When I’m not sitting behind the desk at IBY checking students into their next class, my alter ego is a high school English teacher.
I confess that I mostly started taking literature classes because I loved reading. Little did I know that once I started teaching the majority of what I would be reading wouldn’t be classic literature, but rather my students' attempts at making sense of classic literature. Needless to say, I wasn’t finding much joy in my reading, even though I was doing plenty of it.
Enter: the need for a new ritual in my life.
A few years ago I decided to dedicate just 5 minutes of my day to reading something for pleasure. Knowing full well that I can’t just read 5 minutes (or eat just one potato chip), I slowly and surely began falling in love with reading for pleasure again. Through the cultivation of that ritual, I learned a few things about the power of reading in our growth.
Author William Nicholson once wrote “We read to know we’re not alone.” Above all, reading can help to validate and reassure our experiences and our feelings. Whether we’re reading fiction or nonfiction, we can find within the pages of a book our emotions and feelings put into words.
Reading can inform and inspire us. Want to learn a new hobby? There’s a book for that. Want to learn why your dog feels anxious when you leave the house? There’s a book for that, too. Want to feel inspired by someone following their dreams, even if we don’t quite feel brave enough to follow our own? There are plenty of books about that! If you’re looking to escape your everyday, or be entertained before you fall asleep, there are shelves upon shelves of books just for you! No matter what you’re seeking, there’s always a book just for you.
You’re probably thinking that the biggest obstacle holding you back is time. Oh time, where do you go?? May I suggest just starting with 5 minutes. We all have 5 minutes! Keep a book in your car or purse to pick up while you’re waiting in the carpool line, or for your teen to get her braces tightened. Keep a book on your bedside table and turn the evening news off just 5 minutes early. Make a deliberate choice to not work through your lunch hour and log a few pages in. If even picking up a book seems too daunting, try an audiobook or a podcast for your daily commute or morning run.
If you’re someone who needs a little bit of outer accountability to get yourself reading, may I suggest our monthly Blissful Books Book Club meetings? We meet the first Tuesday of every month and have really great discussions about books that always push me to grow a little more.
New friends are always welcome, and finishing the book is never a requirement!
2018 book list:
- January 2: The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin
- February 6: The Anatomy of a Calling by Lissa Rankin
- March 6: Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
- April 3: How Yoga Works by Michael Roach
- May 1: Option B by Sheryl Sandberg
- June 5: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders