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 always been to pick up whatever book interested me in the moment. I would 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. It wouldn’t be far from the truth to say it was forbidden.
I kept most of my books in my closet. Occasionally, when my interests or focus would change, I would spend several hours, sometimes little by little over the course of several days, ordering and arranging them in a kind of system.
Since then, circumstances have changed, and I once again have the opportunity to read as freely as I did in college. There are only two differences: time (a newfound awareness of its brevity, and the management of this limited resource) and direction (the simple complex decision of what to read).
Most of my reading lately is focused on spirituality, psychology, and self-help. It’s been a difficult year. My choices these days are Psalms and Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton.
I spent some time this month organizing my books on Goodreads. It’s daunting to see people with hundreds and even thousands of titles on their virtual shelves. I also created a system for intentional reading and learning. It’s part book queue and part note-taking system on Evernote.
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’ll most likely read next will be No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin, and The Penguin Book of the Sonnet.
It can be a little overwhelming, and I’m still in the process of creating a working system to read more in general (going to try a 20 pages a day habit) and to read more efficiently and effectively, as a writer.