Shortform Reads: Escapism and All Things Jane Austen

What is Tisha’s favorite trope to read? Which book helped Tisha improve her morning routine?

Tisha is from the Philippines and works as a book guide writer for Shortform. We recently interviewed her about her relationship with books, and here’s what she had to say.

Our Interview With Tisha

Here’s what Tisha had to say about Jane Austen, dystopian novels, and more.

What’s your favorite book?

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, though to be honest, I don’t know if I could read it again. It was so hard to get through at first but, when I got into it, I didn’t want it to end. I loved the storytelling and imagery, and the ending blew me away! I still remember having vivid dreams about it after reading it.

Honorable mention: all things Jane Austen.

What are you reading these days?

The most recent book I read was Perestroika in Paris by Jane Smiley. Ordinarily, I’m not a fan of books with animals as the main characters, but it had my literary catnip: a European city and an ivy-covered house.

I’m currently reading Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier—English coast and an old house—and I plan to watch Hitchcock’s version of the film when I’m done.

As for my next read, I have an obscene TBR pile. Some books I’ve got on there are There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job, A Brief History of Seven Killings, Breasts and Eggs, and Less. I gravitate more toward fiction for my leisure reading since I already read a lot of nonfiction for work.

What’s your favorite genre?

Historical fiction and armchair travel. Reading to me is escapist, so I generally like gentle reads that transport me to a different place and time.

Are there any book genres or tropes that you dislike or refuse to read?

I’m not a big fan of dystopian novels. Since reading is my escape, I’d rather escape to somewhere pleasant than to a setting that’s dark and hopeless.

What’s your favorite way to read a book?

I do listen to audiobooks on my daily walk—the most recent one was The Kitchen Front, which had an excellent narrator—but I still much prefer reading a physical copy. I’m old school. One of my favorite pastimes is going to bookstores, and I could spend hours browsing—and inevitably buying. I always have a book in my bag, so I can read during idle moments like waiting in line.

Was there a specific book that sparked your love of reading?

As a child, I borrowed all the hardcover Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins books from the school library. I also read The Secret Garden every summer growing up. Again, the English countryside and more ivy-covered walls.

What’s an interesting fact that you learned from a book recently?

Not really a fact from one book but a consistent theme across self-improvement books: It all begins with being accountable. You can’t make improvements if you keep making excuses and refuse to take ownership of your choices and mistakes.

Have any books you’ve read caused you to make any life changes or to change or develop any habits?

Atomic Habits changed the way I think about goals. Author James Clear says that instead of focusing on your goal, you should focus on your system instead. Consistently sticking to your system will eventually get you to your goal. For example, if you want to write a book, focus on writing 500 words a day.

I also recently read The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma. I am so not a morning person, and I tend not to like routine, so I’ve been using the book’s template—a 20-minute vigorous workout, 20 minutes of journaling or meditation, and 20 minutes of learning—to jumpstart my day and to help me be more consistent. A little later than 5 a.m., though…

What’s your favorite quote from a book or an author?

The entire letter from Jane Austen’s Persuasion, though the letter on its own may not have as great of an impact as reading it after seeing how the story unfolds.

What are your favorite book adaptations?

The Lord of the Rings trilogy! Arguably the rare instance when the movies are better than the books. Also, Pride and Prejudice, the 2005 version—though the Colin Firth one is lovely too. It’s my comfort watch. Sometimes I just leave it on in the background while I cook or bake.

At Shortform, how do you go about working on a book that has viewpoints you don’t agree with?

In some ways, it’s more fun to work on a book that has a different viewpoint, because it opens me up to other perspectives. One of the books I made a guide for helped me become more receptive. In Principles, Ray Dalio writes that you should get over your ego and always ask, “How do I know I’m right?” To him, the relentless pursuit of the truth or the best ideas is more important than being right.

What are your favorite books in the Shortform library and why? 

It’s hard to pick a favorite, so instead I offer my virtual TBR pile: The Willpower Instinct—because I don’t want to take shortcuts when it comes to my health and, instead, figure out how I can better play the long game. The God Delusion—because, having grown up in a devoutly Catholic country, I’m interested in a radically different perspective about religion. And The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck—because I want to focus on what really matters.

Tisha’s Book Recommendations

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • Any book by Jane Austen

About the Series

Here at Shortform, we want to give our employees names and faces so you can get to know the people who make the magic happen. That’s why we’re doing this series where we interview our employees and share their thoughts and opinions. You can check out more employee interviews here.

Shortform Reads: Escapism and All Things Jane Austen

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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