I don’t work too many hours… well, I do, but I’m completely self-employed, so sometimes I’ll work myself to death for 14 hours straight, other times I’ll take a nap and spend the rest of the day recovering, wishing I hadn’t taken a nap. Still other times, I sit around and stress about how I’m not making money when I could.

It’s a beautiful freedom to work for yourself, but also definitely a curse. When I teach ESL early in the morning, I’ve discussed reading with my students. Many of them read every day and it’s weird for me to tell them that I love to read, too, when I barely make time for it anymore. So I thought, Why not change up my schedule just a little bit and dedicate an hour to reading every day?

So far, I finished reading one book in less than a week and that’s with skipping a couple days for various reasons. I think that I could potentially finish 4-5 books a month and eventually read a bit faster.

So far, this reading hour has increased my confidence levels, I’ve learned a bunch, I’m less stressed, and it also feels like a break from reality for a bit. In order to keep to it, I’m going to share my list of potential books to read:


1. The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge by Carlos Castaneda

This book was recommended to me (and was forcefully borrowed) by a friend after we discussed the potential mental health benefits of psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, and other psychedelic drugs. The book follows a shaman as he trains a new apprentice in the Mexican desert. Oh, and this is Non-Fiction. (finished)
Find it here for $8.85

2. The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D. and William D. Danko, Ph.D

Since losing my health and owing about $5,000 I didn’t have to hospitals, doctors, etc., I wanted to learn more about how to manage my money (and to make more of it, even when I can’t find a job that pays more). A friend of mine highly recommended I read this book… like a year or two ago… and I still have it, half read. It’s full of really interesting information with how to accumulate wealth (even if you don’t make six figures) and how to save up for retirement, etc. So far, it’s been super helpful and I’m excited to read the rest of it.
Find your own copy here for $3.75 (used). You can also get it for free on Kindle.

3. What You Must Know About the Hidden Dangers of Antibiotics by Dr. Jay S. Cohen, MD

This particular book has been on my “to read” list since I was floxed. This book had a different name before Dr. Cohen passed away from pancreatic cancer: “How We Can Halt The Cipro & Levaquin Catastrophe: The Worst Medication Disaster In U.S. History,” but apparently that was too much for publishers. I know a few people with the original copy and they say that it’s the same book. It’s a bit of a shame because that original title is so much more impactful. So far, it’s a very informative book on Fluoroquinolone Toxicity with info that I can’t find anywhere else since his website was also taken down.
Get it here for $7.61

4. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

This book was recommended to me over-and-over throughout the years since I tend to be the most depressed person anyone knows. This book is about another egotistical New Yorker’s realization that succeeding in her dreams and goals did not actually make her happy and her mission to find what exactly that is, to live a life of true happiness instead of one of her own expectations.  A few years ago, I had a similar realization of my own, as a similar egotistical New Yorker, and I wrote a thing on it. Here is that thing. I’m looking forward to learning what Rubin finds makes her happy. 🙂
Get your copy for $3.22 (if you get it used)

5. Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre, MD

This is another one of those “wow I can’t believe I still haven’t finished this” books, just like the Cohen one. This is about pharmaceutical trials in general and how they’re not as accurate as they should be. This book enters the realm of scientific studies and points out holes in research that really shouldn’t be there, that many studies are funded by large corporations, and that so many are covered up, especially if the trial comes out negative, that even if many negative trials were done, they don’t necessarily need to be published. Companies can cherry-pick the research they want publicized. I’m super interested in finishing this book by British public speaker and doctor, Ben Goldacre. He has a series of other books, like Bad Medicine, Bad Science, etc.
Find the book here for $9.27
Watch Dr Goldacre’s TED talks here and here.


Want to make your own daily reading challenge?

For my reading challenge, there are very few rules:

  1. You can read any book at all, as long as it’s a book and not a magazine, article, etc. Graphic novels and comic books do not count (unless you make that part of your own custom challenge).
  2. You must read for an hour with no breaks.
  3. You cannot read for more than an hour (for fear that you’ll choose to skip days in the future, that you don’t build the habit).
  4. You may move around, pee, even, as long as you are still holding that book in your hand and reading (nothing dangerous, like driving, of course).

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Check out associated documentary ‘Floxed’ on Facebook and Instagram. If you’re interested in writing for The Barefoot Aya, now is the time! Send me an email at barefootaya@gmail.com.

Photo by Fabiola Peñalba on Unsplash