When I put away Christmas decorations, make goals and plan for the New Year, I make my reading list. A strange thing to do perhaps, but as I've told you before, reading is an important part of my life. Reading is more than just a hobby for me--it is the way I learn and grow in life. I doubt I would be as far as I am without the books that have shaped me. Most particularly, the Book. I strive to always read God's Word first and take it as the ultimate authority upon which I base all other writings. Just because I read or even recommend a book does not mean I agree with it 100%. In fact, other than the Bible, I haven't found a book that I agree with completely, but many that I believe are mostly grounded in God's Word.
- Decide it's important. If you don't really enjoy reading or you have other hobbies you'd rather pursue, you probably won't get very far on a reading list. I'm not saying that everyone has to read. Rather, I'm trying to show you how to make time for it if it is as important to you as it is to me.
- Focus. I would hope that we all read God-honoring books, but even good novels can sometimes be a waste of time for a busy mother. You will find a few on my list, but I've found if I'm going to make reading a profitable hobby, I do better to read things that will better me as a wife, mother and home manager. My personal criteria for a book is it has to make me think, laugh or cry (bonus if it does all three!). If you are a novelist, have more time to spend on reading, or are in a different season of life than I am; your reading lists will probably look very different than mine. The key is to focus on what will make your life better. In order to focus on the important reading, I decide ahead of time what books I will read through the year. I may add to or subtract from the list as I go through the year, but at least I have a plan to read so many books on the few important topics I want to explore.
- Use online tools. I keep a notepad on my computer desktop with the books I plan to read and another one with books I want to read. If I come across a book recommendation on a blog or from a friend, I put it on the "want to read" list. When I decide what to read for the year, I transfer it from my "want to read" list to my "books to read this year" list. If I'm not sure I want to read something, I look it up on amazon.com to look inside it and read others' reviews on it. I reserve books online at my local library so I can just pick them up without wasting time browsing shelves. If I want to read a book that my library doesn't have, I check paperbackswap.com. I also use my swagbucks to purchase amazon gift cards to buy the books I can't find elsewhere.
- Make a time. Our alarm clocks go off at a certain time each morning. We have set mealtimes (usually). If your kids go to school or other activities, you have a certain time you have to have them there. We make time to do the basic household chores.Why not make a time to read? I told you mine already. Some mothers read while nursing. Others read while waiting for their children at an activity. If you don't have young children or any children, it may be even easier to fit reading into your schedule.
Happy Reading in 2011! What's on your reading list this year?