Every New Year I see reading challenges. I breeze right past them because I know I could not possibly have the time to read ALL of those books.
Can you relate?
For some reason, however, reading jumped to the top of my list in January, and I was led to set a Good Reads goal of reading FIFTY books. (I understand that for some people, 50 books might not seem a lot. For me, however, homeschooling my children and running a curriculum business leaves me precious little time - 50 books was an ambitious goal!)
I'm happy to report I read all fifty books. Reading helped me through one of the hardest years of my life.
Modeling reading also is an important part of my job as a mom. I want my teens to see mom reading, mom growing, and mom making good use of her time. My friend Sarah Mackenzie calls it a "Family Culture of Books" - and that is exactly what I want for my family.
I didn't know it was going to be such a hard year in January, but my reading resolution was quite serendipitous. Reading broadened my horizons, helped make better use of free time , and gave me something to sink my teeth into. It changed the entire demeanor of my life, and for that I am thankful. I always considered myself a reader before, but now I am a SERIOUS reader.
Strategies for More Reading Time:
I used to read all of those "reading" posts rolling my eyes and thinking, "There is no way I would have time to do all that reading.".
Well, guess what? I did have time to do all that reading. Here's how.
Intentionally Carve Out Time for Reading:
I told my family about my goal, and even encouraged them to join me. My 13-year-old son started his own Good Reads account and has read a lot more than usual this year.
By telling my family they were also aware that sometimes mom would slip out onto the porch to read, or that after dinner I would sneak up to my room to read my book. I also tried to take just a little time in the afternoons to sit and read - and amazingly sometimes a child (or two) would join me.
For our 20th anniversary, my husband and I went to the beach for a week and did nothing but READ. I requested a relaxing reading vacation and he was happy to comply. It was heaven!
When I normally would have been playing on my phone I was reading.
When I would have relaxed at night with a television show, I was reading.
If I had some extra time after running errands I would get a cup of coffee and sit in the car and read.
Reading became my priority for the year, and I am so thankful it did.
Utilize Audio Books
An Audible membership was the best investment. I could listen on car trips, driving kids back and forth to activities, and laying in bed at night.
Read With The Kids
I read all of the books my son was reading in his Challenge A class.
I also read aloud a lot to my son.
I also decided to read "young adult" books to see what types of books my daughter would enjoy and to be able to discuss more books with her, too.
Favorite books in this category?
Read With Friends/Stay Accountable
I have a few friends that were also committed to reading this year. It was so helpful to send texts back and forth about what we were reading - and to spur each other on.
In the spring I led a study of the book Liturgy of the Ordinary - probably my FAVORITE book of the year.
Reading became an integral part of my friendships this year. I love it!
I also found myself connecting with different people - other "bookish" folks.
Read a VARIETY of Books
By stretching myself to read many different categories of books I came to enjoy a wider variety of literature.
These books I probably wouldn't have picked up if I hadn't set a goal for myself -- and I REALLY enjoyed them!
Three Sources for Book Recommendations
After a while it wasn't hard to find books to read -- in fact I have a HUGE stack waiting for me. If you're wanting to start reading, I recommend these sources:
Good Reads -- diving into this site was such fun!
Recommendations from friends
Getting to know the librarians (I learned so much just chatting with the librarians when I would go to check out books!)
50 Books I Completed in One Year
Following are the books I completed.
They are in no particular order and include many genres.
I know you'll find something to read in this collection!