Reading Plans for 2016
It seems that 2016 is the year of Reading Challenges. Have you seen the one Tim Challies put on his blog? (Complete with printable category lists.) Redeemed Reader has a version for younger readers as well. I'm starting to see personal lists showing up on various blogs I read such as this one or this one or this one.
Up until now, I've been a fairly spontaneous reader. I tend make book choices based on various reviews and favorite authors, but now, for the first time, I've compiled a moderately thorough list of books across a number of genres and themes to read in the new year. Strange, considering that I've been making such literature lists for my kids for years!
I suppose I've shied away from making my own literature lists because I enjoy the freedom of picking whatever appeals to me at a given time. Reading is my primary relaxation. I read nearly every night for at least a few minutes, even on those nights I'm totally spent. And I haven't wanted to ruin that time by making it drudgery.
But this year is going to be different! Because this year I'm going to actually work from a list of titles I've put together. And the reason is because I want to expand the types of books I read and aim for some more helpful volumes than the ones I naturally turn to.
And yet, in order to not turn my favorite pastime into heavy labor, I've put together some guidelines. I want to keep reading fun, but challenge myself at the same time.
Anne's Notes to Self for 2016 Reading:1. Aim to read widely over numerous genres and themes!
2. Read wisely.
2. Have three (sometimes more) books to choose from at any give time.
One should be "stiff," one "moderately easy," and one a novel. Of these, one should be a book which will help me grow spiritually. Here's what "A." wrote back in 1892 in Charlotte Mason's Parent's Review magazine:
The wisest woman I ever knew–the best wife, the best mother, the best mistress, the best friend–told me once, when I asked her how, with her weak health and many calls upon her time, she managed to read so much, “I always keep three books going–a stiff book, a moderately easy book, and a novel, and I always take up the one I feel fit for!” That is the secret; always have something “going” to grow by. If we mothers were all “growing” there would be less going astray among our boys, less separation in mind from our girls.
3. It's OK to reject a book after giving it a fair try.
4. It's OK to go on a jag on one topic or author, but keep in check.
(Because so often reading one book leads to another on a similar topic as interest is piqued!)
5. Re-reading books is allowed.
6. Create a large list to draw from.
I did this on Goodreads by making different bookshelves for the titles I'm interested in. For sure I won't read everyone of the 51 books on my "To Read" shelf, and I'll certainly read some that aren't there yet. But this gives me a good start on deciding that old question, "What should I read next?"
7. Do a better job keeping track of what I've read.
I'll attempt to do this both on Goodreads and also in my reading journal. Up to this point, I've been very spotty in using both of these tools.
What will I be reading in 2016?
I don't entirely know, which is exciting. But I can say that I'm eagerly anticipating a number of my options such as Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon; Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us About Crime; and E. M. Bound's classic, Power Through Prayer. Since we're all but at the New Year, I've gotten a head start this week with these books:
1. Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret (Howard Taylor)
2. Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)
3. Mrs. Tim of the Regiment (D. E. Stevenson)
Here's to a 2016 with both wide and wise reading!