It’s already two months into 2020 which means I’ve had enough time to struggle with my new goal of reading less than 40 books this year. January seemed to be the most difficult time for me because I had to consciously break the habit of reaching for a book whenever I had a spare moment. I’d catch myself reaching for a book when I sat on the couch and then was confused when there wasn’t one on the living room side table. I laid down in bed at night and glanced at my night stand at the empty place where a book used to be. I had to purposefully slow down my gluttony for books in January and start to purposefully select nourishing books.
Reading less than 40 books a year breaks down to less than 3 to 4 books a month. Just to be on the safe side, I’ve decided that no more than 2 personal books a month for me. As I’m subsiding with only two books a month, they had better be good ones. I turned to my Amazon wish list that has books that I’ve wanted to read but couldn’t borrow from the library. Some of those books have kept warm for me for over two years and this was the time to start reading them. I decided I’d buy a book from my Amazon wish list once a month and treat myself to the pleasure of reading a book that I actually own. At that rate, I’d be able to finish off all the books on my wish list by the end of the year, a thought that gives me a smile of anticipated satisfaction.
Now that I’m two months in my new goal of reading less than 40 books in 2020, it’s been a lot easier to control my insatiable desire to read. I’ve learned the trick is to give myself choices in what I read and spend my time in other activities I enjoy. Yes, I’ll read a book from my Amazon wish list but there are a wide variety of books to choose from on that list. The second book I’ll read a month is another freebie. I’ve noticed that this second book I choose is usually one that is about a current topic that interests me. I almost stumbled this month in my goal when I purchased my Amazon wish list book and didn’t start it but rather started reading a third book that took me by surprise (Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of Her Own”). So it seems that I will not read my Amazon wish list book this month, but I will have read two books and that was the goal in the first place.
Now that I’m not reading as much as I used to, I’ve rediscovered other activities that I enjoy. When I sit down at my side of the couch I now reach for my crocheting bag instead of my current book. I’m finally getting around to making an afghan of surplus autumn-colored yarn that a great aunt gave to me many years ago. After my afghan is done, I’m thinking about working on my cross-stitch again, a lovely sea-side scene with the poem “Footprints” stitched above the waves. If I want to read before bed, I read from the small Bible that I, as 2-year old, helped my dad by “underlining” important passages for him throughout the New Testament.
I’ve learned through this experience to read slowly and well. Carefully choosing what books I read has enabled me to focus on topics that are important to me. The chaff has been cleared and the nutritious wheat remains. Matt Haig in his book Reasons to Stay Alive said “Read a book without thinking about finishing it. Just read it. Enjoy every word, sentence, and paragraph. Don’t wish for it to end, or for it to never end.”