Monday, October 10, 2011

On Being a Bookworm

I received some comments on my last post about how many books I’ve read this year. As of today, I’m at 55 books. (5 away from my goal.) Yes, that is a lot of books.
I should admit that I have a secret love for cheesy, trashy, not-very-well-written-but-still-fun-to-read Harlequin romance novels. That accounts for 7 of the books I’ve read this year. They have titles like the “Million Dollars Amnesia Scandal” and I’m too afraid to rate them on Goodreads in fear of everyone defriending me.(I’m also well aware many of you may stop reading my blog now. That’s a chance I have to take.)

I used to be embarrassed about my love for reading. It never stopped me from reading, but it wasn’t something I broadcasted to my friends. When we had silent reading periods, I rarely took out the book I was currently reading. I would usually pick from the books in the classroom. I was way more focused on trying to fit in and be more like the popular girls than I was befriending my people. The ones who loved reading and losing themselves in the pages of a book. The ones I could chat for hours about plots and characters and settings. I’ve missed out on a lot of great friendships because of this. But that’s the past and I’m no longer embarrassed about my love for reading. 

When I look at book lists of what other people have read, I feel intimidated. They are reading these amazing nonfiction bestsellers or great literary fiction, while I’m still into romance novels and YA lit where everything turns out OK in the end. My book lists are sprinkled with books that have a deeper meaning and make you think, but I also really enjoy getting lost in a fairytale, even if the circumstances seem too unrealistic to believe.

We all have different tastes and mine tend to fall to romance novels with happy endings. I can’t apologize for that because it’s what I enjoy, even if the book titles and plots may be a little embarrassing.
For me, reading is second nature. It’s just what I do. I couldn’t imagine my life without it, although my reading has slowed down tremendously since I started my job. (I’m now averaging about a book a week, where before I was able to finish about 6 books a month.) But it remains something steadfast that I simply cannot live without. When other people tell me they just don’t have time to read, I know that isn’t exactly true. They do, but choose to let other things take the forefront. And that is perfectly okay! I’m not saying we all need to read a book a week or that putting other things first is bad, I’m just saying that we all have different hobbies we hold more dear than others. For me, reading is the hobby I love the most and take the most time cultivating. (Plus, as an aspiring writer, reading is imperative to the journey.)

I’m making a “25 Before 25” list and I need a reading goal. I know I wanted something other than a book amount goal but didn’t know what challenge I wanted to give myself. A specific list? Read all books from an author? Read books on a specific time period? I just wanted it to force me outside my reading comfort zone.
I’ve decided over the next 12 months (starting in December), I’m going to read one non-fiction book a month. In 2011, I only read one non-fiction book on my own terms. (The other two I’ve read have been reviews I’ve been asked to do.) And it was Tina Fey’s Bossypants so I’m not sure if that even qualifies. (Celebrity memoir, maybe?) I’ve made a list of the books I’ll be reading and during what months:

December - Stuff Christians Like by Jon Acuff

January - Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want by Jenny Blake

February - 20-Something, 20-Everything: A Quarter-Life Women’s Guide to Balance and Direction by Christine Hassler

March - The Joy of Less by Francine Jay

April - Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-It Note At a Time by Caitlin Boyle

May - The Christian Atheist: Believing in God But Living As if He Doesn’t Exist by Craig Groeschel

June - What Women Fear: Walking in a Faith That Transforms by Angie Smith

July - Confessions of a Prayer Slacker by Diane Moody

August - Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

September - Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture by Adam S. McHugh 

October - Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli

November -  Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser
These books are not set in stone and I imagine the list may change in the coming year as newer books are released. It’s a VERY flexible list. Are there any non-fiction books you think I should add?

What is your favorite genre of books to read?

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