me off at a library or bookstore and pick me hours later.

Reading books transports me to the places I want to go and explore, it stimulates my mind, they relax me right before I go to sleep and they have been comforting while in my home office when I take a break, grab something from the bookshelf, sit in the comfy chair and relax.

I’m learning to let go of physical books for long periods of time. I don’t need an anti-library. But the process of removing them was easier than I hoped. I sorted what I wanted and parted with those I don’t. During a move across country, I would squeeze my vast library into about 25 totes that were a burden to carry and transport. I am down to sixteen physical books after ruthlessly culling the herd.

The winter season is almost here and I anticipate a lot of free time will be spent reading. So my thinking is to plan what to read specifically for the next few months.

A minimalist’s approach to reading can be just as rewarding as having your own physical library but without all the occupied space.

Screenshot from Libby, the public library app

Here’s what I plan to do:

  • Purge those books I haven’t gotten around to reading or are a one-time use.
  • Borrow from the library, either physical or digital books.
  • Seek and find books from the Little Free Library systems
  • Sell, trade or give away the rest of the books I no longer need.
  • Get comfortable reading from the iPad.
  • Organize my digital library using my BookTrack software much like a librarian, or curator would. I can enjoy thousands of books on one space-saving, portable device wherever I go.
  • I will no longer purchase digital books. After closing my Amazon and Google accounts a few years ago, I lost all ability to read them because I purchased a license and not a product.
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Screenshot of one of my bookshelves in BookTrack

Early this year I covered RSS and Read-It-Later apps in the past but I’ll be relying on these tools even more now.

I’ve mentioned books in this post but the same can be applied to all physical media like record albums, DVDs, etc. Streaming or borrowing digital media on multiple devices is quite liberating and minimal.

mnmlist

I caught the minimalism bug again. I recently decided to create a list of all the things that no longer served their purpose in an attempt to declutter and called it the mnmlist. Get it?

I emptied my bookcase of everything except sixteen books. Seven are about photography. The rest were donated to a local book store. From now until I change my mind again, I’ll be borrowing e-books from the library or online resources to view on the iPad. Done.

Next up, record albums. Earlier this year I caught the nostalgia bug and purchased a few recent releases and the rest were acquired at my neighborhood record store. The majority of those records were from mystery packs. Pick a genre of music and get 20 albums for $10. Only a few of those survived after I traded them in yesterday for store credit. That didn’t last long and I brought home a Jimi Hendrix, and Rolling Stones album for a grand total of $2.50. Most of my music is streamed through Apple Music from now until I change my mind again. Done.

Working from home during the pandemic made me realize how many dress shirts and slacks I have in my closet that I am not wearing. Throw in some old shoes, and they will all be donated very soon.

Up next I will be tackling my digital archives and reorganizing them in a way that makes it easier for me to find and access along complete with physical and cloud backups. I’ll probably log that in a future post.

The Library

After scanning the website and cleaning up some design code, I came across the Library page. It has been neglected and needed a good dusting off. So of course I neglected it again but that will change soon as I also rediscovered an e-book resource called Standard E-Books and need to make room for new additions.

I just downloaded and installed more copies of public domain classics in beautiful modern formats. So this is just in time for cooler weather and curling up with a good, uh, iPad.

Screenshot from my Apple Books library. Page 3 out of 10 (not shown)

Max

I know, I know. I recently mentioned that I was content with the iPhone 12 but you know what? Those camera upgrades on the 13 Pro Max were just too tempting.

I looked at upgrading the iPhone 12 to the as-yet-to-be-released 13 next week. You know what? I am content. My current is that good. It’ll be good for at least 3-4 more years.

Me, in my post about Contentment

Smokin’

I bought my first tobacco pipe almost two years ago but noticed shortly after that the varnish was getting worn. I finally decided to strip, sand, shape, stain, coat and polish and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

Apple iPhone 4s On Display

The 4S from Grid is a piece of artwork made up of the individual parts of an old iPhone 4S put on display. Around forty pieces, the components are individually placed and glued on a white background, complete with measurements and labels so you know exactly what the components are.

Great packaging

The hard part will be deciding on where to put this gorgeous display of Apple tech.

Contentment

Satisfaction and technology for me is rare. When it comes to gadgets, I long to have the latest and greatest, especially with a personal computer, or camera. For far too long though, I’ve had to make do with the minimum, the cheapest, the hodge-lodge collection of gadgets. These were frustrating to me as I had to discover workarounds to overcome my lofty expectations.

Recently, I’ve decided to purchase top shelf devices that would meet my performance, productivity and aesthetic needs. These devices need to be designed to look great, have modern tech specs, last a long time and create joy (thanks Marie Kondo.)

Over the past year I sold off my old gear and slowly upgraded to what I wanted. A refurbished MacBook Air from 2015 for a 2021 MacBook Pro. An iPhone 8 to the new iPhone 12 Pro. Apple this and that, Nikon to Sony camera etc etc. All upgraded and designed to last. All bought and paid for upfront.

I looked at upgrading the iPhone 12 to the as-yet-to-be-released 13 next week. You know what? I am content. My current is that good. It’ll be good for at least 3-4 more years.

I am finally happy where I am and don’t feel the need to move to something else anytime soon.

It is liberating not to have to think about my computer setup anymore and just use my computer setup. Things can always be better, and I can guarantee new things will be coming that will make all of my devices feel obsolete.

But that doesn’t mean that they are no longer useful or can no longer make me happy as they have always done. The most significant benefit of being content with my computer is that most times, I don’t think about it anymore; I just use it. Worrying or contemplating what else I could get that is better no longer crosses my mind.

But contentment is something I will continue to strive for. As for now though, I am there. Finally.

Cult Of Mac

Macbook M1 Pro, iPad Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, Watch series 6

These devices are used daily. Most of my work comes from these beautifully designed tools. It’s fair to say that after years of frustration with Windows and Android, I am drinking the Apple-flavored kool-aid.