The art of reading...

I saw this at the library the other day and now can't get it (or the original song) out of my head.

I am a reader... if I don't have a book that I am currently reading then I feel lost. Fiction was unfortunately ruined for me by Talmage's death - I can't explain why that is but it is a fact. A fact that I realized I was not alone in when the other day I was reading The Iceberg. The author's husband was dying from brain cancer and she mentioned how her cure-all of reading no longer worked to hold her attention - her exact words, "Ugh - Fiction was the worst. Why would anyone want to make something up?" It is a horrible perspective (I know!!!) but I was happy to hear that I was not alone in feeling this way.

A few weeks back, the school had a family movie night. I took the 3 older kids and a book. I sat down with my friend and her kids and after the movie got going and we could no longer chat, I pulled out my book. She asked what I was reading and how I managed to ever find time to read. She replied that she would love to be able to read books but didn't have time... then pulled out her phone and endless scrolled for the next hour.  This made me chuckle because she did have time read - she just chose to read her phone. (No high horse here - I have spent hours reading my phone as well - I just thought it was an interesting observation to make following her comment about wanting to have time to read.)

The #1 reason I gave up social media 5 years ago was because I wanted to read books not Facebook. My discretionary reading time is ultra limited so I decided to make sure that what I was reading was what I wanted to be reading not just whatever happened to pop up on the feed. In the past 5 years, I have read numerous life-changing books. Books I never would have sought out had I been content to be perpetually entertained by the viral videos, articles, and photographs that rotate online on a nearly daily basis. When I was on Facebook, I found social media to be engaging while on it but noticed that once I stepped off I could barely recall what I had just spent the last hour looking at; whereas, a good book once finished I carry with me for weeks, months, and in some cases years.

So I read and I married a man who reads and we have deemed it our purpose in life to raise readers. So far I feel like we have been successful in our efforts and wanted to share some tips on how to bring the art of reading back into your life.

#1 - I love Goodreads. I get on about once a month and log what I have read. This allows me to get recommendations on what I should read based on what I have already read. Once I have these recommendations, I then reserve them online from my library and they usually are in my hands by the end of the week. I also get recommendations by Googling lists like, "100 Best Memoirs" or "Top 25 non-fiction books to read."

#2 - If you don't like reading or your kid doesn't like reading then you just haven't found the right books. Paisley caught onto reading quickly and would always put in her necessary time but that was about it. Then Cosie came along and once she learned how to read I couldn't get her nose out of a book. I liked that she loved to read and wanted to find a way to instill this in Paisley. So I started checking out book after book - I would ask the librarian for recommendations, scroll lists. and quiz her about what she did and did not like. One day, she brought home Diary of a Wimpy Kid from the school library. I was skeptical about the "silliness" of the book and the cartoon animations but the next morning as she sat down to breakfast and grabbed her book to read while she ate, I knew we found a winner! I checked every book in the series out for her and I constantly tell other moms that it is the series that finally made my daughter love reading and I would recommend it hands down to any kid who "doesn't like to read." Other great series for Paisley have been The Land of Stories, Half Upon a Time, and Carl Hiaasen's Scat, Chomp, Hoot, and Flush books.

#3 - Bedtime is an ideal time to get your kid to read. Kids don't want to go to bed - if you send them to bed with a book - they will read it. Our girls read for about an hour every night with zero complaints. The only complaint sometimes is "I don't want to stop - I'm at the best part." If there is an electronic device vying for their attention at this time - it will win - so if you want them to read, take it away. (This can be true for adults too :)

#4 - Take your book with you. This is very true if you are a SAHM - I have got in hours of reading at parks, doctor offices, the gym, and waiting in the parent pick-up line at school. Bonus is that your kids see that you love books enough to pack them with you and will want to follow this example.

#5 - Visit libraries, book stores, or thrift store book sections. My all-time favorite way to find a good book is just to peruse the shelves until one catches my eye. Yes, this means I start some books and quickly realize it isn't for me and have to move on. But on occasion, the magic happens and everything about the book... the cover, the dedication, the introduction, the chapter titles... all beckon to me and once I begin reading, I can't put it down. It is like finding a sand dollar on the beach - it doesn't happen every time you seek the sand but when it does it makes all the looking worth it.


Chadwick and Julie said...

I feel the same about books - I love how they suck me into their little worlds and how the stories and thoughts and feelings linger for days to weeks. It IS hard when I spend too much time with my nose stuck in a book as it interferes with some of my mom chores...Morgan loves to read and always has her nose in between pages. I'm glad you found something for Paisley to enjoy; reading is the best!! Chadwick is always perusing National Geographic and is thus full of random facts. =)

HowellAZ said...

It's so true...all about priorities. Everything is, I find. Something I think about often. I have a lot of thoughts on social media that I won't bore you with. Maybe I'll have to pick up a good book today...