my personal reading challenge


There was a time in my life when I was reading 2-3 books a week. For pleasure.

That didn’t include the reading I had to do for work or school, which was often pleasurable, but not necessarily.

And then something happened, and I quit reading for pleasure. Other things required my attention, and I still had to read for work, so I kind of let that go. I’m knocking that out right now. I still have a lot of reading to do for work, some of it is good and fun, but most is very dry and academic.

I’m reclaiming my love of literature!

Right here! Right now!

I plan to read 25 books in what remains of 2015. That’s about a book every couple of weeks or so. Very do-able. In fact, some of you might think I’m low-balling based on my previous habits. Nope. I’m setting a goal I can handle, but there’s a twist. I’m going to qualify the books.

1. A totally gratuitous and vapid book that I’ll forget the moment I set it down after finishing it.
2. A biography.
3. A history book. Preferably American history because I’m weak there.
4. A book about music. The Inextinguishable Symphony by Martin Goldsmith
5. A book about an artist.
6. A book of poetry.
7. A book about prayer.
8. A science-fiction novel. Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
9. A book about Catholic theology.
10. A book about writing.
11. A classic.
12. A New York Times best-seller.
13. A book in Spanish.
14. A romance.
15. A murder mystery.
16. A book about a Saint.
17. A book BY a Saint.
18. A book by a friend. A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac by Margaret Rose Really
19. A book about photography.
20. A book about science. Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the Man Who Invented the 20th Century by Sean Patrick
21. A book with a pretty cover. Yes, I’m going to judge it.
22. A book with an ugly cover. I’ll stay open minded.
23. A banned book. Hey. It’s me we’re talking about here.
24. A book that’s been sitting on my bookshelf, unread, for years.
25. A book you recommend.

I’ll come back here and review the book, and cross it off the list. Let’s see how far I can get. 🙂

Don’t forget to leave me recommendations in the comments. And of course, you’re invited to play along with me!

reading is fun-damental

only 9 -- wanna suggest 3 more for an even dozen?

When I was a kid, fascinated by comic books and cartoon adventures of superheroes bounding through the air, I wanted more than anything to have a superpower.

Of course, I never realized that my superpower could be cultivated by my silly little adventures hiding from my mother while I secretly read, not so much forbidden books, as being forbidden from reading at the moment when I should have been doing something else, such as cleaning my room.

My secret place, the space behind the bookshelf that was in the corner of my room, was the perfect hiding place. No one knew I had the strength to move the shelf just enough to squeeze my little body through. Maybe they knew, maybe they didn’t, but I read many books in that little corner of my 10-year-old heaven. And a few years later, read one or two titles that I had no business reading.

In all that time, I was developing a superpower that would be particularly useful in my major, and in my career. I learned to read fast and retain some pretty decent comprehension. I had to read fast. My mom could swoop into my room at any moment to check on my progress.

Believe me, I got busted plenty of times, but it never kept me from going back to the book the minute she took off down the hall.

So now I find myself in the grown up version of those Saturday afternoons. I have plenty of chores to do, Mom-sized, not kid-sized, and the allure of my reading stack is pulling and pulling and pulling. I want to disappear into the little office off my kitchen, throw myself on the sofa that’s too short for my long legs, and bury my toes into the cushions.

I want to read with the kind of abandon I had as a child.

Hmmm. Come to think of it, there are lots of things I should be doing with the abandon I had as a child.

But grown-up me says I have to clean my room, first. And so, I will. Clean my room. And then, I’m gonna read. Cuz it’d be a shame to waste a rainy day.