I want to tell you 7 things about reading

Reading is one of my favourite things to do or talk about. When you couple this with my passion, time management, I especially love it when people tell me they don’t have time to read, or enough time to read, and so on.

So not true, guys. I’m not buying it 🙂

You see, I think we all underestimate the amount of time we waste, and more importantly, how much time we have that we fritter away. Someone I follow, Laura Vanderkam, decided to stop scrolling the internet and read instead. She read 14 books in a month. She found 1.5 hours a day and more on the weekend, totalling 13.5 hours a week, without working or parenting less.

Why you and I are not reading more books

How I find time for reading

Another way to find time for reading – this one is probably unpopular

Then, the new thing is people tell me things like they don’t think audio books will work for them without even trying. I know audio is not for everyone.

Like how video is not for me. But I have watched a few Youtube videos, vlogs and such, tried it first and now I can give you reasons why (slow download speed/ impatience/ I like to be doing something and with video I have to actually sit there and watch, for example :))

Back to audio books.

If you have a short commute, remember all those 15 minutes add up. If you have a 15-minute commute, you can easily finish one audio book a month. That’s 600 minutes a month just to and from work.

However, there is also cooking time, cleaning time, editing photo time, scrapbooking time, walking time, gardening time.

I would love you to tell me you listened to a book and then decided it’s not for you. But please try! You can easily add 1 – 2 books to your “read list” every month in this super-simple way.

You may like this post on how I use audio to work for me. One major trick is to find a narrator you like.

Here’s where I shared my love for the Kindle at the 3-year mark. I just passed the 6-year mark two days ago!

When it’s worth it to buy a book

Bonus – free books with Overdrive

How do you prefer to read your books?

Have you tried an audio book yet?

Organising Queen’s best books of 2016

2016’s not over yet but unless something radically changes, these were my top books:


Stories I only tell my friends – Rob Lowe

I listened to the audible version of this book and I recommend you get that version because he narrates his own book and does all the different impersonations too. Even just for that alone, it’s a great listen. But he’s actually a really good writer too, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the listening time.

Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money – Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze

I wrote a bit about the book here but I can say this – if you have a child and you want said child to have a good relationship with money, just get the book. You won’t be sorry. Matter of fact, I think many adults need to hear/ listen to many of these truths.

I listened to the book on audible, but it would be just as easy to read a paper or Kindle copy.


When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

This book won Goodreads’ 2016 choice award in the memoir/ autobiography category with good reason.

It is a beautifully written account of a journey through a lung cancer diagnosis and ultimately death, and I enjoyed listening to it. For Cup of Jo fans, the author was her twin sister’s late husband.

I think everyone should read or listen to this book. Treat yourself 🙂

And then some fiction

I really enjoyed these ones by authors you may not know (I didn’t know most of them) but give them a chance. You can always download the Kindle sample and see if you like the writing first.

The Marriage Mender – Linda Green

While my eyes were closed – Linda Green (this one is only $2 on Kindle)

Tomorrow there will be apricots – Jessica Soffer

The week I ruined my life – Caroline Grace-Kennedy (unputdownable)

Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty. I’m starting a bookclub in Johannesburg next year – first meeting end of January – and this is our first book.

For those who are budget-conscious (like I am!), I get my books 3 ways:

  1. Audible membership which I put on pause for three months a year to catch up.
  2. Kindle (but my rule still applies – it has to be under $10. I do put books on my wish list and Amazon lets me know when they go on sale)
  3. Library – a little-known fact for South Africans…. take a list of all the titles you want to read to your nearest library and ask the librarian to check if they are in circulation. You then reserve them and pay only R12 (for my municipality) when they arrive. I’d got lazy to take a list of books but I did so this weekend and reserved two. The minute the current lenders return them, they’re flagged on the system and will be dispatched to my local branch.

What were your favourite reads in 2016?

Share in the comments!

PS I posted the Rob Lowe book on Instagram and I’m so grateful to a commenter for telling me to get Andre Agassi’s one too. I’d had it on my wish list forever but wasn’t sure. Her recommendation pushed me over the edge 🙂 So please please do feel free to tell me your favourites.

What’s making me happier? Organising my Kindle

I was sorting out my Kindle the other day and realised this might make me a bit weird but it’s a weirdness that makes me very happy.

I have folders to organise my downloaded Kindle books.


I have the obvious ones like Books read, and then the unread books go into either Fiction or Non-Fiction so depending what I’m in the mood for, I go directly to that section to find a book.

I also have a folder for Children’s books.

I leave sample books out of folders so that they’ll “bother” me and I’ll read them quickly 🙂

It makes me super happy when I finish a book and I can happily file it away in its folder.


If only Audible let me create folders, I’d have a very happy time organising my audio books too 🙂

And now, I wish you 30 very happy minutes organising your Kindle. Take a screenshot and tag me @OrganisingQueen so I can come do the happy dance with you.

Do you have a Kindle?

Do you use folders? What are some of your folders called?

10 favourite fiction authors

It’s no secret that I love reading and it’s even less of a secret that I adore Irish fiction.


I sometimes get emails asking about my favourite authors so I thought I’d put it here on the blog for everyone to see.

  1. Maeve Binchy * – try Quentins or Tara Road
  2. Joanna Trollope – try Brother and Sister, or Daughters-in-Law
  3. Dorothy Koomson – any of them are good. Start at the beginning or with Marshmallows for Breakfast
  4. Sinead Moriarty * – In my sister’s shoes was my second, and favourite.
  5. Liane Moriarty (these two are not related!) – What Alice Forgot is her famous book; I loved The Husband’s Secret
  6. Marian Keyes * – of the latest books, I loved The Mystery of Mercy Close
  7. Sheila O’Flanagan * – read Yours Faithfully or Someone Special
  8. Patricia Scanlan * – Love and Marriage, and seeing as we’re coming up to Christmas, Coming Home for Christmas
  9. Cathy Kelly * – I liked The Honey Queen and Best of Friends
  10. Emily Giffin – Heart of the matter is my favourite, and then Something Borrowed

*All Irish authors 🙂

For more favourite authors, check out my Goodreads account.


Have you read my 3 own books yet?

  1. Live Organised
  2. 31 days of easy organising solutions
  3. 31 days of enough time

If not, I’d like to invite you to check them out.

On an interesting note, I can’t read crime novels any more since having kids. I tried… and realised I really don’t enjoy them anymore. Isn’t that strange? I was the biggest fan of all the famous crime novelists before (just check my Goodreads!)

So tell me two things: who are some of your favourite fiction authors? And is there any genre you used to read that you no longer do, for whatever reason?

PS If you’re on Goodreads, make friends with me and tell me you read the blog 🙂

5 favourite non-fiction reads over the last year

I had a question recently about which non-fiction books I recommend.

I really had no way to answer that because I didn’t know anything about the person.

In case you feel like dipping into a new non-fiction book this weekend, here are my 5 absolute favourites over the last year.

In case you feel like dipping into a new non-fiction book this weekend, here are my 5 absolute favourites over the last year.

I just realised I’ve listened to all of these on Audible, which is definitely my non-fiction carrier of choice. if you’re not a member yet, try it out and get two free books.

1. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

I really, really loved this book and like I said in my Goodreads review, I think people who hated the book or the author didn’t actually read the book!

I did listen to it on Audible though and I always feel that the author’s voice comes across with their intention a lot more.

If you haven’t read it yet, get the Audible version of this memoir – she is so funny and has really good comedic timing too.

2. Overwhelmed

I said in this review that it’s the time management book I wish I’d written. It’s smart, insightful and really interesting.

I wrote one post about time confetti but I want to re-listen to my bookmarks and write some more posts about this wonderful book.

For those who like to talk about how there’s not enough time, but also who are interested in how different people make things work.

3. Smart Money, Smart Kids

I wrote a ton about this book in this post. If you have kids still living at home, the clever thing to do is to read it.

4. Better than Before

I’m like a Gretchen Rubin evangelist. If I know you even a little bit, chances are I’ve told you to go take her quiz to find out your tendency, and then I’ve told you to subscribe to the Happier podcast. Yes?

This one is going to get another listen from me; it’s just that good!

I’ve written 7 posts about this book here…

5. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

You all know I love this book – I wrote a ton of posts (20!) about the concepts in here that you can access here, or by clicking the picture on the right sidebar —->>

She has a new book out called Spark Joy but I can’t talk to that one yet as I haven’t read it.

Have you read any of these books? Did you love them?

What was your favourite non-fiction book over the last year?

PS there’s always my Goodreads to check some of my other favourites.

PPS  Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

When is it worth it to buy a book?

How I read books |www.OrganisingQueen.com

I read quite a lot – a little in excess of 5 books a month. I could read more but we’ve already spoken about how we’re all not reading enough.

Still, when I talk about my reading to people, I get a lot of questions about buying books, Kindle vs paper, library vs owning them, and so I thought I’d put together my thought process in the hope that it might help someone.

(let me know if that someone is you – it’s nice when you know your efforts landed somewhere!)

   How I read books |www.OrganisingQueen.comFiction

I read far too much fiction (and far too quickly) to buy each and every book I read. The fiction I read comes from four places:

  1. the library – I have always loved the library. Always.
  2. Kindle deals (Amazon is amazing at telling me when books I’ve looked at go on sale 😉 so I can decide if I want to wait for the price to drop some more, or if I want to get the book there and then). I do like to have about 3 – 4 books on my Kindle when I go on holiday so I wait patiently til then to read all the Kindle novels I’ve been storing.
  3. secondhand bookstores – if I’m on holiday and I run out of books (this happened in April when we were in Sabie), I dash into a secondhand bookstore and grab a cheap copy of a book by an author I’m familiar with.
  4. gifts from my Amazon wish list

A word on libraries

I’ve recently discovered a new thing – reserving books. You complete a form, they phone you when the book’s in and then you pay R12 for the book. Where are you ever going to get a book for R12 these days?!

I reserved the Marian Keyes book in the top photo and I can’t wait to dig in.

How I read books |www.OrganisingQueen.com


I only read 1 – 2 non-fiction books a month – my goal is 15 for the year – and here are the three sources of my non-fiction:

  1. Books from my bookshelf (I’ve been buying non-fiction at Exclusive Books my whole life and I buy them faster than I can read)
  2. Kindle (since I bought my Kindle nearly 5 years ago, I stopped buying physical books and get them on the Kindle)
  3. Audible – this is a new development since the beginning of this year and is perfect for using my commute time effectively. Since Audible, I no longer buy non-fiction for the Kindle unless the author is not reading their own work. Sadly, not all books are available on Audible but there are plenty to keep me busy for the next year or so 🙂

More on Audible

I have a few rules for myself:

  • I prefer it if the author reads their own work
  • If not, then I need to enjoy the narrator’s voice. One of my favourite books from this year, Overwhelmed, was narrated by someone else but she had a great voice and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it.

Earlier this year I felt a tad overwhelmed by all the books I’d bought and not yet listened to, so I paused my membership for 3 months while I caught up.

And that’s it!

How do you get the fiction or non-fiction books you read? Let me know on Facebook or Instagram.

How I read books |www.OrganisingQueen.com

A friend made me this beautiful Kindle cover. I love it!!!

More posts you might like:

Why I never thought I’d get a Kindle

2 years with my Kindle

3 years with my Kindle

{Time management} Why you and I are not reading more books

Make time for reading | www.OrganisingQueen.com

A few weeks ago I read something on a blog that blew my mind –

The average reader can read a book in about 4 and a half hours.


I’m a faster than average reader but I’ve never officially had my reading speed checked, so let’s just say I read a book in about 4 hours.

Technically, I should then get through many more books than I currently do (5 – 6 a month).

I took it a step further and asked myself why?

And the answer won’t surprise you – social media, blogs, messing on Instagram. I could easily read blogs for 2 hours a night and scroll instagram for another hour; why not use that time to move toward my goals instead of reading about people I don’t even know?

Make time for reading | www.OrganisingQueen.com

So that weekend I decided to do an experiment – after Sunday lunch, I parked myself on a chair and read a book for about 3 hours. Sure enough I had about 50 pages to go before the book was done.

That night I finished the book.

I did the same the next weekend.

And the next.

Obviously nothing else got done but that’s how I prefer to read a novel – completely immerse myself.

Make time for reading | www.OrganisingQueen.com

So if you’re thinking, “I don’t have enough time to read,” take an afternoon on a weekend, leave your phone and computer far away from you and just read.

My kids played outside, watched some sport with Dion and then did some craftsy things by themselves (I don’t know exactly what because I was reading :)).

By the way, I’ve found the Kindle app on the ipad even more amazing. When you start a book it says, “learning reading speed” and after a while it will tell you, “only 2 hours and 40 minutes to go”.

Tell me – how can any goal-oriented person ignore that? It is DIVINE and I love it!

(it’s also the reason I sometimes stay up too late “I’ll be done in 28 minutes” :))

How do you make time for reading?

PS The last time I wrote about making time for reading I also had a pic of a Sheila O’Flanagan book!

Make time for reading | www.OrganisingQueen.com

How I find time to read

It’s no secret that I read a lot.

Last year I set a goal of 60 books, reached it in November so I increased my goal to 70 and made it! Shew 🙂

This year my goal is 65 – I was ahead in Jan with 8 books but am nearly done with number 3 for Feb.

People ask me this question a lot – how do you find time to do all the reading you do? These are the things I do:


prioritise my reading

It’s very important to me to read and to read for pleasure, not just to learn something. I read every night before bed, at least 30 minutes, but I plan to read for about 45 – 60 minutes. This is usually when I read fiction. It’s easy for the time to pass when you’re reading something that sweeps you away.

use any time I can find to read – whether 5 or 55 minutes 🙂

If I have a 5-minute gap, I’ll grab a book. Even if I can just read a few pages, it’s worth it to me.

have a system – I mostly read non-fiction when I only have short gaps and fiction when I have more time available.

I really don’t like being interrupted when I’m reading fiction which is why that’s night-time reading for me. I find it’s more efficient to know my go-to book than to waste a few precious moments thinking, “ummm, what should I read?”

set reading goals

This sounds really boring to some people but it works for me. See, my personality is such that I’m not a natural relaxer. There is ALWAYS something else I could be doing – cleaning, organising, tidying, rearranging, etc.

So my reading goal is 5 books a month. I can get through 4 without any trouble just doing the nightly reading routine but having that 5th book on the list forces encourages me to set aside weekend time to also read. I even put my reading on my to-do list so I feel extra accomplished 🙂

involve the kids

It doesn’t always work but involve the kids as much as you can. I’ll tell mine to bring their books (real old-fashioned books) and come read with me on the bed.

That’s it.

No great secrets – just prioritise, have a system and be consistent with your goals.

How do you make the time to read?

PS I don’t watch TV but I do unpack, re-pack and choose clothes while the Bold and the Beautiful’s on in the evenings (20 minutes) 🙂

The pile of books you never get around to reading…


So I have this pile of books I never get around to reading because I’m not disciplined enough.

It could also be because they’re non-fiction.

You see, when I typically start reading a non-fiction book, I find I can’t get swept along by it as easily as I can by fiction. The act of reading feels like torture even though I’m learning and the subject matter is interesting.

This year I’ve decided to read just one of those non-fiction books every month. Just one.

These are the ones on my list for the year:

  1. Goals – Brian Tracey
  2. I thought it was just me – Brene Brown (I’ve also read The gifts of imperfection – fantastic!)
  3. The five love languages for children – Chapman and Campbell
  4. Do more great work – Michael Bungay Stanier
  5. Men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti – Bill and Pam Farrel
  6. It’s all too much – Peter Walsh
  7. Organizing magic – Sandra Felton
  8. The encore effect – Mark Sanborn (I loved the Fred book)
  9. Secrets to getting more done in less time – Donna Otto
  10. First-time mom – Kevin Leman
  11. Have a new you by Friday – Kevin Leman
  12. When your best is not good enough – Kevin Leman (might as well read 11 & 12 after each other – they came in a 3 in 1 and I read the Birth Order one years ago – yes, I thoroughly recommend it)

I just recently discovered something really cool that’s working well for me and so I thought I’d share it with you too.

Nothing earth-shattering, but a small change of habit.

I read just one chapter every day.

That’s it.

The Goals book has 21 chapters and I’m further with it this year than I was when I started reading it about 4 years ago. By the way, I started over so I could get a proper sense of the book.

Back to my old habits…

You see, before I’d think I need to only read one book at a time.

This time, I read my one non-fiction chapter in the morning or when the kids nap on the weekend days, and at night, I indulge in my fiction.

It’s working really, really well.

If I continue with this practice, I will complete those 12 much earlier than December and then I can tackle the rest of my bookshelf.

What is your reading style?

Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?

Which books are in your pile that you’re just not getting around to reading?Any of the ones on my list?

PS yes, that bookshelf needs to be decluttered in a major way 🙂

Do you set reading goals?

People often ask, “how do you do it all?”

They mean working full-time, cooking, cleaning (all but 1 glorious day every week when Nester comes to attack the mountain of ironing. Remember I hate laundry), blogging, running the business, being a wife and mother and going to gym.

Aside from being mostly organised and being extremely intentional about my time, I watch almost no TV (I’ve stopped watching Survivor this year!) and read almost nothing.

Okay, I’m being a bit melodramatic about the reading but compared to how much I used to read, I read practically nothing last year. LOL

When I was going through my reading book (yes, of course I have a reading book – don’t you?), for the early part of 2010 everything was about babies and sleep – I read 6 books on the same topic – how to get your babies to sleep through the night.

The answer?

It depends on the baby, how many you have and how much you like to hear crying.

he still sleeps like that 🙂

Turns out we had one who freaked out if left to cry, one who freaked out more and we didn’t like to hear them cry since they woke their twin and parents who had to function at work the next day, so we did things the old-fashioned way and waited for them to outgrow their night wakings at 10 months.

My goal was 7 books a month, 2 non-fiction, same as it’s been the last couple of years BUT when I had my birthday in August I realised I was being unrealistic so changed the goal to 5 books a month, 1 non-fiction.

I ended up reading 46 books in total for the year, 28 fiction and 18 non-fiction. If not for all those baby sleep books, I think I would have read more on the whole, as I take longer to get through non-fiction than I do fiction.

Are you the same?

Look – I tabulated all the reading for the last 5 years.

Year Fiction Non-fiction Total
2006 53 20 73
2007 80 14 94
2008 75 8 83
2009 59 11 70
2010 28 18 46

This year my goal is again 60 for the year – 5 books a month, of those 5, 1 non-fiction.

What are your reading goals for the year?

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