Thursday, March 14, 2013

Purposeful Reading

(Mary Cassatt is one of my favorite impressionists)
How do you choose the books you read? Do you have a method, or just happen upon books that appeal to you and dig in? Most people probably do a little of both, but I find that being purposeful about my reading not only helps me read more than I otherwise might, but has great rewards in terms of benefits gained from good books!

As a devoted "planner" I do plan books on a monthly basis, though sometimes I add new books that come to my attention mid-month, and find myself pushing others back.  My goal is a minimum of four per month, which sometimes I surpass and occasionally I don't meet. In general, however, I choose various categories of books to purposefully move my life forward. What do I mean by that?

Specifically, choosing books that aren't just random picks, but which I select according to areas I want or need to grow in. This works out to the following, more or less:

One book on Spiritual Growth/ Spirituality/ Devotions
One on Time Management/ Efficiency/ Organizing
One on craft (for me, that's writing related)
One fiction, or miscellaneous, for reading pleasure
And one or more for novel research,. (But I don't usually read research tomes cover to cover. Usually, I skim and read portions that address the topic I'm researching at the time.)  

In addition, I always have going my Bible reading, as well as one or more daily devotionals. Since I homeschool, I give myself and my girls the luxury of not starting school at the crack of dawn, which gives me time to do all my daily readings! They get to sleep in while mom reads and prays. I sometimes get them started on their school tasks first, if I'm running late, say, but I love the quiet in the house when I let them sleep. (I have a few older ones who follow their own work and school schedules, but generally, mornings are pretty quiet.)

To do my non-devotional fiction and non-fiction reading, I go to bed about an hour or more earlier than I want to turn out the lights, and read then. Of course, I love to read!

My picks for this month are:

1. In Six Days: Why 50 Scientists Believe in Creation (Spirituality; Apologetics) (Really interesting; but a carryover unfinished from last month)
2. A Praying Life (Christian Growth)
3. The Story Template (Craft)
4. Austenland, by Shannon Hale (Fiction.)
5. The Enchanted April (A 2nd fiction selection since I finished Austenland. Trying to read more old classics.) 
5. A non-fiction book that was an add-in
6. A manuscript of a completed novel by a friend (the name of which I can't give since it isn't published, yet. And I hope it will be published, since it was a page-turner! I read it practically non-stop.)
7. An Ebook on organizing

I also quickly read a daily selection from A Jane Austen Devotional, and  The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar. 

However, if I'm reading a pick that is boring or in any way inferior, I'm quick to ditch it. Life is too short to waste on poorly written books! Do you fall into the trap of, "I started it, I gotta finish it?" Once upon a time, that was me. NOT ANY MORE.

What about you? Do you plan your reading? Do you need to? I keep a list of each month's books in my day-timer on a page at the beginning of each month, and this way nothing falls through the cracks.



chaplaindebbie said...

You know, I have so many books that I own, that I want to read, but I don't have a set plan....yet. Thanks to your inspiration, I am going to make a list of what I have and put them in order, as to importance of reading. Thanks again for some great advice, Linore! God bless.

Linore Burkard said...

Glad you found it helpful, Deb! Becoming purposeful will surely move you ahead and making inroads to that reading list in no time. :)

Nancy R. Cudis said...

If last year was my year of reading lots of short stories, my purpose this year is to read lots of children's and middle-grade fantasy and literary fiction and I want to think I started the year right because I read a lot of books and finished them. Some of the books are serials. If the first book in the series is something I don't like then I finish the whole book before ditching the entire series. Thank you for this post. For me, being purposeful in reading is important.

Amada Chavez said...

I usually don't plan but I probably should LOL! I read the books that I have a deadline to review in the order that I got them in the mail/when the deadline is. But everything else I wait til when I'm ready to start another book and go through what I have at hand :)

Linore Burkard said...

Nancy, you sound like you are purposeful and reaping the benefits of that. It feels good when we meet our goals, doesn't it? Amada, when you have stacks of books to review, it gets hard to read anything just for pleasure, as you NEED to finish those first. I've become very choosy about what I'll agree to review for that reason, and because I don't want to be committed to reviewing a book I don't like. But authors need reviewers, so hurrah for you!