Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Yes, I like to read. A lot.

It is no secret that I enjoy reading, and carve out plenty of time to read each week! Last year I set a goal of 2 books per month - and succeeded! This year, I’m shooting for 3 books per month, and so far, so good. {You can see the books I'm reading here.} I enjoy the time spent reading and the benefits of getting some good literature in my hands and heart.

You know I like to keep things organized, and my reading habits are no exception. Its not good enough to just pluck a book off my shelf and devour it, I have to have a system. It is part of the oldest child syndrome. :)

Here is a bit on how I keep my reading organized:

I’m constantly looking for good books to read. I scour thrift shops, and occasionally pick up a good book for a whopping ten cents. The office at church has a large selection of books that my dad “inherited” when he became pastor...and I’m slowly making my way through the ones that look interesting.

So generally during the course of a month, I pick out three books that I plan to read the next month, and have them sitting ready on my shelf.

I like to keep the books I’m currently in the middle of on this shelf over my bed, along with my one thousand gifts notebook.

Handy access when I’m laying in bed is key. :)

I also mark in the books when I’ve read them. I generally write the month and year on the inside cover, so I’ll know the times I’ve read and re-read a good book!

What are all the colorful lines, you ask? Well, I LOVE reading books that I can mark in and highlight. So, each time I read a “meaty” book I use a different color highlighter to show what really grabbed me that time around. I just make a dash next to the date showing which color I used. OCD at it’s finest, right there. :)

Some of my books are sporting quite a few colors. Especially the ones I first read for a college course, and have re-read a few times after that.

Highlighting like this may not be for everyone. You may find all those colors distracting. But for me, it really helps me to pay attention to and re-read something that I especially needed that day. And seeing the highlighted areas helps me to not just breeze through with a surface reading, but to concentrate on what has spoken to me before, and what I can learn from that same passage today.

Try some different systems and see what works best for you. You could just underline key phrases, or make marginal notes, or even just keep a separate journal of what has spoken to you or what you are learning from those “meaty” books. If you don’t like marking up a book, you could even write on sticky notes and stick them to the page so they can later be removed. Whatever works for you!

Obviously, I don’t highlight every book I read...fiction, for instance, doesn’t get marked at all normally. But the devotional-type, spiritual growth, and Christian living books {which are by far my favourite ones to read} get marked up quite a bit. Its not a test of my spirituality or anything - just a system that works well for me.

So tell me, if you are an avid reader, do you have a method to your madness? Do you enjoy marking in books, or keeping track of when you’ve read them?

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