The Art of Routine – Angel Iscovich

“I used to practice emergency medicine, working long shifts in hospital facilities for up to forty-eight hours at a time.”

When I saw this title on NetGalley, it felt like the timing couldn’t have been more perfect – I am indeed pondering routines, setting myself up some better ones, for all sorts of things. And here’s a book about just that, right?! Urm, nope. The description wasn’t quite clear, it seems, and despite the mention of ‘routineology’, this book has – in my opinion – very little to offer to those looking to form better routines.

If that’s not what the book contains, then what is it? Well, it’s a bit of a random amble through some stories that might possibly if you squint have something vaguely to do with routines – maybe. I mean, early on I described it to someone as “waffling a bit about the Knights Templar and the Rolling Stones” and no, I’m still not entirely sure why. Chapters head off on all manner of tangents, with very little coherence or appearance of structure. It’s vaguely like an exam essay, starting off in all sorts of directions, semi-academic in tone, often leaving thoughts a little unfinished. Or maybe I just feel the whole topic was unfinished. Time bubbles, right got it – we want stability. Oh, but next chapter: we want to break out of predictable routines. Riiight. I mean, you can pull those together – but, nope. Off on another chat about sports or something before finally telling us that technology is bad, except when it was really good as mentioned previously.

I still might possibly have scored this a little higher – I mean, it’s not the book’s fault that I got the wrong end of the stick – but quite frankly I ended up loathing the author for taking every opportunity for some self-aggrandisement. There are far, far too many instances of some ‘cool’ little story that makes the author look like a hero and genius – “this time I saved that guy’s life, because I’m an amazing doctor, and I also ran super-impressive companies, and I write fantastic books” – urm, no, thank you. I don’t care, and trying to shoehorn the concept of routine into these was just the wrong way around anyway.

Oh, and then we’re also going to throw in as many references to COVID-19 as possible, to make it all very ‘now’ and super relevant. Except that doesn’t go anywhere, either – and a proper (or any, there’s none here) discussion of routines and lockdowns, for instance, could have made for a whole book. Still not the book I wanted, but more cohesive at least.

So, big fat ‘no’ from me. This is a disjointed meander through some weird topics supposedly under the theme of routine, but that’s a bit too much of a stretch. Not what I was looking for in the slightest, a waste of great cover art, and also just not a particularly interesting read altogether. 

NetGalley eARC: 192 pages / 10 chapters
First published: 18th May 2021
Series: none
Read from 26th February – 15th March 2021

My rating: 2/10

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