Top 4 Ways to Read Books on a Budget

It’s hard to believe it’s almost March.

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and even though most things have been closed this year, time really has flow. It just goes to show that you can have fun, even when life is stripped down to the essentials.

In light of the fact that most things have been closed/we’ve not been allowed to mix much, I’ve definitely continued with reading as a fulltime habit.

However, given the fact that I seem to be flying through books a lot recently, I’ve had to find ways to do it on a budget (I can no longer justify spending €5 – €10 on a book since I am currently going through around 3 – 5 books per month.)

But, as you will see below there are PLENTY of ways around this:

1. Charity Shop Finds

I got this tip from my friend and I’m embarrassed to say it never even crossed my mind before she said anything, but I’m so glad she did as you can get some absolute bargains – and great reads – from charity shops.

I recently found The Power of Now for €1.00 in my local charity shop – it’s currently €10.49 on Amazon! I often take a trip to my local charity shop to stock up on books, and what’s great about it is that there’s always so much variety as people often drop off the books they no longer want lying around at home – plus buy buying from them, you are donating to a good cause!

2. Amazon Offers

Another strategy I deploy to read books on a budget is to search for the latest offers on Amazon (for Kindle books).

If you’re a fan of reading on Kindle, then I definitely recommend this.

What’s good about Kindle is if you liked the book but don’t plan on reading it again, you simply buy a digital copy, read it and don’t have to worry about having wasted paper by buying a physical copy.

Then, if the opposite happens and you liked it a lot, you can justify buying a physical copy.

This has happened to me a number of times, especially with The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins and Wabi Sabi by Beth Kempton, which are never far from sight and great to just pick up and flick through whenever I get the opportunity.

3. Sort by Price on Offer

You’ll be surprised what a bit of Amazon digging can lead to!

I often sort my search by price on Amazon, which leads to a tonne of free (or incredibly cheap) books, including fiction, non fiction, kids books, cookery books and more!

Simply click on Kindle Books on Amazon, then sort your search by price (low to high) for a wealth of free books.

I started off the New Year reading free books but sometimes the genres are a bit fluffy (there are also loads of free crime/detective books if that’s your thing).

Next, I moved on to £1.00 books and suddenly the quality – and variety – of books increased massively. That said, I’ve found some great classics for free, including The Jungle Book, Robinson Crusoe, Pride and Prejudice and much more!

Alternatively, look for the Deal of the Day for the latest special offers, which features countless books for as little as £0.99.

4. Book Borrowing

Up to now this has worked a treat for me, especially for kids books. This is the ultimate way to share the books you love with others, and learn about some great books that are adored by your friends! I also love book borrowing as it means you get to discuss the book afterwards – it’s always nice to gain other people’s perspectives on books.

What are your tips for reading books on a budget? Leave a comment below!

My Top 5 Books of 2020

What a year 2020 has been! This is the first year in my entire life where I’ve pretty much picked up reading as a full-time hobby. I’ve always been an avid reader but this is the first year I’ve read this many books (just hit 40 and I’m still going strong – lockdown definitely helped…).

I know 2020 isn’t quite up yet and hopefully I will squeeze in a handful more books between now and then. If any of them beat this list then I will update it!

With that in mind, here are my top 5 books of 2020:

5. The Diary of Anne Frank

Obviously I’ve heard a great deal about this book, but I cannot believe I only just read it this year.

Anne Frank is a true inspiration to us all. Something so simple about the book is how she starts each entry with “My Dearest Kitty” or “My darling Kitty” (her imaginary friend.) She was such a character and there are some truly Laugh Out Loud moments (and so many lows) that make you want to hug her and comfort her and tell her how amazing she is.

Throughout the book she talks about how much she wants to inspire the world and become a famous writer or journalist after the war. Well, with 30 million copies sold worldwide in more than 65 languages, she has achieved just that!

Anne Frank has become the most famous young author of all time, and gave a rare glimpse into the day-to-day life of a Jewish person in hiding during WWII. Anne was an extremely intelligent and insightful young woman – and is definitely someone who I would invite to my dream dinner party!

4. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens

Earlier, this year, I helped to organise my friend’s virtual baby shower, and as a Thank You gift, she sent me a bundle of books in the post. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gesture and I was truly touched by her generosity.

Within the bundle was Where the Crawdads Sing, an absolute gem of a book that tells the story of Kya Clark, a young girl described by locals as ‘The Marsh Girl.’

At a young age her battered and bruised mother leaves her abusive father (and consequently, Kya), and from the offset it is clear that Kya lives an isolated and reclusive life where she is forced to fend for herself. There are so many poignant moments where your heart bleeds for Kya, but there are also so many beautiful moments where we learn about the importance of courage, resilience and determination. The initial chapters of the book also have so many exquisite descriptions of nature, which I really enjoyed.

This is honestly an outstanding read and has a shocking ending that I couldn’t stop thinking about for weeks after finishing it. I am so grateful to my friend for sending this book to me (thank you, Jess!)

3. The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle

With so much going on in the world right now, it can be easy to get caught up in the never-ending stream of thoughts going on in our heads (especially mine!)

Don’t get me wrong: just because I’ve read this book (and bookmarked about a gazzilion pages) doesn’t mean I’m suddenly the most Zen person in the village (quite the opposite actually; more like the nuttiest person in the village!) BUT what I did take from this book is that no matter how cloudy our thoughts get, the blue sky is always there. We are not our thoughts, and the storms always pass.

If we can just centre ourselves in the present moment, even just for twenty seconds, that’s something very powerful indeed. As Thich Nhat Hanh says in his book, Silence: “One nerve impulse, one action potential, needs only a millisecond. Giving yourself twenty seconds is giving yourself twenty thousand milliseconds to stop the runaway train of thought.”

I’ve read a lot of books on mindfulness but The Power of Now, which I purchased on Kindle, is one book I plan on buying in physical format so I can have it on hand and just flip open a random page for some quick inspiration (Hi George! It’s Christmas soon!)

2. The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

I have to admit when my sister first pitched this to me as a ‘must-read book about the Second World War’ I wasn’t exactly jumping with enthusiasm about reading it, but boy was she right in recommending it. It took me a single weekend to get through this book (and at 450 pages, it’s a long book!)

This is an incredible story about two sisters in France and their battle to survive during the Second World War.

There’s so much depth to this story and it is so shocking and truly horrifying what went on in France (and across the globe) during WWII, and I had no idea about most of it. This is such an inspiring and gripping read and reminds you what true hardship really means, and how much people endured during the war. It also reminds you about the power of resilience, love and freedom.

The Nightingale stays with you long after you’ve finished it. It is such an eye-opener and so beautifully written; I cannot recommend this book enough.

1. Can’t Hurt Me, by David Goggins

This list would not be complete without this exceptional book and if there is one book you need to read at some point in your life, it’s Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins.

It begins with his (terrible) childhood, then goes on to describe the ups and downs he went through throughout his life.

Goggins is someone who simply never gives up and perseveres where most of us would give up or quit or think negatively, very early on. On the contrary, he just keeps pushing himself beyond his mental and physical limits. He thinks so differently to most people and is massively inspiring to us all.

His theory is that we only use 40% of our brains and I totally agree. We just cop out so quickly or convince ourselves that we can’t be bothered or it’s too difficult or we’re not capable etc., when in actual fact, anything is possible. It’s all about mind over matter and shutting up that voice in your head that’s constantly trying to convince you otherwise.

Goggins is an incredible human (superhuman?) who is solid as a rock, both mentally and physically. He has been described as the toughest man alive and if I could just steal 1% of his thought-process, I’d be a really happy human (superhuman?)

So there you have it, my top 5 reads. What books have you read this year that have inspired you? Leave a comment below!