What I’m Reading {December 2017}

It’s day sixteen of my 21 Day Writing Challenge. Today’s prompt is reading, specifically, what am I reading right now. In the past month, I haven’t done much actual reading, but I have given it more serious thought than ever before.

My typical method of reading has been to pick up whatever book interests me at the moment. In the not so distant past, I would need to get up early in the morning to avoid disturbing anyone. In those days, reading or writing was not an activity I was encouraged to do or had all much time to do.

Since then, circumstances have changed, and once again I have the opportunity to read as freely as I did in college. There are only two differences between now and then. One is that I have far less time. I have a newfound awareness of its brevity, and the need to manage this limited resource a whole lot better.  The other is direction (the simple complex decision of what to read). So many books, so little time. It’s a cliche because it’s true.

Most of my reading lately is focused on spirituality, psychology, and self-help. It’s been a difficult year. I am in transition. My choices these days are Psalms and Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton.

I spent some time this month adding and organizing my books on Goodreads for the first time ever. It’s daunting to see people with hundreds and even thousands of titles on their virtual shelves.

Last night I spent hours rereading my personal journals for this year, reflecting on what I’ve learned and on my progress.

In the upcoming year, I hope to read more poetry, memoir, and certain books in the magical realism genre.

Other books I’m slowly but surely working my way through:

–Necessary Losses by Judith Viorst
–The New Diary: How to use a journal for self-guidance and expanded creativity by Tristine Rainer

Books I’m thinking about reading soon will possibly be:

–No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin
–The Penguin Book of the Sonnet

And, of course, I also read poetry blogs.

It can be a little overwhelming, and I’m still in the process of creating a comprehensive list of what I’d like to read.

Reading: Preferences

One of my goals in the coming year is to read more and to make a daily habit of reading.

Deciding what to read has been a challenge for me.

I come across many book recommendations, but in all honesty, I don’t always agree with them.

I’ve always feared this was a liability as a reader, a writer, and an educated person.  However, I’m just now realizing that I don’t have to worry about feeling guilty about not reading something that just doesn’t interest me.

Sometimes I find a subject or genre interesting, but I don’t enjoy a particular author’s writing style, or their perspective is so opposite from mine that I have difficulty appreciating it. I do believe it’s important to be a well-rounded person and to be able to see the world from different points of view. However, I don’t think I’ll be reading much military fiction, romance, or young adult fiction in the near future. They’re just not for me.

I recently came across a free novel by Ernest Hemmingway. Even though I recognize his skill as a writer, I know I’m probably not going to enjoy Islands in the Stream. So I’ll be passing it along.

Preferences are something that I’m going to need to pay closer attention to if I want to succeed in my goal of developing a reading habit. As with any other choice that we must make about how to spend our time and energy, reading material is no different. I’d like to be self-aware and discerning, and I definitely plan on making more conscious choices in my reading selections this year. I am hoping this helps me as a reader, a writer and as a person.