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Hi.

Welcome to my book blog.  My annual goal is to read 100 books per year and share my love of reading with my two daughters.

Reading More

Reading More

Me in my reading chair, wearing my favorite reading sweater.

Me in my reading chair, wearing my favorite reading sweater.

A few years ago I was a mother of two, working full-time and would read a few books per year that were complete mind-numbing trash.  I would read on vacation, but it was not a part of my daily life. 

In 2014, I was invited to a book club with a reading commitment I was pretty sure I could manage.  We read only one book during the course of a year -- The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  As a group, we would read a chapter each month and made habit goals based on a life theme like "energy" or "family." During "leisure" month, we reflected on the hobbies we had as children and made a goal to revive an activity purely for the joy of it.  As I thought back to my childhood, I realized that I spent much of it with my nose in a book.  Some of that was certainly an escape from things I needed to escape from.  But also… I just liked reading.  Then I began to grow up and as I had more responsibilities, reading for fun became a smaller part of my life.  As a high school, college and law school student, I read less as each year went by.  Then when I had kids, reading became a forgotten activity almost completely and something I only occasionally did to feel less guilty about watching television every single night.

The year I was in The Happiness Project book club, I began reading again gradually – maybe 5-10 books that year.  After I started reading again, I began to read things that were not entertainment-only-trash.  I found myself more engaged as a reader when I read books with better writing.  Go figure. 

I started reading outside my comfortable literary diet of John Grisham, Nora Roberts, and Dan Brown that had dominated my adult reading.  Owning a Kindle let me comfortably try out new genres (because all books look the same if you’re reading an ebook).  As a kid, I never read fantasy or science fiction because I found the book covers in that section of the bookstore so… alienating.  Something about the Harlequin-style illustrations of knights, aliens, dragons and other monsters gave me the creeps.   There seemed to be no middle ground in between standard fiction and full-blown D&D role-playing status.  As a kid, picking up that kind of book was too big a leap for a 14-year-old band-geek who still wanted to have a boyfriend or two in the near future. 

Once I found a few page-turners – books that wowed me and made me feel like I did reading Judy Blume’s Blubber or Roald Dahl’s Matilda – I discovered that I had lots of time to read.  I just wasn’t prioritizing my energy for a hobby that required a little more active concentration than the latest addictive Netflix marathon.  I found that starting my day several hours earlier with a few cups of caffeinated heaven and a good book made me feel less frantic in my morning routine.  I began going to sleep earlier, which meant I spent a lot less time in the evenings watching TV.  I began exercising and listening to audiobooks, which increased my reading count considerably.  I joined another book club with several women who read comics and graphic novels.  I discovered that there are some dope-ass-feminists creating comics and graphic novels these days. 

I used to read one book at a time.  I discovered that many of my reading friends liked to read multiple books at a time, so I tried it.  I found that I read more as a whole if I have 3-5 books in rotation.  I don't get “stuck” on a book that isn’t clicking with me for whatever reason.  Instead of asking myself in a spare moment “maybe I should read?” I asked myself, “what do I feel like reading right now.”  I found that I liked different genres at different times of the day.  I like “thinking” non-fiction like personal development and business books in the morning when I am most rested.  I spend my time in the shower and driving to work reflecting on what I’ve just read.  Nothing makes me happier while breaking a sweat than a comedian or feminist’s memoir.  Or better yet, a comedic feminist’s memoir (i.e. Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Amy Schumer, Samantha Bee, etc.).  I like fantasy, science fiction, and YA at night when I am tired and just want to think about something other than real life.

I read 42 books in 2016 and followed up with 65 books in 2017.  This past year I also changed jobs, moved our family to a new house, got a puppy, and dealt with several serious medical issues with myself and my kids.  I still have the same family and work obligations I did five years ago, but I am reading 2-3 books a week.  I don’t actually have that much more free time than I did reading 2-3 books a year.  I just had to figure out how to fit something I love into my working-mom-life.  From that, my life is richer, more fulfilling, happier, and more fun.  I have more interesting things to talk about with people to mix up the standard conversation starters of generic gossip and “my kid did the funniest thing last week.”

I decided that 2018 is the year I will conquer 100 books.  It’s doable, but a definite challenge.  My next thought: “Well if I’m going all in with a new year’s resolution, why not start a blog along with it?” 

We’ll see how this goes, but if nothing else I will be excited to have a place to connect with other readers online.  Having a blog also gives me a reason to break my Luddite-Facebook-posting ways.  I'm learning true life-skills of the 21st century this year opening my first Instagram and Twitter accounts.  Never Snapchat, though.  I have standards.  Also, those filters with the big eyes creep me out.

Thank you for reading and if you have any tips, book recommendations, or a similar experience, please don’t hesitate to share in the comments.

Tales from Outer Suburbia

Tales from Outer Suburbia

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle