Tips To Help You Read More Books This Year
Before I share with you my tips to help you read more books this year, I’d like to share how this challenge began?
It seems that when we stopped watching t.v. in 2009, we had A LOT of time on our hands. We began to study God’s Word more and have really appreciated all the ‘extra’ time we’ve found. Last year, 2013, a friend was posting some books that she had read or was currently reading. I trust her recommendations and began reading some of the books that she shared on various social media platforms. I then began to notice how many books she was reading in a relatively short period of time. I took the challenge. I don’t mean she challenged me, but I challenged myself, though not to out read her or anyone else. It wasn’t that kind of challenge. The challenge was to see how much my life could change, as well as my faith, over the next year, if I began to read more. I had already been reading a few books here and there, but now, I wanted to see how life could be different if I really applied myself. I’ve always loved books and reading, so this was a pretty natural and fun transition for me. I was amazed that at the end of the year I had read 70 books! In the past, because of lack of focus mostly, I would read MAYBE 2-3 books all year. Odd considering how much I really do enjoy reading.
What’s to enjoy about reading?
Reading is so much more than transferring words from paper to our eyes. It’s a process, and joy, by which we, for brief moments, are taken from our reality to another…to the “what if?” zone. Where our faith, our goals (or lack of them), our dreams, desires, habits (mostly bad ones), our time, talent, gifts, giving, attitude, thought process and imagination are challenged to be stretched sometimes, often times, beyond what is comfortable for us. The actual reading process can be so enjoyable. Grab a good book, a comfy blanket, a warm drink, a comfy chair or couch and off you go… this can also we quite enjoyable by the pool or at the beach. You may find that you are as infatuated with the process of reading as you are with the books themselves. Ask any reader what they love about reading and it will vary widely, but one thing is certain, it is something that anyone can do, as long as they can read, and there is much that can be learned and gained from it.
Note on fiction books: This is just my opinion, but I do believe the more we spend in fiction novels, the more distorted our reality becomes and the possibilities are endless for increased levels of dissatisfaction for our own lives. Instead of looking around and feeling greatly blessed by our lives, we can tend to look around and find all that it lacks and all that is wrong. Dangerous, not to mention very unhealthy. I think fiction books are great, but I am careful not to make them the primary or totality of my reading. The same holds true with reality t.v., but that’s another subject for another day.
What makes it onto my list?
The books that I will list are only books that I’ve actually completed. If you follow any of my social media platforms (FB, Instagram, Twitter), then you may have seen one of my posts about a book that I began reading. You may also wonder why it’s not on my list now. I only list books that I’ve finished. I come across a book every now and again that I just simply cannot finish for whatever reason. When this happens, I put the book aside and hope that a day will come when I can finish reading it. Not all books on my list are one’s that I’d recommend, just simply the one’s I’ve read. I will place a note next to any that I do not recommend and may or may not list my reason why.
How can I begin to read more? Tips to help you read more books this year!
Slowly. Seriously, pace yourself and don’t get overwhelmed. I’d start with a book that really interests you. One that hopefully you will grow from. One that will better your life, not leaving you wishing you someone else’s life. Start by reading 5-10 pages or one chapter per day. Then increase the number of pages or chapters as time or your reading stamina allows. How I read 70 books last year…from 2-3 prior to that: I read one chapter in each book per day. That’s it. Sometimes, due to traveling or my busy schedule, I may miss a day or two, but I don’t usually miss more than that. I will also utilize the benefits of audiobooks, if I know that I won’t have the time to sit and enjoy my reading. I will get the benefit of listening on the go. It seems odd that you can read so many books tackling only a chapter a day, but it can be done. You can do also read based on time. You can set a certain amount of time aside for reading each day, like 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes and so on. This doesn’t commit you to a certain number of pages, but to a set time frame. You will notice that as you begin to read more, you will be able to read and comprehend faster, allowing you to cover more pages in the same or less time. Nice!
How much and what kind of books should I read?
This is personal preference, but as I said before, start slow. I will typically be reading 5-7 books at a time, sometimes more, but not less. I will find books on varying topics, to hopefully keep a bit of balance in my reading. For example, even on the topic of faith, I will read about prayer, discipleship, being a better servant, giving, love, faith, prophecy, Jewish roots of our faith, fasting, etc, the list is so long. Unless I’m studying on a particular topic for various reason, I will do my best to read and learn in a variety of areas to help me grow, hopefully, with better balance. Which one’s I’d recommend and which one I wouldn’t.
You can do this.
It can seem daunting and intimidating to begin reading, but you can do this. Just take it slow and find books you enjoy reading, even if you begin with audiobooks. The main thing is to challenge yourself to make the best of the time you are given. I do believe that we are to be good stewards of our time, among other things. We may one day be asked what we did with the time we were given. No all the books we read need to be non-fiction, but I do believe that it should be a good portion of it, but that is just my opinion. Books we can learn and grow from and to help us be all that God created us to be. You can read more over this next year than you have before and I’m proof of that. Don’t focus on the number, but on the value of each book you choose to spend your time with. This goes back to why some books don’t make my list. I’m not being hateful, honest, I just know that my time is precious, as is yours and I have but one heart and mind to surrender to God, and when I begin reading books that either draw me further from Him or stand in direct opposition to His Word, I put the book down. It’s that simple. We all get to choose what we allow in our minds and hearts and I’m learning to be a lot more selective with what I allow in…so I don’t have so many weeds that I have to pull out of my garden later. Hope that makes sense. I pray you will be prayerful, if not simply mindful, of the choices you make as well. Time is precious, but my friend, you are even more precious to God than time. He loves you and longs for you to draw closer to Him each day. The battle is that we get faced with many things in this world that seek to keep us from Him…our challenge is to overcome that and find ways to draw closer to Him each day. The freedom of choice is extremely powerful and the choices we make today will lead to who we become tomorrow.
My hope is that you will be blessed by the list of books that I will be sharing on here. A lot of the books that I read are ones that have been recommended by someone else. I’d love to connect with you on the various social medias, so please check out my links. I’d also love to hear about some great book recommendations from you. I will begin by posting a list of the 2013 books that I’ve completed and then do my best to keep the list updated with my completed 2014 reading list. May this help you in some way to draw closer to God, because that alone is my hope and desire for sharing this information with you. Thanks for your time and God bless!
There is no book, in the past, present or in the future that I believe matches up with the Bible, nor do they even come close. The Bible is God’s written Word. It is inspired by His Spirit and our way of learning more about Him, His love, His promises and the portion of His plans that He has chosen to share with us through history and prophecy. In all the reading we do, if we miss picking up God’s Word to study it, mediate on it and allow it to penetrate our thoughts, heart, lives and even get into our vary bone marrow, we are truly missing out on the greatest gift and tool God has provided for us, aside from the gift of His precious Son Jesus, the Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Intentionally or unintentionally, there is a lot of false teaching today and the best way to have a better understanding of what is contrary to God’s Word is to first study God’s Word for ourselves. There are some that will judge the validity of God’s perfect Word through man’s writings, whereas, the better way is to look at all books and teachings through the lens of the His Word. Studying God’s Word for ourselves will help us to not fall so easily to deception. They are words penned to us from His heart, to tell us how much He loves us and wants to help us and bless us through His Son, Jesus The Christ and His Holy Spirit. The Bible, God’s Word, will be the greatest book that we will ever read, learn and grow from. There simply is no equivalent substitute.
Finally, to my dear friend and sister in Christ that set me on this journey to better myself through books once again, thank you. For your friendship…there are no adequate words. May we all be continually blessed to have those special friends in our lives that help us to be better today than who we were yesterday.
Yours in Christ Jesus,
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