• The Piquant Storyteller

Part-time Reader, Full-time Enthusiast

Join the 2019 Reading Challenge.

The invitation smiles at me from my inbox. So simple. So enticing. Who wouldn't want to read more? Maybe someone who doesn't enjoy reading, but that's not me. I love reading. Which is why I periodically get emails from Goodreads.

As a child, if someone asked me what my hobbies were, I would tell them I loved to read. My favorite memories were going to the library with my mom. She would tell us to pick out ten books. Ten books for one week. The task seemed impossible. With a library full of books how could we narrow down the choices to ten books?

I'm glad I grew up before teachers monitored reading with a smorgasbord of reading levels and evaluations. I remember having my pick of any book I wanted. Even in the elementary school library. No one looked over my shoulder telling me it was above my reading level. One of my kids prefers to read for information. Another prefers audio books before bed. One is as voracious a reader as her mother.

She was so proud of herself for reading her Christmas book from Grandma in a day. The next day she reread a book she loves. I suggested a book she might like. She randomly opened the book and started reading. What? She reminded me that she needed to read a page to see if it was a "just right" book. Oh brother! The book is still sitting on the shelf even though it met the criteria. I think she has been brainwashed to believe she can't read a book an adult has read. The book is probably more on the young adult fiction side. That's more my style anyway. Light, easy literary snacks.

To me, reading is an escape I can't always afford. The family joke has always been, "Say goodbye to your mother. She's reading again." It's because once I start a book, I don't put it down until it's finished. Eating is a chore. Sleep is a waste of time. I know plenty of people who read multiple books a month. They multitask. This is a skill I have yet to learn.

Only I don't want to learn how to multitask. Especially with books. I don't watch movies in five minute spurts. Reading should be no different. Start a story and see it through.

This is why I quit a book club I was invited to join. This is also why I don't think I will let Goodreads nag me about reading this year. Reading is fun and uplifting. It shouldn't be a to-do list item that someone or some app shames you for getting behind on. I honestly believe my boys would love reading more if they hadn't started out reading with a timer and a mandatory reading log.

I read The Book of Mormon twice in 2018. It was a wonderful experience. I enjoy reading with a group with a common goal of finishing in a certain amount of time. It's nice when the group can share insights as we all go through the book together. What I don't like about reading challenges like this is the people who constantly complain about "being behind." Some even use it as an excuse to give up. Reading, particularly reading scriptures, is a journey. There is no test at the end. Only joy and understanding along the way. If you fall down, get back up. The race is long and in the end it's only with yourself.

Books and stories will come into my life as I see fit. When they do I will embrace the complete vacation from reality while my vision becomes blurry from overuse. May the next story be worth the wait.


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