I always want to read more books. If I go too long without exploring times past or hearing new-to-me ideas or happening upon intriguing fields of study I get kind of pent up and cranky. Itâ€™s like my brain decides itâ€™s been caged up too long and revolts.
It took me a very long time to notice this. And really, I only figured it out after repeatedly watching the revolt make a big fat mess in the middle of my favorite relationships. (Sorry about that.)
But itâ€™s not just reading more books that helps me be my better self. Itâ€™s reading more books of a certain type that makes the real difference. I love a quick movie-type read thatÂ has meÂ page-turning through the early hours, but those usually donâ€™t have the elements that let my wild-monkey-of-a-brain out for a run.
I bet you’re similar. It might not be histories and culture that let your brain play in just the right way, of course. For you it might be poetry, or engaging characters, or quantum physics, or spiritual memoirs, but Iâ€™m guessing thereâ€™s a difference in the soul-soothing for you between various types of books.
So how do we get more of these readsÂ into our lives?Â
One way thatâ€™s been working well for me lately is to make a list of topics Iâ€™m currently interested in reading about. I donâ€™t mean a list of anything ever that in your wildest dreams youâ€™d want to read about. I mean whatâ€™s on your mind right now.
Here are a few of the questions I use:
- What book have IÂ wanted to read but have been putting off?
- What subject is on myÂ mind a lot right now that might be better thought through with the input of an outsider?
- What am IÂ wrestling with right now that could use some encouragement?
- What books have my friends been reading lately whichÂ have sparked my interest?
Assuming youâ€™re reading regularlyÂ (and hereâ€™s a tip for jumping back on the reading bandwagon if youâ€™re not), all you need to do is startÂ referring to your list when youâ€™re ready to begin a new book.
Iâ€™m a big fan of reading whatever a personÂ feels like. Itâ€™s easier and more impactful that way. But choosing between books that we’ve already decided matter to usÂ (rather than browsing that ever growing â€œto readâ€ list) moves usÂ towardÂ books we feel like reading AND that matterÂ in the broader scope of ourÂ lives.
I’ve been using my annualÂ reading sub-goals as my list, and have had my best reading month in a long time.Â The books are timely and enjoyable but are also nurturing my mind and life in directions that are important to me.
What better books are on your listÂ this year?