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Being Book Smart

I had good intentions last year to read a book a week. That's 52 books. It really shouldn't have been an issue. Certainly I could find something worth reading, with the library so close by. And that there were tons of things I loved to read about, well, I had this 2010 New Year's resolution in the bag!

I fell very short of that goal.

And it is why I revamped my goals for this year (by a lot) to only one book a month.

Before you tell me that this can't be right, that it seems rather extreme, like I should be horrified at reading so little, don't say it. At this point in my life, with a dog, my busy kids, cooking, housekeeping, working, editing ... reading has almost become laborious. In 2010, I forced myself to be something I wanted to be, and was still failing. After failing my own others-driven goal, I knew I had a problem.

It is understood that writers are supposed to read. This is a school-driven, author-proven, writer-demanded way of living and thinking. And yet, after reading through my kids homework, reading (and editing) other people's work, reading how to un-train the dog from jumping over guests, and reading how to use my newest appliance, or how to remedy my kids' latest sickness, me sitting down to read for fun just isn't fun anymore. I'm too dang tired to read by then.

That's sad. But, I don't want it to be this way. I LOVE reading. It's what made me want to be a writer; it's what makes me strive to write the book I want to write so that others can feel as refreshingly escaped into that far-away place, and return happier for it. I want that back!

But I don't want to feel guilty for not reading either.

So, in order to relax but also to make myself do something for me, I'm setting a goal of a book a month -- a fun, silly, serious, crazy or out of this world book -- and have it by my bed for me to read not because I'm fulfilling a goal, or having to do one more thing, but because it is good for me to read - for me. And even if it is just two pages a day.

I may not even make it to a book a month. It might be a book every two months. But, it is a goal worth pursing because it is about reading for fun; reading to get lost; reading to be someone else and remember why I love it so much. Readers make better writers. This is true. But not to the point when they dread it.

Without sounding like a public health announcement or a "Mother's Against Illiteracy" commercial, (Yeah, like my own illiteracy!) get out there and read for fun -- that is to say, when you can, and at your own pace and leisure, of course.

Happy reading.


  1. Like you I don't have the time, but I have to force myself. How can I write good children's books if I don't read the work of others? I usually download books into an ipod and end up listening in bed!

  2. I've read about others holding themselves to this challenge, and I've wondered the EXACT thing you write about. Would I love to read as much if I forced myself through the 52 books a year? I'm not sure I would.

  3. Thanks Carole :) I'm not the only one! And I totally understand the kids book reading. It's what I want and do write, yet, where do I find the time? My son has more fun reading the very books I should be reading.

    Amy, thanks for your sentiments. It really is hard to read 52! I don't think I got past 30. I tried. :)


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