how i read.

Lately, I’ve had quite a few people ask me how I manage to read – given a newborn and a toddler, a house to look after, articles and posts and chapters to write (…well, not this month), and talks to prepare.  And honestly, I’m not exactly sure how it happens, but sometimes, somehow, someway it does.  Here are some thoughts:

Current reads.
Current reads.

*Books are accessible.  At home, there are books in the living room and the bedroom, the kitchen and even the bathroom.  I find that if there’s a book sitting there staring at me, I’m more likely to pick it up and read it, even if just for a minute or two.

*Sometimes reading is brief, at best.  I used to think that reading required a quiet library and earphones and a lengthy amount of time; sometimes now I only get a page read at a time, but a page is still a page.

*The current season allows for it.  My job is two-fold: I mostly take care of my babies, and I sometimes write and speak.  We have people who help us out with childcare two days a week, but on the other five days a week, I find I can successfully manage ONE outing a day.  That means that we’re usually home the majority of the afternoon for nap times and such …so, I pull out a book.

*Books are on me.  I always have a book in my purse, because you don’t know how many times I’ve been out and about and have had to pull over to feed Baby Brother.  I’d rather read a few pages than scroll through Facebook, again.

*I choose reading.  So often in our social media-driven culture, we’re bombarded with technology all the time – asking us to believe in it and buy into it and beg for more more more.  I finally updated my phone the other day, and found that it had this handy dandy new Health app installed on it, which tracks how many steps I take daily.  But really, by participating in this, I’m silently being asked to carry my phone on me every minute of the day.  And let’s be honest: I don’t need to be attached to my phone anymore than I already am.  It’s already a distraction.  It already pulls me away from the now, from being present to my children and husband and the explosion of life around me.  If I have free time, I’d rather my child see me grab a book to read than stare absentmindedly at the screen in front me.  So, I choose books.

*Audible, Audible, Audible.  There are so many audio book options out there, but Audible is my favorite.  One credit = one book = $10/month.  Obviously you can buy more credits for a substantial discount, and they run fabulous Daily Deals.  I listen to books while I’m driving, making dinner, folding laundry or out for a walk, and find that I “read” 2-3 books per month this way.

*Books are plentiful.  Like I said earlier, books are everywhere in our house, even though, after reading, I only keep the ones I think I’ll read or reference again.  (And the ones I don’t keep, I then pass off to a friend, sell on Amazon, trade on Paperback Swap or give to Goodwill).  But there’s always an option, which brings up the following problem: all the books I’ve acquired but have yet to read…

Exhibit A.
Exhibit A.
Exhibit B.
Exhibit B.

*I read with distractions.  I’m thinking primarily of football here: the HBH (Hot Black Husband) loves the game – I, on the other hand, am slowly growing in my like for it.  So if there’s a game on television (for the fifth day in a row), I don’t mind catching a page here or there.

*I just say no.  Like the Nancy Reagan anti-drug campaign pounded into elementary me in the 80’s, I Just Say No! to bad books.  Life is too short to waste time on horrid literature, so if it’s not catching me, to the Goodwill pile it goes.  I’ve also become a huge fan of Goodreads in the last year, and find that it’s helped me weed out books that may not float my boat.

*Better readers make better writers.  My love to write motivates my love to read.  That’s all.

The bottom line is this: reading is whatever you make it to be.  Yes, I watch television, which usually ends up equating to one show a day (minus right now with the current San Francisco – Kansas City showdown.  Go Giants!)

Yes, I try my hardest to make the people I love, those who are two inches and two feet in front of me, my priority.

But yes, I also find time to give heed to the power of words.

What about you?

So, how do you read?  What would you add to this list?  And what, on the current “to-read shelf” would you make my next reading priority?  (Also, if you haven’t already, leave a comment on Saturday’s post to win a copy of The Hardest Peace …because your chances of winning are pretty darn good).    

18 thoughts on “how i read.

  1. Lovely words of inspiration. I’m finding the working full time + kiddos + healthy living makes reading harder to prioritize. BUT, I agree that having good books sitting around is the KEY. Plus I believe that there is almost no better activity I can model to my child than sitting and reading a book when I have downtime. Million to one over phone/computer zombie-ing.

    1. I’m not sure if you saw it but do you like that I’m reading Jane Eyre again? YAY!!! Still your favorite? (it’s our November book club pick) – and did you see Huston Smith’s World Religions (YOUR COPY) STILL on my to-read shelf? xo.

      Cara Meredith

      writer, speaker, musician. carameredith.com

      1. Hahahaha..I am very glad to hear that you’re reading Jane Eyre. She will always hold an incredibly dear place in my heart…not sure I have a favorite book any more. If I had to pick, I think I might actually go with Dickens…possibly Pickwick Papers. He melts my heart continuously and I’m always so sad to complete a book. Huston Smith will not disappoint you. I will trust that you will dive in just when you need it most. I’m reading/relishing “The Sea, The Sea” by Iris Murdoch right now–can’t recommend it enough. You also don’t comment on magazines in this post. We are crazy magazine readers in Chez Haidle. Always stacks and stacks–and we both try to read them all. Very consuming, but fun. I will always prefer novels, but magazines feel invigorating in a different way to me. Onward and upward, book nerds unite!

  2. Your book shelves look like mine! I always have more than one book going at a time. Grab the moments of time to read when I can. I also make reading a spiritually centered book as part of my time with God in the morning! Love reading!

    1. Marvae, YES! I’m loving Light Upon Light for those morning cup o’ coffee times – it’s actually about the advent season, but it’s LOVELY nonetheless.

      Cara Meredith

      writer, speaker, musician. carameredith.com

  3. Lady, this post is LOVERLY! 🙂 And I love the fact that you have so many deep and thought provoking reads in your pile! 🙂 I too, am just like you, in the fact that my hubs LOVES football, and well–I’m learning to like it. (Can we talk about the fact that I knew my husband might actually love me when he willingly explained to me the concept of ‘a down’ in football, and didn’t run screaming in the other direction? 😉 And the words “Better readers make better writers”–yes ma’m and Amen! I’m trying my best to get a writing education through the words I read. I’ve got some wonderful books in my current reading stack: The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Natalie Goldberg’s new book on writing- The True Secret of Writing, and Breathing Room by Leanna Tankersley (a new to me blogger’s first book. I’ve been highlighting it like mad). I just finished Tables In The Wilderness by Preston Yancey, and MY STARS, can that child write!! (I can’t believe he’s only 25, and writes like that. Mercy!). Thanks for this lovely post! 🙂

    1. You are one of my favorite commenters, I’ve got to say. 🙂 I LOVE your book suggestions and stand in solidarity with you when it comes to All Things Football. In this with you. 😉

      Cara Meredith

      writer, speaker, musician. carameredith.com

  4. Just say NO to bad books! Why oh why did it take me so long to learn this? In my season of life, I’ve been “reading” a ton by listening to audiobooks during my commute. That’s pretty much the only time I get, and sometimes I’m tempted by podcasts or NPR, but I always come back to wanting to escape with a great story (and not think about how much I’m spending on gas!)

    1. Are we the same person, just several states apart? 🙂 While I don’t have the regularity of a long commute, I too usually try NPR or return a phone call before cracking open Audible …but I do love finishing what I’ve started, so it remains a tension. 🙂

      Cara Meredith

      writer, speaker, musician. carameredith.com

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