How I Fell in Love with Reading (Again)
I’ve always loved books. Growing up I devoured various fiction works, from romance to mystery. I prided myself (far too much, in hindsight) in how challenging of a book I could read. I spent my rides on the school bus as the quintessential book-worm, even on the receiving end of jokes.
Yet somewhere along the way, my reading habits changed. Perhaps the busyness of college classes, then a new marriage, and babies had far too much of an impact. Before long, books became a luxury I didn’t think I’d be able to get back. There was no time. My lists were too long. When I did sit to read, my eyes would start to drift towards sleep.
For the past several years I still managed a few books a year- but many I just never completed. This January I attempted to change the habits that had become so ingrained in my routines. I hoped to complete the Light category of Tim Challies’ 2019 Reading Challenge. As of October, I finished all thirteen books, but what I didn’t expect is how much I would not only renew my love of reading- but my love of learning.
Maybe you are like me and your mental want-to-read book list brings nothing but guilt. Maybe you want to read more, but the busyness of your days feel like too much to squeeze it in. If you’d like to work toward a goal, reading lists are a great way to begin!
In my next post, I’ll share my list, but for now here are few things that helped me this year:
- Set realistic goals.
Because life is so busy, I decided to choose the smallest list. As already noted, my pride often wants me to bite off more than I can chew. This year, I decided to face reality and be content with the small list. Maybe this is 13 books, maybe this is only 5 books. That’s ok! Don’t compare to others, and be content with your plan. I believe that setting a realistic goal helped me to stay positive and continue on with my reading.
- Make a list, but give permission to change!
I began with a rough idea of what books I would choose for each topic. Though as the weeks and months went on, I began to be tempted by other books that would also fit in to those categories. In the past I’ve been a stickler to a plan, but this time I decided I didn’t have to be married to my list. If another biography sounded really interesting, I took it on. If another Christian living book became more desirable than the one I had started, I switched them out. This kept me reading not out of necessity, but of interest. And that is by far one of the biggest motivators.
- Search for time and use help.
As I started the year, I was unsure where I would fit more reading time. I had to find where some of my extra time goes- waiting rooms spent scrolling my phone, naptimes where I can get easily lost in articles, or moments in the evening spent wasted. I purposed to choose less articles and scrolling, and instead pick up a book. I also asked my husband for help- Where did he think I could fit in more reading to our busy days? How could I work to make this goal, without neglecting my family? I’m sure I wasn’t always successful in this, but knowing ahead of time where pockets of time were, and knowing that I had someone with me who wanted to help me work on my goal was so helpful.
- Get out of your comfort zone
For the past several years I’ve been stuck in the world of Christian non-fiction. I figured, if I could only fit so much reading in, I better make it really count. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but I had forgotten the amount of good writing out there in all sorts of books. I also hadn’t anticipated that the variety and change would actually help me read more. When choosing your books, look for variety, whether you follow a Reading Challenge or not. It will help to break up your books, and you might even discover new genres to love.
As the end-of-year book lists, and talk of New Year’s Resolutions come out in the following months, maybe some of my experience will encourage you to set a goal- no matter how small it might seem!
But you want to know some final secrets? You don’t have to wait until January, and your time limit doesn’t have to be a year. There are no contests or prizes apart from growing in knowledge- and we can do that with fifty-two books a year, or even with three.
“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” – Mortimer J. Adler