Sunday, June 11, 2017
Reading Lists and Reading Goals
Like many of you, I have always considered myself somewhat of a reader. My Dear Mother was an avid reader, and as children, we often found her in her favorite chair in the late afternoon or early evening reading a good book. As the mother of six children, she kept very busy most of the day every day, but she still loved a good book and found time to read, and read aloud to us too, but once I learned to read, a whole new world opened up, and it was often a challenge to get me to put down my book long enough to do my chores, practice the piano, go outside to play, or even come to dinner.
During my high school years, and especially during college, my available time for reading for pleasure greatly diminished. I fondly remember visiting the college library the minute my finals were over for a nice binge on fiction during the semester breaks. Yes, I admit, I'm not very much of an intellectual reader. I did often skim the news back in the days when we still received a daily newspaper, and would peruse almost any magazine that came into the house (National Geographic, Parent's Magazine, Utah Farmer Stockman, Farm and Dairy, etc. I enjoy a good biography and sometimes will read other non-fiction, but most of my reading material is what I consider "Fluff". Books that are meant to entertain and provide relaxation and an outlet from the daily pressures of life.
As a young mother I read quite a bit more than I currently do, including many many children's books. We often visited our local public libraries wherever we lived, participating in almost every pre-school story time program and all of the summer reading programs every year. The kids could usually finish the entire summer reading program in a matter of days or weeks, and were usually at the top of their class in school reading assignments and programs too. I had a friend who strongly advocated that a stay at home Mom needed and deserved a weekly morning or afternoon devoted to reading a good book. I think that she usually reserved Thursdays for such activity, and I never felt too terribly guilty for spending a day where my main activity was reading. Now if the one day a week stretched into two or three, then I knew that I was going overboard a bit, and tried to get back to other household and family activities for a while.
After our youngest child, DD4 started school all day, I soon found a part time job, so never really have had full days at home alone (although that does sound pretty much like heaven to me!!) and once she graduated from High School in 2013, I began working full time. At that point my fictional and recreational reading, as well as my nonfictional reading really dropped off dramatically, and I actually decided that I needed to start setting goals about reading!! Can you imagine that? Me, the known bookworm of my family and my school class needing to set reading goals?
Some of you may be familiar with Goodreads.com. Goodreads sponsors a yearly reading challenge, where you set your goal for how many books you plan to read during the year. Just in case you're interested here is a summary of my recent goals and my actual books read for the years that I have participated:
Year Goal Number of Books Completed
2011 56 66
2012 70 74
2013 52 48
2014 ? 35
2015 0 11
2016 24 16
2017 24 14 so far as if June 16, 2017.
I'm more than halfway to my 2017 reading goal! I might just reach my goal again this year!
See, the year that I started working full time, 2013, was also the year that I started reading much less. And it has only gotten worse! Granted, we have also had to deal with parents' failing health and some other issues the past few years, but it's now time to get back into reading!! I have been paying more attention to suggested reading lists and seeing what books my reading education has missed out on, and paying more attention to what my family and friends are reading. My visits to the library have increased, and I'm back to putting many more recommended books on hold at the library, and I am trying to read more. Hopefully it's not just "fluffy" stuff, but I'm not judging myself too harshly right now either. So, if you want to see how well I do, feel free to friend me on Goodreads and find out how well I do!!
Throughout this reading slump of mine, I have continued with my nearly life-long goal of reading from the scriptures on a daily basis. Am I always successful with this goal? Of course not, but I keep trying. I find that I do best when I set a time early in the morning to read for 30 minutes or so from the scriptures, once I am awake, but before my mind is too tired or occupied with the concerns of the day. Sometimes it is only a five-minute verse or two, and sometimes I can put in an hour or more. Life is different every day, but every day is absolutely better when I take this time to read the word of God.
What about you? What are your reading goals?
"It is a paradox that men will gladly devote time every day for many years to learn a science or an art, yet will expect to win a knowldege of the gospel, which comprehends all sciences and arts, through perfunctory glances at books or occasional listening to sermons. The gospel should be studied more intensively than any school or college subject.
--- Elder John A Widtsoe
Another wonderful inspirational message by God's current living prophet:
The Power of the Book of Mormon, by President Thomas S Monson