This weekend I passed 500 read books on Goodreads. I started using the site Dec 27th 2009 and added a bunch of read books in early 2010. Since then I have logged 295 reads, averaging about 46 a year.
My 500th book was Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana aka. “Bhante G”. I purchased this book five years ago, and read only a quarter of it before stopping. I wasn’t ready.
After reading about the life of the Buddha, listening to a couple of Jon Kabat-Zinn guided meditations, and prepping for my tour of Buddhist temples in Kyoto, I understood this book much better on the second attempt. I am glad I did. I will continue to explore how to integrate meditation in to my daily life. From the book:
Our mind is analogous to a cup of muddy water. The longer you keep a cup of muddy water still, the more the mud settles down and the water will be seen clearly.
I have tried to take that lesson and apply it to reading. Upon finishing a book, I usually let it settle in my brain for a few days, then look over the annotations I made, to get a good sense of it as a whole. Then I write a short review on Goodreads. When I read a related book, going back and looking at old reviews sparks a lot of interesting conceptual connections — insights I would have totally missed had I merely just picked up the next book. Books are part of a literary universe, you shouldn’t start tabula rasa every time you crack one open. Keeping notes helps you to navigate the connections. It is sort of like how a commonplace book works.
If you are looking for a similar experience, I recommend using Goodreads. If you become a member, connect with me.