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Friday, November 13, 2009

Reading Challenge

I've reached the ever thrilling point of being a bookworm parent: I have a child who likes to read and discuss books with me. Today, I learned the reason why this may not be a good thing: going to Barnes and Noble. She's reading a book she really likes, and so she thought she'd look to see if the author had written anything else. (SEE! All you writers out there, if someone likes one of your books, they'll look for the others.) We asked one of the salespeople, and found out they carried two. The goal was to exchange one book but really... what do you expect from two book lovers? Yep, we got them both.

As she and I were browsing, we talked about how it's good to read books by the authors we like, but how it's also good to try something new. Later on, she told me how, in her class at school, they were talking about how most Americans don't know American history. As we talked about various facts, I realized that I, history buff who took more than the required courses to finish my history major, don't remember most of what I'd learned. When we returned home, I couldn't stop thinking about how I've fallen into a rut.

Even though I encourage my children to read new things, I don't always take my own advice. 75% of what I read is Christian, and the remainder is almost exclusively romance. Oops. Not that what I read is bad, but I no longer branch out. There's no variety in my reading list. And frankly, if you asked me to summarize many of the classics I HAVE read, I couldn't do it. I told my daughter, in regard to her indignation that most people don't know American history, it really is "use it or lose it." I've lost it.

My new reading resolution is that once a month, I will read something different. A classic, a popular book that everyone else is reading outside my preferred genres, something totally obscure, or maybe even something that actually challenges me.

Your turn: are you stagnant in your reading? Want to branch out with me? Any recommendations for where I should start?


Debra said...

I hear you. Because I read so much in preparation for teaching my problem is that I don't read much "me" stuff during the school year. My solution is to focus each summer's reading on a theme of sorts. One summer it was Literature Classics Less than 200 pages. One summer it was Works From the Inklings. Next summer it's going to be Books I Should Have Already Read by Now (The Secret Life of Bees, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, 100 years of Solitude, Profiles in Courage). Have fun choosing!

Danica Favorite said...

Debra, that's a great idea to do it by theme. My friend and I wanted to do all the classics one year, but I'm not even sure where our list is! :)