Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Challenge for 2010

I have just been to and signed up for the challenge: 144 Books in 2010. I was a little concerned because, after all, that is 12 books a month. But I relaxed considerably when I made a list of what I had already read and realized that I have a total of 17 books so far in January. Now I think the challenge is do-able. Would love to hear from some of you about your goals for 2010 -- how many? what kind or what genre? a particular author or authors? I also have some further work to do on my doctoral dissertation -- am still trying to get that ready for a publisher so that will also have to take some time in addition to my regular responsibilities. Good thing I speed read, but I have to confess that there are some in that list of 17 that I really enjoyed to the extent that even though I read faster than some folks, I "slowed" down in order to savor the writing style, use of language, thinking more about the characters and taking in the historical context in greater detail. I am now reading O Juliet by Robin Maxwell in order to review it for Book Binge. And I also am so blessed in that I have been reading books for review since December 2009 and that has introduced me to some wonderful books and some marvelous writers. And, of course, there is my daughter's absolutely magnificent book shelves.

I also find myself thinking of those early years in my life when I "discovered" books. I can remember the curious "drive" to be reading every moment I wasn't doing something else. I have always been blessed with the ability to keep four or five books "going" on at a time -- I would have them stashed under the living room furniture so that when I was doing the vacuuming on Saturday (that was always my job) I would have a book under whatever chair or sofa to which I was closest as I moved about the room. Then when I was done with that room, I would collect the books and move on to the next room. My mother thought I was crazy but she realized that was the best way to keep me working. My husband learned early on that there was always a stack of books by my bed or in various places throughout our home or apartment. I think there were times in my life that books kept me sane and kept me in touch with the wider world. Living in northern Illinois with four little kids -- 5, 3-1/2, 2-1/2, & 3 mos. -- in the middle of winter, with snow and ice up to the window sills, reading was my way of keeping in touch and exploring historical times and places that could only live in my imagination.

This is one of the major reasons that I am saddened that so many youngsters today are struggling with reading and have not discovered the rapture of a great book. I think we read outloud in school in my day, and we learned the wonder of words to an extent that many have not shared in their life. I was fortunate to have a couple of English and literature teachers that shared their own love of reading and language, not so much in what they said particularly, but in their demeanor and their excitement when leading discussions and introducing new genres of literature their classes.

So we read on . . . I intend to re-read Kathryn by Anya Seton as well as several of her other books. She is such a superb writer and her historicals are some of the best that have ever been written. I hope to share some of those here in future days.

Until next time . . .


Tracy said...

So 144 books in 12 months. What are you going to do the other 10 months of the year? JUST kidding! :) There ARE still books on my shelves that you haven't read, believe it or not - although I think I've given you all the really great ones I've already read. Good for you for joining the challenge. I loved Goodreads. What's your name on GR and I'll look ya up?

I have to say that I agree that kids don't enjoy reading as much these days. I can't say I enjoyed it all that much either until you told me to read all of your Harlequins the summer of my 13th year. What were you thinking? lol But I'm glad I did. I found a genre that I loved and have stuck with it through the years. Now if I can just get my two little munchkins to love it as much as I do...

Rowena said...

You know, out of the 15 or so grandkids in my family there are maybe 4 regular readers in that bunch. One of them is showing promise of becoming an avid reader like myself and while I'm excited for her, I'm also pretty saddened that the other kids won't know for themselves the joy of losing yourself in a book.


As for my reading goals, I've entered a few reading challenges this year that I hope to complete and then there's my big goal of reading 100 books. I need to read at leat 100 books this year and then I'll be happy. I go through reading slumps frequently but I'm determined not to get into a really big reading slump, I gotta keep my numbers up. =)

Good luck on your goals!

Holly said...

I also signed up for the 144 in 2010 challenge on Goodreads. I used to read upwards of 20 books a month, but the last few years my reading has slowed considerably. Last year I skimmed in at just over 150, but I think that was more by luck than anything else. Lately I can't seem to focus as much as usual.

My daughter is a voracious reader. She reads at a very rapid pace and gets completely absorbed in the story. My son, not so much. I'd really hoped they'd both inherited my love of reading.

Dr J said...

Thanks for visiting and for your comments. I find that girls seem to take to reading more quickly thank boys -- even thought my son (in his late 40's now) never really seemed to be reading much, he did take to books early in high school and actually read a fairly decent number of books in his 20's and 30's. Then he started coaching football again and the reading went by the board. Way too easy just to sit down and watch a movie, I guess. I still believe that the secret to getting our kids "hooked" is 1) our own example in loving books; 2) a couple of very inspiring teachers in their school career that seems to "turn them on" to the beauty of language and the fun of using one's own imagination; and 3) having gooks around that they are likely to read. I just made regular trips to the public library a part of the "fun" stuff we did. I think those shelves did begin to "call" to them over time.
Thanks again for sharing. Dr. J