Slow Living LDN. book club: Slow by Brooke McAlary

Slow Living LDN. book club: Slow by Brooke McAlary

Welcome back to the Slow Living LDN. book club, a carefully curated source of inspiration which shares the stories and learnings of those who have sought to adopt a slower, more considered lifestyle.

In our fast-paced world, where technology and demands of modern life can leave us feeling overwhelmed and burned out, the Slow Living LDN. book club invites you to take a breath, savour the moment, and explore the values and concepts of slow and seasonal living through the pages of thoughtfully selected books.

Each month, we’re sharing an inspiring read with you that’s aligned to these values. Each predominantly non-fiction title will delve into the nuances of slow and seasonal living, examining how living with more intention can enhance our well-being and deepen our connection to ourselves and the natural world around us.

Whether you’re already an advocate of the slow living movement or a curious soul seeking a respite from our always-on culture, the Slow Living LDN. book club welcomes you to join us as we share the power that lies within the embrace of a slower, more meaningful lifestyle.

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Book 3: Slow By Brooke McAlary

Our next book club title is Slow by Brooke McAlary, author and creator of the popular The Slow Home Podcast and now one of the most well known modern advocates of living a slower life. Slow is an honest account of Brooke’s own journey to discover a more intentional lifestyle.

After being diagnosed with severe postnatal depression following the birth of her second child, McAlary found Leo Babauta’s blog Zen Habits and began to explore the concept of living with less, of decluttering and resisting the urge to keep up with the Joneses.

From switching off from technology to finding your own ‘wobbly balance’, Brooke McAlary shares her learnings for living according to your own ‘Why’.

Previous Slow Living LDN. book club reads:

Reasons to read Slow by Brooke McAlary

Slow book by Brooke McAlary on grey background

Slow by Brooke McAlary is a raw narrative that depicts a journey towards a more intentional lifestyle. If you’re new to slow living or simply need a reminder on how to re-find your ‘Why’, Slow is full of useful insights.

One key takeaway is to reflect on what you want your life to truly look like against how you currently spend your time. Living with intent means making more conscious decisions, every day. This may sound easier said than done, of course. But, for us, Slow is one of the most thought-provoking slow living books we’ve read. And while it’s not new, it’s for this reason it needs to feature firmly in our book club. McAlary constantly challenges the reader throughout Slow to reflect on how they spent their time, while also acknowledging that we are all prone to ‘backslide’ during challenging times. Our lives are constantly in flux and we must learn to ’tilt’ into the areas that require our time most.

“This isn’t a race with a start and finish line. This is slow, imperfect, intentional and evolving.”

Brooke McAlary, Slow

McAlary starts Slow by encouraging the reader to find their ‘Why’, their reason to want to live a slower life and make these changes. Something perhaps very true for each of us starting on this journey is her realisation that, “there was an enormous disconnect between the things I valued most and my everyday actions”.

To articulate your ‘Why’, or your values and priorities, into something truly to live by and hold at the centre of your life, McAlary asks you to think about your legacy and what kind of life you want to be remembered for. She encourages you to ask yourself:

  • What is important to me?
  • What do I want to leave behind?
  • What don’t I want to leave behind?
  • What do I want people to say about me?
  • What regrets do I want to avoid?

It’s a similar exercise to the concept of defining your guiding word of the year. It helps you put pen to paper to identify what’s truly important to you and asks you to keep it close as a constant reminder.

As Brooke McAlary writes, it’s “your yardstick of a life well-lived”. It’s not the life you’re expected to live, nor the one that feel you ought to live. This would mean living in tune to someone else’s ‘Why’ and completely ignoring your own.

McAlary concludes her book with a final note on permission. She says, “you are allowed to make changes to the way you’re living. You’re allowed to look after yourself. You’re allowed to decide what is important to you. And you’re allowed to create a life with these things at the centre”. These words offer you the courage to start a pursuing a more purpose-driven lifestyle, to shatter expectations (real or perceived) and ultimately, to find contentment.

Pages of Slow by Brooke McAlary

Quotes from Slow

Slow provides some memorable slow living quotes and invites plenty of pauses for reflection.

  • “Slow living is a curious mix of being prepared and being prepared to let go. Caring more and caring less. Saying yes and saying no. Being present and walking away. Doing the important things and forgetting those that aren’t.”
  • “Slow living provides an opportunity to step back, pay attention, and question the ways we use technology, to recalibrate our relationship with the constantly switched-on, logged-in world.”
  • “We enjoy telling others we’re busy. Too busy, in fact, for the things that are important to us, and isn’t that a shame? But can I honestly say that my priority is eating better if I have enough time to mindlessly scroll through social media and clickbait for an hour, but not enough time to cook?”

Slow by Brooke McAlary is available from major booksellers such as Waterstones. Originally published in August 2017. For more reading material, head to our list of the best slow living books and independent magazines.