It started during my screen-off week. Alone, at home, without the internet to distract me, I picked up an old favorite, curled up on the couch, and began to read books. I went through seven that week alone and another three this week.
I wish I could properly explain my lifelong love affair with books; hopefully, if you know me, it’s rather apparent. If you don’t, I can only try to explain…I eat, sleep, and breathe books. I was once grounded from reading (seriously, ask my mother!), and I still found ways to sneak around and read. I went to college to read books. Even though, every person who asked looked at me doubtfully (How did I ever expect to make any money with a major like that!?), but all I saw were syllabi filled with new books to read. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve spent awake reading until dawn without even realizing the time was passing.
I think, more than anything, my unplugged week helped me realize how much I missed reading. Too often lately I’ve let myself become distracted by Facebook or Pinterest, and I’ve let chances to sit down and read pass me by. But not anymore. I’ve made a goal to read 75 books in 2012; I’m through 23 already. For the last 2 years, I’ve been keeping track of all the books I’ve read. They range from Harry Potter to parenting books to a biography of Jane Austen; I’ll read anything that sparks my interest. I think people should read what interests them, whether that is a wide variety of books or strictly Star Wars fanfiction; I don’t care as long as they are reading something.
I’ve talked before about how reading is a high quality way to spend time, as opposed to other forms of “relaxation,” such as watching television or playing video games. Reading utilizes thought processes and imagination in a way that little else does.
If you find that you’ve been distracted from reading, or you have a long list of books waiting for you, or if you find yourself saying, “If only I had time to read,” think about what is really stopping you, and address it. If the internet is distracting you, have a screen off week. If your list of books is daunting, pare it down to just a few. If you can’t find time to read, don’t wait for your schedule to open itself up because that will never happen; instead eliminate some time-wasting activities, or allow yourself 30 minutes before bed to wind down and read. Whatever it takes to get a book in your hand.
The title of this post comes from a fantastic quote by C.S. Lewis: “We read to know we are not alone.” And we aren’t alone. The condition of being human is universal, and we feel that when we connect with characters, authors, and other readers. Even if we are by ourselves, if we have a book, we are never really alone.
If you are looking for recommendations, here are some great books I recommend:
1. Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl. This is the best mix of science fiction and fantasy I have ever read. One of my all-time favorites.
2. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson. A great Regency romance. (If you like this genre, also check out Sarah M. Eden.)
3. Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. This is the first book I read about simplicity and parenting, and by far, one of the best. If you doubt that children really fare better with less, please read this book.
4. Elantris or anything by Brandon Sanderson. Brandon Sanderson is far and away my favorite author. I own two copies of all of his books (hard and softcover) and they are all signed. Elantris was his first published novel, followed by the Mistborn trilogy, Warbreaker, The Way of Kings, and Alloy of Law. He is also finishing the Wheel of Time series. If you are a fan of fantasy, or want to get into it, I would definitely suggest reading anything (or everything) he’s written.
5. The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers. If you have kids, this is a must have. I bought this book four times last Christmas, and I foresee buying it again in the future. Fantastic drawings and simple text; in my opinion, it’s one of the best picture books out there. (And I read a lot of picture books for someone without children…)
Any recommendations for me?