This past year (2011), my book average came to about 1 book per week, at 53 books for the year. (This doesn’t count books I’ve read to our girls or children’s books, of course.) For 2012, my goal is 75 books for the year, but I’m secretly (:)) aiming for 100. Not sure if either will happen, since about halfway through the year my life should change in a very special way. (And I hear that adding a third child is when you realize you’re completely overwhelmed…)
So, what do I plan to read? I’m not mapping out an entire list, but I am planning to start with these 10 sometime at the first part of the year (listed in no particular order, to be read in no particular order):
1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (unabridged) (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
(note: This book is currently free for Kindle via Amazon.)
2. The Hunger Games (Suzeanne Collins)
3. Evil and the Justice of God (N.T. Wright)
4. Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism (James Loewen)
5. Steve Jobs (Walter Isaacson)
6. Your Four-Year-Old: Wild and Wonderful (Louise Bates Ames)
7. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose (Tony Hsieh)
8. Families Where Grace Is in Place (Jeff VanVonderen)
9. Parenting Is Your Highest Calling: And Eight Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt (Leslie Leyland Fields)
Of course, depending what format these are read in, there will likely be several other books read before or in between some of these.
How I Choose What to Read
In general, I try to read books from a variety of genres, topics, and studies. (I have a rather odd diversity of interests, as reflected that while earning a degree in Biology I enjoyed squeezing in courses in Greek, Psychology, Theology, Basic Harmony, and Parasitology while still wishing I could also be taking courses in Graphic Design, Photography, and Philosophy. Regretfully, at that time in my life academics didn’t have priority over student involvement opportunities, but that’s another story.)
Within certain limitations, I try to read books that are popular (thus, bestsellers and new releases) and/or well-recognized within their genres. By doing this I am reading what a large chunk of the rest of the nation (at least, the literati) is reading. That benefits me by 1) knowing what ideas and books shape the thinking of the general literary world and by 2) knowing what topics are of interest to the rest of the world/nation. I also try to read books that aren’t popular.
I attempt to cycle through these categories each month (or several months):
- Christian (including theology, Christian living, familial interaction, commentaries; I try to read books both from those who I would consider to be more conservative than me and those who are to the left of where I am.)
- Bestsellers and New Releases (both fiction and non-fiction)
- Human Interest and Psychology
- History and Biographies
- Productivity and Organization
- Culture and Anthropology
- Education and Learning (from child-development to curriculum choices to my own personal fields of learning)
Mapping it out
I definitely don’t start with a specific t0-read list of 75 books for the year. Rather, I prefer to have my list evolve. (Although I currently have around 400 options on my Amazon wish-list in case other sources run dry. ;)) I love hearing book recommendations from others, and I’ve found that books themselves contain a good number of recommendations and references to other books. New books come out and others rise to the bestseller lists. (My husband occasionally reviews pre-releases and new releases for his work, so I sometimes hear about new books that way, too.) Sometimes I’ll find I really love the way a certain author writes (or what s/he writes about), and so I’ll hunt for more books by that author. Other times are more random: Amazon will make suggestions for similar books based on what I buy or add to my wish-list, I’ll find recommendations on blogs, magazines, or articles I read, I’ll see it in someone’s Facebook feed, or it’s offered for free download via Kindle.
I also joined Goodreads last Spring, though I’ve not been very active in using it over the past year. There, you can follow what your friends are reading or see people with similar interests are reading–a good sort of social network for readers. I’m hoping to use it as a better means of keeping track of what I read over the course of the coming year.
If you have a booklist for this year or even just a couple of book recommendations, I would LOVE to hear them! Please share! 🙂
Later on, I also plan to share my December 2011 reading and my favorite books from this year..