One of the great privileges of being a full-time writer is all the reading I get to enjoy. Fact is, solid reading habits are a key element in the "discipline" of being a professional wordsmith.
Yesterday, while walking through the house, I noticed the pile of books (see photograph) on my side of the bed. I tend to read in a variety of locations, and my regimen would be best described as haphazard, but most "books in progress" find their way to the night-stand. So I took the photograph "as is", no staging. This is, literally, a snapshot of my current reading habits.
To be honest, I'm fairly pleased with what I see. There's no "trash" in the stack (although you'll have to take my word for it regarding the contents of the Kindle), and the selection is a fairly good balance in terms of genre.
The one glaring omission is my Bible. But I captured the image late-afternoon. At that time my Bible was open, and in my study, where I was preparing for the evening "Men's Room" small group gathering.
So here's what this writer has been reading recently, and is in the process of reading now:
- People of the Book - This book is top of the stack because I'm just in chapter two. But I'd already recommend the novel. It's the story of an ancient, illuminated, manuscript, its restoration, and the people "The Book" has touched over the centuries.
- Autobiography of Mark Twain - This is raw Samuel Clements, pretty-much unedited and very random. He instructed publishers to wait until after his death to release the manuscript. It's Twain's very personal take on the story of his life and the characters he both knew and invented. Tedious at times, brilliant at others. I'm reading it the same way it was written - a few pages here, a story there - it'll take a while.
- My Kindle is a work in progress. I've discovered that some books work well in the format, others don't. I just finished reading the Swedish crime mystery trilogy, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's nest" etc...
- La Bella Lingua - Is the first-person story of a woman who fell in love with Italy and the Italian language. Interesting read if you love Italy.
- Crazy Love - I've got to be honest, this book was somewhat disappointing. After all the hype and the amazing sales numbers, I was expecting something with better writing and more compelling stories. Chan packs in a load of really great scripture, and his invitation to a more complete relationship with God is a timely word. But, I'm honestly mystified as to why this sold so well...?
- The Natural Speaker - This is a reference book I turn to sometimes when I'm preparing to teach, keynote etc. The text is a little dated, but the concepts are timeless.
- The Geography of Bliss - Researches the premise that some cultures are naturally happier, cheerful, chipper, chirpy and at peace with themselves than others. The author visits several nations and tries to discover what factors favor contentment. The results will surprise you. What didn't surprise me was the conclusion that material wealth has very little to do with bliss.
- The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian - No, I didn't slip this book in the pile so I could talk about it. However, it remains a mystery to me as to why this book (my personal favorite) has sold so poorly.
- In My Heart I Carry A Star: stories for Advent - Believe it or not, Advent and then Christmas are just around the corner. I'm probably offering an on-line class again on the subject so it's time to catch up on my reading.
Here's my challenge. Take inventory of what you are currently reading, and what you have recently finished. Now compare your list to where you say (believe/desire) you want to be heading in terms of enriching your mind and your soul.
My rule of thumb: There needs to be a minimum of three "active" books at any given time. One for relaxation/entertainment; one for personal/spiritual growth; and - most importantly of all and every day - the Bible.
"Carpe Librum" - (Seize the Book) - DEREK