I talk about reading a LOT. It’s a hobby of mine but it’s also an important tool I use in my Spiritual growth. Because I read a lot and talk about it a lot, I get a ton of questions about reading and the best ways to fit it into a busy homemaker’s schedule.
I get it. It can be really hard to fit any reading time into your already too busy and too full schedule. But I want to encourage you to try and find a few minutes in your week to invest in a good book. Reading is so life giving and encouraging to me that I sorely miss it when I get out of the habit.
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This week, I got a question from someone inside my online training academy for homemakers. As I was thinking of how to respond, I decided I had too much to share on the topic and wanted to record an episode for you since I know others will have the same/similar questions. She said,
“Jami Reading question! How do you choose where to start? There are so many books and ebooks and audiobooks I want to read. I’m also the type who doesn’t like to have more than 2 books at a time (one nonfiction and one fiction – although I never read fiction anymore). How do you decide what’s most important to begin with? Pick an area of study (motherhood, parenting, hospitality, etc.) and focus down for a month at a time? Hop around?”
I’m honestly not sure I’m the right person to answer this question since my Goodreads account since my Goodreads account currently shows I’m in the middle of 12 books! I’m not good about staying in one book at a time…but maybe that’s just my personality 😉
How to Choose Where to Start
Are you ready for my brilliant advice? Don’t think – just grab a book and start reading! I think sometimes we make this far too complicated. We procrastinate and get overwhelmed when we think of all the books out there that we really want to read.
So walk over to your bookshelf – or open your Kindle app – and give yourself about 30 seconds to grab a book. Then start reading!!
Follow a reading plan:
I know sometimes if you are trying to expand your reading and want to read different things, it’s easier to follow someone else’s plans. So here are a few suggestions to breathe new life into your reading plans:
- 2017 Christian Reading Challenge for Women (my very own plan!)
- Tim Challies’ 2017 Reading Challenge (this is what inspired MY reading plan)
- Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge
Set up Categories:
Another fun idea is to pick 4-6 categories for yourself and cycle between then. For example your categories might be 1) Christian Living/Theology 2) Biographies/History 3) Biblical Womanhood/Homemaking 4) Marriage 5) Parenting 6) Fiction
Then add 5-10 books to each category that you’ve always wanted to read. Start with category 1) Christian Living/Theology. Go to the your reading list for that category and pick the first book. Read that one, and then move on to category 2) Biographies/History. Read the first book on your list and then move on to category #3, etc.
This is pretty much what I do and it allows me to cycle through different kinds of books! I’m reading more fiction this year and I tend to get really sucked into fiction books so I make sure between series to read several other non-fiction books before jumping into my next fiction series.
Pros: The pros of this reading plan is that your reading is varied. You get your face in many different subjects and you are diversifying your reading.
Choose a focus of the month:
Another option is to choose a focus area (i.e. Theology) and all the books you read for that month or specified time period are on that subject. I tend to do this a lot for my blog. Often, I will be in an intense area of study for a while as I prepare for something.
For example, when I was studying for my new book on the Proverbs 31 woman, I read a TON on the book of Proverbs. This month I’ve been reading book after book on practical theology since I’m in the middle of my practical theology for homemakers series.
Pros: The pros of this reading plan is that you get really specific. You can drill down into an area of study and really dig into it!
Choose 3 Books at a time:
Here’s another fun idea! I’m always reading a Kindle book, listening to an audiobook, and reading at least one physical book at a time because there’s a different time and a place for each one. So another fun idea might be to choose one book at a time from each category.
Choose a physical book to read before bed when you can sit with the physical book. Choose a kindle book to read when you are out and about or nursing. And then choose an audiobook to listen to in the car and when you’re folding laundry! Each time you finish one of the books, choose the next book for that medium. So in theory, you would always be in the middle of three books!
How to go deeper with your reading:
This obviously doesn’t apply much with fiction, but women ask me all the time how to get the most out of the books they read. Honestly, some books you will just get more out of. Some books there are golden nuggets in each and every page…other books are barely worth your time.
So don’t feel like a failure if you are not getting deep and profound truths out of each and every page. But I did create a FREE resource for you to help. It’s a Christian reading journal!! (JUST click the picture below to download for FREE!)
Here’s what the journal includes:
- Space to record your books you want to read in 2017
- Reading journal pages for all 13 or 26 books you read this year
- A running list of all the books you want to read in your life (this is a great place to record all those great books you come across throughout the year and your life)
And I know all of us like to keep track of things in different ways, so I create several options for you. Each of these two options comes with a black and white option if you want to save ink ?
Full Size Notebook:
I created a full size (8.5×11) reading journal. Simply print it out and stick it in a normal notebook. Easy-peasy! Or download this version of the journal and then print it TWO per page. Then cut them apart once printed and you will have a half sized notebook. This is a great option for a small notebook you can carry with you.
Traveler’s Journal Notebook:
I’m getting ready over the coming weeks to share my newest obsession with traveler’s notebooks but this is how I am keeping track of my reading challenge this year. I printed the reading journal out to fit my traveler’s notebook and I keep it with me. This makes it super accessible to fill out throughout the year and I always have it handy when I’m reading something I want to write down or a great thought I want to remember.
Choose Wisely & Don’t Feel Bad Quitting a Book
So choose wisely. There are a very limited number of books we can read in this lifetime. So choose wisely and choose Gospel-Centered books that will draw you closer to the Lord. It’s very important to be discerning with what we read.
And please – don’t feel guilty quitting a book! I know we all have this weird mental block where it seems WRONG to stop halfway through a book. We feel like we have to finish it. Listen – if you are not getting anything out of the book, if you can’t connect with the author…then put it down and MOVE ON!!
Just because your best friend loved a particular book doesn’t mean you will. Now one word of caution with this: Don’t just give up on a book because it seems a little boring or dry. There have been some heavy theological books that I’ve wanted to ditch before simply because they were not a light and easy read.
I was lazy and wanted to move on to an easier read or a topic that’s more fun and practical. But when I stuck with those books, they often had more life changing perspectives than I ever thought possible. So with the big, thick, theological ones…try and give them time to work their way in your heart.
But again, if a book just isn’t right for you: ditch it and find something that you can get through!!