I’ve found it very difficult to stick to a regular schedule for #100DaysToOffload for various reasons. Chief among them is simply that I don’t have enough time with everything else I have going on; what I want to write and the ideas I’ve had take longer to get on paper (or screen) than I’m able to dedicate at the moment.1 However, I love the intent behind it and want to continue in a somewhat less involved manner. Enter #100DaysToRead.
Quotes are used because they’re not solid rules; it can be hard to learn something significant from fiction, you might miss a day here and there, what you learned could be a bit personal and not really suitable for social media, any number of things might result in “breaking” one or all of them. Just do your best. 🙂
Read for an hour a day¶
I recommend using some kind of timer or stopwatch to track how long you’ve been reading. A stopwatch would be best as it allows you to get sucked in without ringing and making you feel as if you need to stop; the pull of real life is great and audible reminders only serve to exacerbate the urgency of rejoining the rest of the world. Part of the idea behind this is not only to learn something but to enjoy it and that’s difficult when you’re anxiously waiting for a timer to ding so you can get back to watching a show. I spent a lot of time with books when I was younger then fell completely out of the practise once I got more involved with school and want to make it a habit once more.
The main goal of this challenge is to learn things and the effects of this rule are twofold; you’ll certainly be learning a lot but it will also provide material to write about in the future.2 Take notes in whatever manner you prefer, from writing in the margins3 to writing on the wall, though the latter might not be the greatest idea. I personally plan to put my notes in a Zettelkasten created with vimwiki along with the rest of my notes.4 I will first write down whatever thoughts I have in my pocket notebook (these will likely just be a short summary with the page/paragraph as reference5) then, directly after I’ve finished the session or later that day—the same day!—I’ll go through the notes and expand them a bit. I want the full thought stored in my Zettelkasten for use in the future; whenever I read another book and have a related thought, I’ll return to this note and add links between them.
Post a short summary¶
Whatever you’ve learned that day, post a condensed version along with the book/page/paragraph on social media using the #100DaysToRead tag! Expanding a short summary then condensing it again with different wording helps to ensure you understand the material and will aid in recollection. Posting about it will give others the same information and might even pique their interest about what you’re reading.
Inspiration for this comes partly from episode 112 of The Social-Engineer Podcast, partly from me wanting to learn more, and partly from me wanting more material to write about. There is so much knowledge in books but it takes a great deal of discipline to sit down every day and read for an hour when there are upgrades to perform, emails waiting for replies, games to play, shows to watch, and so much else. Another small aspect of this is partly to alleviate those concerns and stresses; it’s a time to sit down, lose yourself in a book, and forget about the outside world.
What I’m starting with¶
Fittingly, I plan to begin with How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler. It provides an in-depth discussion on reading critically and learning as much as possible from a given book. Adler doesn’t push a “one-strategy-fits-all” method either. He goes through a variety of approaches for different genres and encourages a deep level of thinking for all, fiction included. I’m looking forward to starting it tomorrow!
With finding links, proofreading, revising, expanding, and shortening various sections, this short post took me over two hours to write. ↩︎
Maybe a #100DaysToOffload Take 2! ↩︎
I physically can’t bring myself to do this but some people love marginalia and actively seek books with them. However, it’s a very effective technique and might be fun to follow your thought trail when re-reading a book. ↩︎
I am currently evaluating Anytype as a tool for creating and maintaining a Zettelkasten as well as storing other types on information. At the moment, I can only use it on Windows so it’s inaccessible when I really need it but the developers say a Linux build will be ready soon™ ↩︎
I plan to format these like
p20 ¶2. The second symbol is a pilcrow or, more commonly, a paragraph mark. Usage of that and the section mark (§) are detailed in Matthew Butterick’s Practical Typography. ↩︎