The refrain “new year, new you” is a popular one around the first of the year, exhorting you to fix bad habits, set new resolutions, and generally get your life in order. Maybe it’s time for a change; maybe it’s time to read some books that help you focus on the joy and purpose of doing less. (Sure, this anti-resolution is still a resolution, but I like that it’s less focused on demonstrable achievement). Here are a few books to get you started.
How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell
Called “a field guide to doing nothing (at least as capitalism defines it)” by her publisher, Odell starts by looking at how pervasive technology leads to 24/7 availability, which feeds into an expectation of constant productivity. How do you step back, divert your attention, and reclaim your right to do nothing? Odell has some ideas, as well as examples of how she has done it in her life.
The Art of the Wasted Day by Patricia Hampl
In this reflection on leisure, and more specifically on daydreaming, Hampl examines the ways in which quiet reflection feed the soul. Behind her own life of wandering and wondering, Hampl visits the homes of great thinkers of the past (Witman, Montaigne, Gregor Mendel) to reflect on how they wrote about and made use of often-solitary reflection.
Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte
In her examination of downtime, Schulte focuses specifically on how, or indeed if, parents can find leisure time in a society organized as the United States currently is. She creates a map of stresses that have demolished leisure, and then seeks answers by looking at the way other cultures organize work and home life.
More interested in classic New Year’s goals? Arriving soon on your branch’s Peak Picks display are books to help: Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg; and Radical Compassion by Tara Branch. Or check out our resolution coverage from previous years:
~ posted by Andrea G.