Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Update on Reading Challenge

I started a new 2017 Reading Program that I almost as immediately abandoned. LOL, I'm not great at following an artificial schedule or on putting pressure on myself to reach a non-essential goal. The goal I'd set was Challies' Christian reading challenge, at the Avid Reader level. As opposed to the lowest level, The Light Reader plan, where you read 13 books or 1 book every 4 weeks, I'd settled on The Avid Plan, which increases the pace to 1 book every 2 weeks.

My goal was to read more. I'd stopped reading books with the exception of The Bible, and almost all magazines (with the exception of TeaTime Magazine). I know that as a writer, daily reading is just as important as daily writing. We need to immerse ourselves in language, employ the discipline of reading, and set before our minds new thoughts, new ways to state ideas, and to just enjoy and imagine through the vehicle of language. I'd stopped. Not good.

So I used the mechanism of the Reading Challenge to re-catalyze my reading habit. I have not scrupulously followed its set formula of reading a biography followed by a book by a Puritan followed by a best seller etc, but I have adhered to its principle by widening my usual genre niches to include some genres I have not spent a lot of time in, such as romance and historical. The list of books at Challies' site is helpful in sparking my creativity with regard to different genres I would not have thought of otherwise.

I've read:

The Art of Expressive Collage by Crystal Neubauer

Maude, by Donna Mabry

Memoirs of a Medieval Woman: The Life and Times of Margery Kempe by Louise Collis

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia SanmartĂ­n Fenollera

Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano

The Witnesses, a short by James Patterson (finished just before the New Year)
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (finished just before the New Year)

And yesterday I started The Little Princesses by Marion Crawford and will begin The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen.

Not bad. And that's with the first two weeks of February being almost totally shut down, due to being tired and not feeling well. I think my interest in reading has reignited, helped by interesting books like the Medieval Woman and well-written books Maude. I'd despaired in the last couple of years, when picking up a book that was just terrible, badly written, or too profane, and I lost hope. I'd been saddened by my disappointment in the last two Grishams. I'd actually thrown away a new hard copy of Will Thomas' latest entry in my beloved Barker and Llewellen series, Fatal Enquiry, because of the unfortunate encroachment of a cultural message I simply did not want to read or expose myself to. I was disappointed in, or perhaps had outgrown, Jan Karon. So after those and other let-downs, I gave up and wallowed, adrift on a sea of booklessness.

But now I'm back! So for my overall purpose, the Reading Challenge has done its work.

I don't totally agree with this essay that says in the time you spend on social media you could read 200 books, in terms of the numbers, but I do agree with its principle that we waste more time that we realize on social media - and other activities - that could be used for reading. If you want to read (or do any other activity) you make time for it.

Here is the list, if you're interested.

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