The Latch

Hobbies Over Hustle: I’m Using Reading As An Escape Right Now

Welcome to the second instalment of our new editorial content series, #HobbiesOverHustle, where we’re encouraging you to pick up or enjoy a hobby just for fun. 

As a kid, my list of hobbies was long and everchanging, with activities like netball, jewellery making, dancing and scrapbooking taking up my time away from school.

These days, hobbies for adults are often referred to as side hustles. And, while I applaud those who have turned their side hustles into money-making ventures, for now, I’m just trying to find joy in activities that aren’t helping me work towards something bigger.

So, I’m diving into the only real hobby that has stuck with me since childhood: reading.

Social media has turned reading into a competitive sport, with individuals posting photos of their book stacks, which were consumed in mere days. I too have fallen into this trap and put pressure on myself to read a certain number of books per month.

But now, I’m just allowing myself to pick up a book when I feel like it (and take a break from my phone and Netflix, which have gotten way too much attention over the last few weeks). And, given the extra time I’ve had at home recently, it’s become my main pastime.

When it comes to picking books, I’m all about recommendations. I understand that everyone has different tastes in book genres, but there are a few journalists and authors who I follow on Instagram that always provide the goods.

These include:

✰ Dolly Alderton & Pandora Sykes: Alderton and Skyes are English journalists and published authors. They’re also voracious readers and every recommendation I’ve ever taken from both of them (via their podcast or individual Instagram pages), I’ve enjoyed. Alderton’s book Everything I Know About Love is also wonderful.

✰ Bella Mackie: English journalist and author, Bella Mackie, is also another great person to follow on Instagram (sensing a theme yet?) as shares books and interesting long-form articles she’s read. Her own book, Jog On, details how running saved her life and is a great read, especially for those who suffer from anxiety.

✰ Zoë Foster Blake: Aussie author, ex-beauty journalist and founder of Go-To Skincare, Zoë Foster Blake, regularly posts book recommendations to her Instagram stories, so give her BOOKS! highlight a watch.

Swapping books with friends is another one of my favourite ways to broaden my reading horizons. While many of the books I swap with my close friends are ones I’m already keen to read, it’s also a great opportunity to be exposed to authors or books I might not have discovered on my own.

Otherwise, visiting a local bookshop in your area is another great avenue for finding new materials — while also supporting a small business!

My fave local store is Better Read Than Dead in Newtown as the team always provide great recommendations in-store and via Instagram. And, given the current circumstances, Better Read Than Dead is also offering book recommendations over the phone and delivering books on bike to nearby suburbs. You can also order via their website, with free shipping Australia wide.

As for tips on increasing the amount you read, all I can say is that reading a little bit every day is honestly the way to go. Boring, but it works.

Even if you just pick up your book for 10 minutes before bed, creating the habit means you’ll do it again and again.

For those have made it this far through my thesis on reading, I’ll leave you with a few book recommendations. Remember, you might not love what I love but it’s just for inspiration.

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton: I finished reading this a few weeks ago and loved it. I’m still thinking about the main characters. It’s that good.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara: This is my favourite book of all time. It’s harrowing — definitely not a light read! — but worth it, in my opinion.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: This book has been recommended by basically everyone I follow on Instagram and it’s what I’m currently reading. It’s worth the hype.

Happy reading, friends!

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