If I’m going to be completely honest, I don’t have enough free time at the minute to read enough to warrant a monthly Reflection post. It seemed to work last year, but this year so far I have read four books, and we’re already in April. If I’m going to be reviewing a number of these books too, there doesn’t seem to be much point in repeating myself by going over them again at the end of the month, or simply writing a post linking you back to other posts that I’ve already published. I’ve decided that the logical thing to do is simply make these posts quarterly. That way, I should have far more books to talk about in each post.
That being said, I do want to quickly go over the books I read in February and March as that will complete the first three months when including my January Reflection (you see my problem?! I’m already just linking you back to other posts!)
I read my first non-fiction book of the year: A (Not So) Enlightened Youth by Koi Fresco. I feel like a brief background is needed before I get into what this book is about. The author makes YouTube videos that I began really watching around twelve months ago, I think. His videos are entirely based on ‘personal and spiritual growth’. This covers everything from meditation to education to religion and philosophy in a format that is easily accessible to an audience that could either be beginners or experts in understanding their own spiritual growth. When I heard that Koi was going to be writing a book, I was immediately very excited; before this I had only read one book on spirituality and was itching to know more.
The premise of A (Not So) Enlightened Youth is that it intends to do two things at once as it is split into two parts. The beginning is an autobiographical account of Koi’s early life and the events that led him to becoming the person he is today while the second part takes the form of a guide to personal growth and understanding yourself. What became apparent as soon as I began reading the second half was that I really felt like these should have been two separate books; it very much felt like too much was being crammed into one book, leading to the guide section in particular coming across as very underdeveloped and confusing.
Koi’s life story is fascinating, and I enjoyed the chance to get to understand the man behind the videos. Addiction, prison… there’s so much that went into making Koi the person he is today. As this was non-fiction I obviously can’t comment on plot or characters so all that’s really left is the writing style which I hate to say was often beyond lacking. A(NS)EY is self-published (and possibly the first self-published book I’ve ever read?) which means that it is unedited and completely lacking in proof-reading. While you could reasonably expect some mistakes because of this, near-on every single paragraph had some form of spelling or grammatical error, to the point where I often couldn’t even understand the meaning of the sentence.
Throughout, everything felt so rushed, as though it had been written in a hurry and published the second ‘save’ was pressed on the document. This obviously detracted massively from what I was reading; I found myself less focused on his words and more focused on how much I wanted to get a pen out to add in apostrophes and correct typos. For a book on spirituality, being stressed out by the writing was not ideal. I also felt that the guide didn’t particularly teach me anything and so I got little from it. Due to this, I had to give it two out of five stars. I don’t want that to come across as a poor reflection on Koi’s videos, however, as they are consistently concise and well-researched.
I was just about to talk about History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera when I realised that I actually finished it in April, so it will have to go in the next Reflection. That takes my completed book tally to a grand total of one in the months of February and March… In my defence, I am 400 pages through Emma by Jane Austen, 200 pages through The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien and quite far through several other books. I’ve just for some reason fallen back into my old habit of having loads of books on the go at once and taking forever to finish them. But no more! I’m all set to start finishing some books!
Let me know which self-published books you’ve read, and if you’ve ever encountered the same problems that I did!