Monday, September 18, 2006

What I Read and Why

Ever since Katrina announced her Fall into Reading Challenge, I have thought about the books I want to read and why. I buy a good bit of Christian nonfiction, and I also enjoy some historical or travel nonfiction, and other informational books, but these are generally started, read somewhat avidly as they interest me, and then sort of put aside, not for lack of interest, but simply because it's harder to read than a mindless magazine, a short blog, or a fiction pageturner. So I hope that by naming these books that I really want to read, I will make sure that I get through them before pursuing whatever else ends up in my hands. I am excited about making time for intentional reading this fall. The amount that I read tends to rise and fall with my level of activity, other interests, or just the fact that I have, or don't have, a good book on my nightstand. In thinking about the list I wanted to create for the challenge, I've analyzed why I enjoy reading, why it's a worthy use of my time, and why I should select books carefully.

  • It relaxes me. Unlike other hobbies or self-indulgant pleasures like reading and writing blogs or watching TV or talking on the phone, reading relaxes me, and stimulates me at the same time, while I am sitting still, focusing on nothing else but the written word.
  • It educates me. Whether it's reading a novel about the kind of character I will never be (a single man in law enforcement, living in Florida, for example), a travel memoir for a place I may never visit, or a nonfiction parenting or discipleship book, reading expands my horizons.
  • It fuels my creativity. I've found that my writing goes hand in hand with my reading. Good writing, or different writing and books, plants seeds in my head that sometimes come out on paper.
At first I thought that I would focus mostly on the nonfiction that I have started, but not finished, or the books that have been sitting on my shelf that I've really wanted to read. I've been sort of in between novels for the last week or so, and I realized that when I'm not deeply engrossed in a good fiction read, I read less overall. Seems contradictory, but I think it's true. So, with that said, I'm going to be sure I have plenty of fiction on my list.

I will post my list Thursday, and I would love to read yours, too. Her idea and challenge are here.

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What about blogs and carnivals?

I have heard several mention that making a commitment to read will bring them back to it, instead of just browsing on the web. I agree that sometimes reading blogs cuts into reading pages, but I do love to read blogs that encourage me, uplift me or challenge me as a believer, or make me laugh. I also am inspired in my own writing by reading honest, relevant and well-written blog posts.

I have participated in another Carnival of Family Life this week. I enjoy reading carnivals because occasionally I find a new blog that I want to add to my daily or weekly list, or I can enjoy reading certain blogs on the certain weeks that they particpate in a carnival. Kailani was very creative in putting together the entries, so if you are looking for some good reads, click here.


Kailani said...

Thank you for the carnival shout!

I think I will go and check out Callapiddar's challenge.

Overwhelmed! said...

I need to check out Katrina's "Fall into Reading Challenge." Thanks for alerting me to this.

And I also need to check out the carnivals. I've been meaning to do that but I keep getting sidetracked.

I wanted to mention, each time I go to your blog, I fall in love with your blog design all over again. It really is quite lovely! :) Just thought you should know!

Katrina said...

The reasons you listed for reading are definitely my top 3 reasons as well, and in that order. My list is going to be a mix of fiction and non-fiction too. Non-fiction are the ones I have to push myself to finish (before jumping to the latest book to enter the house), but fiction is my first love, so I have to have to include it! Thanks for spreading the word - I can't wait to see everyone's lists!

Dianne said...

I can't think of 3 better reasons to read. Looking forward to this challenge as well.

Robin said...

Too funny, Jennifer. You just addressed what I alluded to in my comments. Funny! (re: reading cutting into blog time....)