"READING IS THE FINEST FORM
Angel Kierkegaard on books and literature, and the beneficial side effect reading has on her life.
Angel was born in Tanzania and grew up in Jutland, Denmark.
She works for Mofibo, where she improves Mofibos services, through research, user involvement, workshops and innovation. She has a Bachelor's degree in Danish from the University of Copenhagen and a Master’s degree in Digital Design & Communication, from the IT University in Copenhagen.
Her boyfriend Emil has been her partner for the last 12 years and together they have 5-year old Dag and 2-year old Solveig. The family lives in Emil’s childhood home in the North Western part of Copenhagen, but soon they will be moving to Barcelona.
In 2008 she published the youth novel “Wonderboy”. Daily words @angelkirkegaard.
Reading is the finest form of escapism.
You open a book and if you’re patient, if you surrender, then you get to travel places and meet people and perspectives that are far removed from both your everyday life and yourself. Or you can meet yourself. Right there between the pages you can meet your own reflection and suddenly feel seen, understood, less lonely.
When I was a child I called it “falling through the pages”.
One moment I was sitting in a big, brown leather chair in Himmerland in Jutland and the next I was wrapped in a tight corset somewhere in the Southern states of the US. in the middle of the civil war, with a crush on some scoundrel named Rhett Butler.
Even now, at age 33, books are pure magic for me, but it is sometimes a battle to choose the books and give them the time and space they deserve.
It is not only work, the kids and all the practicalities of everyday life that are eating away at my free time, but also social media.
I often spend 2 hours on Instagram, caught up in the staged reality of complete strangers and afterwards be left with an overwhelming feeling that nothing in my life is good enough. That is absolutely insane.
That is why I seriously need to prioritise reading. Books give me peace of mind, they give my overstimulated brain a place to rest and focus.
Naturally, we have surrounded ourselves with books at home. Last spring, my boyfriend built a floor to ceiling bookcase, in our living room, and we haven’t been able to get our hands down since. Many years ago, when we moved into our first apartment together, we didn’t have a TV and we didn’t get one until we inherited one that came with the house we bought, and that one we put in the basement. That doesn’t mean that we don’t watch TV and binge watch all the Netflix series.
But the TV has never been the centerpiece of our home. My dad was mystified the first couple of times he came to visit us in the apartment in Nørrebro. “What did you do with the house altar?”, he used to ask in a cheerful tone, while circling our small living room, as if it would suddenly appear if he looked for it long enough.
The living room is no doubt the cosiest room in the house, and where I like to hang out. Furnishing it with books as the central element, instead of the TV, is my own very pragmatic “nudging”.
Looking at the books makes me feel like reading.
3 guidelines for prioritising reading in your everyday life
Lower your ambitions
Try not to have enormous ambitions about your reading in the beginning. Choose something that you feel like reading, rather than something you feel you should read. You are not going to get through Moby Dick right now. Grab that Lucinda Riley novel at the library and don’t give a damn about it.
Leave your phone
Leave your phone in another room or even better: Turn it off. Tell yourself that now you are going to read for an hour or 30 minutes, give yourself time to fall through the pages. If you get sleepy from reading, then read just before you go to sleep and solve two problems in one go.
Create different opportunities
Prioritise reading and create more opportunities to read, for example by reading in different formats. Listen to audiobooks or buy an e-book reader, so that you can read while going through the marathon ritual of putting the kids to bed.
"In total, reading scores so much higher, when it comes to all the beneficial effects it has on me."
Often, other people, especially mothers, ask me how I manage to read so much with two small children.
I have no magical formula to offer. It is in the same way that I manage to do a lot of other things that are good for me, like working out. I prioritise it.
I get the feeling that a lot of people mistakenly believe that reading has to be motivated solely by pure enjoyment. That you need to be in the mood for reading. If I have my phone and the book I have promised myself to read right next to each other, I know which one will get the most points on the enjoyment scale.
But at the same time, I am conscious about how much better books are for my mind, my ability to focus, my creativity and my sleep.
In total, reading scores so much higher, when it comes to all the beneficial effects it has on me. That is why I force myself to pick up the book and put everything else aside and be patient until I fall through the pages.
3 suggestions for good books
- Den som blinker er bange for døden, Knud Romer
- Will and Testament (Danish: Arv & Miljø), Vigdis Hjort
- Misery, Stephen King