This is certainly more books than I have ever read in my entire adult life. I was an English major, a teacher, a stay-at-home Mom and now small business owner. My love for reading is deep. I was the kid with the flashlight under the covers and I feel empty without a book to dive into at night.
But there are seasons of busyness or sometimes Netflix wins at the end of a long day. I knew this was something I had to prioritize. And ultimately, I was okay with my kids (who were now a bit older and more independent) seeing their Mom taking time to read more. For this reason, I mostly read traditionally bound books. I found if I was on my Kindle app, the girls might just think I was doing other work or lost on social media. With a book in my hand, they knew Mom was reading and they would inevitably read too or find a (sometimes) quiet game to entertain themselves.
I knew that my goal for 50 books roughly equated to a book a week if I was going to succeed. This seemed like a fast clip, but I decided to include books I read aloud to the girls as well. If it was a longer novel (100-ish pages) or even a cookbook - it was included! I also gave myself permission early on to delete a book if it wasn't grabbing my attention. I never finished a book I didn't love out of the obligation to reach my goal. I would have ended up miserable and resenting the process! If it was left unfinished, I still added the book to the list though. Sometimes I revisited it, but other times I just returned it to the library. I'd say I read at least 3/4 of my list from cover to cover.
Oh yes, I was putting books on hold at the library one after another. I kept a running list of books I wanted to read in my phone and every time something caught my eye I added it. At one point, I had at least 5 books on hold at the library and realized I was never going to read them all before they had to be turned in or renewed. So, I slowed down a tad after that to give myself more breathing room.
Until October/November, I was completely on track to reach the goal of 50 books. But then - BAM- a busy portrait season hit. I was editing and delivering images in most of my open hours. Of course I was so thankful for this, but sometimes other things have to temporarily take the backseat. Plus, I had already read SO many awesome books, I was having a hard time getting into ones I had recently chosen. So a few weeks went by without me really diving into a read. At this point on December 27th I have read 47 books. WOW!! I consider this a victory! Nothing wrong with aiming high for a goal even if you fall short. I'm still so close to the finish line. I think for 2017, I'll keep the same goal of 50 books. It's so motivating to make it daily priority.
Major Take-Aways I Learned...
- I can still completely lose myself in books. It's a hobby that I need to maintain, even in busy seasons. It's on the priority list!
- Having a trackable goal was really motivating. Watching that number of books grow was exciting and kept me continually looking for more great titles to include.
- I prefer to vary what I read. A mix of modern or historical fiction, personal growth/self care, business and mothering books are my favorite. I bounce back and forth.
- I can set a big goal and even if I fall short, I still feel like I succeeded.
So if you are looking for some good reads in 2017, here are my Top Five absolute favorites I read in 2016! Please send me new suggestions - I would love to get a new list going for 2017 :)
- The Nightingale
- Big Magic
- Present Over Perfect
- The Magnolia Story