I don’t have to read these days. For myself, that is. I am not officially a student of any sort nor am I working in a place of establishment that requires reading (reading to and with my children is a completely different topic). But I enjoy reading and I consider myself a lifelong student of the world and so, with intention, I set out a reading list at the beginning of each year.
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” Oscar Wilde
My list isn’t written in stone. Sometimes something strikes me mid-year and I obsessively pour over every book written on the topic; other times, I pass through a used book store and happen upon a special little gem and so my list grows. Sometimes I start a book on my list and find myself distracted or uninterested and so I set it aside and my list shrinks a bit. It’s a give and take. But, for the most part, it is intentional.
My time is precious. There isn’t much to spare these days and I have to make the most of the moments I have in this busy season of my life. But my mind needs sustenance…goodness, beauty and truth. Intentionally reading helps me achieve that goal.
I have divided my list into books for my mind, books for my body and books for my spirit (and I have now divided my post into three posts…mind, body and spirit…even I was feeling a little overwhelmed looking at my list in its entirety). There’s a whole slew of books that are just for pure pleasure which I’ve categorized under spirit since I consider pleasureful reading a boost to my spirit (many of which you’ll notice are youth books…I like to pre-read the books I plan to assign to my kids…that way I get a feel for whether it’ll be a good fit for each child) .
Please don’t look at my list as a benchmark. My intentional reading journey should look nothing like yours if it’s truly meant to be intentional. This isn’t a “print and do” kind of list. It’s a list simply to encourage you in making one of your own. If you borrow a title or two from my list, then it was worth my time to list each title individually (and if you don’t, well then hopefully I inspire you to create your own and that makes this post every bit as worthy!).
If you don’t currently have a habit of reading, start small. Aim for one book a month (Modern Mrs. Darcy had a lovely Reading Challenge checklist last year and I’m sure she’ll have one this year to help you narrow down the vast array of books available). Also, don’t forget about audio books. Lovely, lovely audio books. You can subscribe to audible or use the Overdrive app if your library offers it. Audio books make mundane tasks like folding laundry or washing dishes so much lovelier.
Without further ado, here is the intentional part of my reading list for 2017 that focuses on my mind. I include any heavy duty classic pieces of literature here since I feel that the content tends to be a little meatier, the vocabulary tends to push my brain a little further and the story typically plants ideas in my mind that give me something to stew over.
(Books marked with an * are re-reads for me because sometimes I intentionally do that…just to soak up something new or to enjoy something old)
Books for my Mind:
- Books for Encouraging my Journey in Understanding Oneself:
- The Five Languages of Apology: I have loved all of Gary Chapman’s books but I missed this one. I’m intrigued to read and understand how people speak “apology” differently
- The Highly Sensitive Person: I became fascinated with the idea that some people are “highly sensitive” and after taking the test and learning that both Dax and I are “highly sensitive” people, I am eager to read about what EXACTLY that means
- The Enneagram Made Easy: I’m obsessed with putting people in their character boxes…it offers me insight into me and the way I interact with others
- Leaving a Trace: a book dedicated to journaling? Yes, please.
- Nurtured by Nature: another “put people in their boxes” type of book, this one being specifically for giving me insight into my children
- Books to Nourish the Mind of a Homeschooling Mama:
- The Pleasures of Reading in the Age of Distraction: I just started this one and while I don’t agree with everything the author states, I do love his message that reading should be pleasurable
- *The Living Page: a closer look at the notebooks that Charlotte Mason, a 19th century educator, used
- *Consider This: another look at Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education
- Norms and Nobility: a look at classical education and what it offers for today’s students
- *Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child: Through humor and clever, biting wittiness, the author of this little gem guides us to do exactly as his title suggests if we want our children to be products of contemporary culture
- Books to guide me down the Turbulent Road of Parenting:
- Calm and Compassionate Children: I don’t really remember where or why I picked this one up, but it’s been on my shelf for awhile and it does look interesting
- Beyond the Birds and the Bees: Just so I’m ready ’cause I know my time is coming when one of these little guys will start asking questions.
- Strong Mothers, Strong Sons: I like Meg Meeker’s books and her suggestions
- *Hints on Child Training: I loved this the first time and I imagine I’ll love it a second time. He wrote it over 100 years ago, yet his advice is still incredibly wise today
- Classics to Nourish my Brain with Goodness, Beauty and Truth:
- Anna Karerina: Mostly because I just like Leo Tolstoy but also because I’m pretty sure I’m missing out on something when other famous authors refer to a book as “the best novel ever written” (William Faulkner)
- The Jungle: I’m not really sure how I missed this one so I plan to remedy that
- *The Pilgrim’s Progress: A classic allegory worth the time to re-read
- The Count of Monte Cristo: I’m in the midst of reading this one. I started it last fall and got distracted but I’m determined to finish. It comes highly recommended.
- Lonesome Dove: Because it’s time to decide if all the raving reviews are accurate
I would love to hear what books you plan to intentionally read this year. Really, I would. Mostly because I’m a book junkie and maybe you’ve got a great suggestion but also just because it’s encouraging to see that I’m not the only one with reading intentions.
Next up will be my Intentional Reading List for the Body…any good suggestions? I’d love to hear them!