Monday, July 19, 2021

What's Your Bookish Life Looking Like?

Good morning!

I was ready to throw a load of laundry in, polish up my grocery list, and head out before the crowds hit the stores.  And then Anne Bogel's post How's your reading year going? popped into my inbox and I quickly tossed my domestic agenda out the window.

Her question intrigued me and her observations had me shaking my head ... yes, yes, yes.  So I decided to go there instead heading off to Stop and Shop.

Anne muses, 'When I set my intentions for my reading life back in December, I wanted to read for connection, surprises, and delight.  And while those things are still true, I’ve found that, more and more, I want to prioritize reading for replenishment and energy as well.

I'm in a different place than I was seven months ago - the whole world is in a different place - and it's no surprise my reading intentions have subtly shifted.'

Read her entire post here.

Eleven days ago I wrote, 'For many {but not all}, the pandemic has gradually been receding from the forefront of our minds and we're beginning to wonder what's next.  Maybe not consciously.  But there's no way we can live in the midst of upheaval, uncertainty, and unsettledness for an extended period of time without it leaving its mark on our souls and impacting who we see ourselves to be.'

Read the entire post here.

So in light of what we discussed a week and a half ago, let's throw our reading life into the mix.  Because it's a vital component of who we are ... and who we hope to be.

Compared to last year -

📚  Are you reading more or less?

📚  Are you leaning into more fiction or non?

📚  Are you reading for enjoyment, camaraderie, information, or soul care?

I scan my little reading journal, the one I started way back in 1992, and find -

📚  I'm reading about the same number of books as last year.

📚  I'm quicker to close the cover and send the book packing if it doesn't speak my name in the first 50 pages.  

📚  I seem to be gravitating to books that speak into the building of a stronger faith.  And the calming of my mind and soul, home and schedule. 

Always a Guest: Speaking of Faith Far From Home
Barbara Brown Taylor

Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More
Courtney Carver

Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep
Tish Warren

Cozy White Cottage: 100 Ways to Love the Feeling of Being Home
Liz Marie Galvan

Try Softer: A Fresh Approach to Move Us out of Anxiety, Stress, and Survival Mode - and into a Life of Connection and Joy
Aundi Kolber

Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers
Dane Ortlund

The One Year Book of Psalms: 365 Days of Inspirational Readings From One of the Best-Loved Books of the Bible
William & Randy Petersen

My reviews for six of these picks are right here.

What direction is your bookish life going?  Are you observing some noteworthy changes?  A fresh, subtle direction?  Or no big shifts?

Let's talk ...
Linda

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56 comments:

  1. I read more books than ever before during the pandemic, Linda, but with life returning with its many challenges, my pace has slowed a bit. While I will read non-fiction from time to time, I usually bury myself in fiction. I love to escape into the world of new characters and adventures. It does relieve my stress and gives me a sense of calm.
    Blessings, and happy reading!

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    1. Dear Martha, may God use printed words to comfort and sustain you during this season of loss ...

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  2. Great post Linda. With working PT I find it hard to really get into a book although I did enjoy a book last week while beaching it. I enjoy reading and always have, it's just having the time to really get into a book per say. I enjoy fiction. I am like Martha said in her comment...I like to escape to a world of new characters and adventures. From Sept-May I am teaching ladies Bible Study so that keeps me on my toes. However I do love to read and hope to do more reading when I retire...one day! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. Oh you are a busy woman, Cindy! I love a good book at the beach, too ... the sound of the waves creating a soothing background in which to escape into someone else's story. I relax just thinking about it!

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    2. Nothing better than reading on the beach. Wish we could go to the beach together friend. But....we wouldn't read because we would be chatting too much. LOL!

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    3. Oh wouldn't that be FUN?!

      ;-}

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  3. I don't know if I am reading more or differently than usual--I don't think so. I usually read more in the summer because the things my husband and I watch aren't on in the summer. So I am spending more of my evenings reading now. "Enjoyment, camaraderie, information, or soul care"--yes, I read for all those reasons.

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    1. I absolutely hear you about TV, Barbara. We seldom watch it these days and often wonder why we're paying ridiculously high fees for even basic cable. I'd rather get lost in a book while my husband sits with his tablet nearby as the sun goes down at the end of the day ...

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  4. This is only the third year I've been keeping a proper list of what I read, but so far I am reading way more this year than I did last year. I think I struggled to focus last year, so hopefully this is a sign that my brain is returning to normal! I seem to have quite an even split between fiction and non-fiction.

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    1. Yes, last year was not a good year for keeping focused on reading ... or much of anything else. We were easily overwhelmed no matter where we turned and missing that face-to-face interaction really put us out of kilter.

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  5. My break from reality is a good book. Although, I read to grow and be stretched, I always keep a fiction going to fill my evenings. Another vote here for what is worth watching on television? I am looking forward to the Olympic Games---if they don't get shut down with the virus spread. What a crazy world we live in--thankful for great authors who share their talents with us.
    Blessings!
    PS---I read a GREAT DEAL! Usually have 3-4 books going at a time.

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    1. 3-4 books! WoW!

      I know some people are able to read that way and love every minute of it. I'd be so confused and would find it difficult to fully immerse myself in what I was reading.

      Maybe it's my old age? Multi-tasking simply doesn't work for me anymore.

      ;-{

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    2. The secret, Linda, is they usually are of different genres AND I keep them in different places. SO bedtime reading is a fiction book on the bedside table. Morning reading is a devotional before I ever get out of bed. Serious reading is usually in the family room and done in short spurts (a chapter or two). I currently have two of those going--psychology and neuro science for one and What God desires for our churches to look like for another. They are all so different, it really is no problem keeping them straight. The deeper books are all slow reads, so I work on them for a long time. Maybe I have ADHD??
      Blessings!

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    3. That's a good question, Linda, and an interesting one. I think I'm reading about the same amount as last year -- maybe a little more. But longer books. I'm hoping my page count will exceed last year's total, and maybe books too. I always read more in the summer at the lake. Mysteries are my number one; not so much non-mystery fiction; then a bit of non-fiction, bios or memoirs, essays, that sort of thing. I definitely read for pleasure, not enrichment, though often I am enriched in the process. I read to step away from the world, not so much into it. And I read history to step back. I tend to read only one book at a time, with the occasional exception of non-plot books (essays are a good example) where you don't have to follow in a linear way. I average about 60-65 books a year. You remind me I haven't done the June book wrap and it's almost time for July!

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    4. AH, Lulu ... different genres, different times and places!

      BRILLIANT!

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    5. Jeanie - you sound very well read! And yes, when it comes to really good fiction, I like a huge tome to immerse myself in.

      ;-]

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  6. So many books. So little time to read them. Someone should invent a quicker way to absorb the written word. Perhaps edible books would do the trick.

    God bless.

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    1. EDIBLE BOOKS!

      I'll take mine dipped in chocolate, please ...

      ;-}

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  7. i have found my reading continues to be eclectic. I read a lot based on what I am preaching on or plan to preach on. I spent a good part of last year reading books that kept me focused on the Gospel's approach to life and not get buried in current events. My fiction reading was minimal although i do like to read to escape. I am also reading some to help me in my dealing with people (counseling, etc which I am not very good at). I suspect the rest of 2021 will be much the same.

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    1. How wise you were to immerse yourself in reading centered on God and His Word during a time when everything was crazy and messy and out of control.

      The more I gave up my passion for current events, the healthier and more at peace I felt. I can't remember the last time I watched the news, preferring to get a daily wrap-up in my morning email.

      Thanks for reminding us all where our focus must lie, Bill.

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  8. My reading remains about the same. I read mostly, if not all, non-fiction. I read for the purpose of encouragement and growth in my faith. I love Barbara Brown Taylor and had not heard of the one mentioned above. Definitely going to check that one out, so thank you for mentioning it. Gentle and Lowly is currently sitting on my bureau waiting to be read but I want to finish The Hallelujah Banquet first :)

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    1. A couple of years ago, I read mostly non-fiction ... it was an excellent reading year, I felt like I had grown deeper as a person and as a believer.
      http://www.lindastoll.net/2019/12/my-favorite-books-in-2019.html

      I'm thinking of Gentle & Lowly for our next online Book Club ...

      The new Barbara Brown Taylor is a wonderful adjunct to devotional times. She gives us lots of cause for pause, doesn't she ...

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  9. I’m intentionally reading more this year and allowing myself to feel no guilt for curling up for hours with a book. Mostly fiction this year because my mind needs a break.

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    1. Absolutely, no guilt! I couldn't agree with you more, Linda ...

      ;-}

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  10. Always love reading about what others are reading! I really don't think I have a reading theme currently, or gravitating toward a certain genre. Just reading what comes to my attention, like you showing up in my email box! lol!

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    1. I love how you said it ... 'just reading what comes to my attention.' You hit the nail on the head, Lynn. That's pretty much how I roll, too! Takes the pressure off to work from a list or a certain genre or read a certain amount, etc.

      It's a serendipity.

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  11. I'm reading less this year than last year. Most of my reading is fiction. I enjoy books that are set in different countries, different landscapes. I like to escape from my world into other's lives. A good book is when I feel like I am the character and living in their lifestyle!

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    1. Mah, thanks for coming back again and again today and not giving up because of technical glitches.

      I love you for it. I'm always glad when you're here.

      {Hello lifestyle.}
      xo

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  12. Although I did not keep track, I surely read more books last year than this. One "pleasure goal" kept in 2020: 'read through the entire Mitford series--again. Hadn't read them since Jan Karon wrote them and thoroughly enjoyed her delightful characters once again. Along with others who've said they read to escape, I found the fictional village of Mitford to be a lovely place to visit. Currently I'm reading Denise J. Hughes book, Deeper Waters and gaining insights about the spiritual disciplines of scripture study, prayer, etc. Too busy right now for fiction. I wish there were more hours in the day for reading!

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    1. Oh yes please, to the Mitford series, Nancy! It took me through a difficult time ... and when my Mom went into a care facility last fall, she read through almost the entire series, the first books she had read in years.

      I can't speak highly enough about Jan Karon's fictional village and her quirky, interesting folk. It's 'comfort reading' at its best.

      http://www.lindastoll.net/2020/01/in-which-i-find-comfort-in-book-series.html

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  13. Reading about the same amount, but more fiction— and like you, I am pickier.

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    1. Yes, I'm definitely getting choosier, even if it means closing the book after a paragraph. Which happened this week ... and it wasn't the first time.

      I've got no time or energy for explicit sex, gratuitous violence, or excessive language. Period.

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  14. Well, I can sit up in a chair for a few hours a day, but holding a book taxes my strength.

    So it's DVDs; The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit series, Pirates of the Caribbean, Armageddon, Music and Lyrics, Victoria and Abdul, Notting Hill, We Were Soldiers, Twelve O'Clock High...and season 1 of The Chosen should be here soon.

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    1. I love a good DVD series when feeling poorly. Especially anything British. You can get the first few seasons of Victoria or The Crown at the library. Fabulous.

      And you can watch The Chosen FREE on Peacock, through NBC. I'm hearing great things about it!
      https://watch.angelstudios.com/thechosen

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  15. I don't know what it is, but this year I'm flying through books...granted many are audiobooks. I think my tally right now is 24 year to date. So much fun across so many topics within non-fiction and fiction. Love the reminder to read! I keep a tracker because I found that I sometimes want to go back and refer to a book from a past year. It also lets me organize via spreadsheet all the recommendations I receive.

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    1. How fun to find you here tonight! Just so cool! So many readers are singing the praises of audiobooks ... but since we've done hardly any traveling in recent years, this option hasn't exactly been on our radar.

      I'd love to see what you're reading at some point! {Nosy old Aunt Linda.}

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  16. You've got my attention, Linda. I think I've actually been reading more than last year. I thought I would read a ton in 2020, but it was so hard to stay focused. This year I'm a little more able to focus and I've been reading more books about change and faith. Some intentionally; some just as they come my way. I love your list; it's calming just reading the titles! :)

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    1. You're right, Lisa ... it was harder to focus on just about everything last year. Pandemic brain. Let's hope it's gone for good.

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  17. Linda, I am reading about the same as last year. I am a big fan of historical fiction. Happy Wednesday!

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  18. 1) About the same as last year

    2) Mix of fiction and non-fiction

    3) Reading for enjoyment and info

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    1. Thanks for weighing in this afternoon, Margie ...

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  19. ahh, you and I like the same type of books. No surprise. LOL. One thing I have noticed during the height of the pandemic, though I had time to read I had more trouble focusing. Now I have slowly returned to better concentration. I think it was a reaction to stress. I learned that about myself a long time ago - inability to concentrate indicated anxiety and stress to my soul. Nice to be back to reading now.

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    1. Yep, that 'pandemic brain' affected us in a myriad of ways, some of us more than others. I've heard a number of people say that their ability to focus is returning, often gradually, as the stress and anxiety created by covid is waning somewhat.

      And this is a blessing.

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  20. It has been a year of reading less in many ways but reading books I had started years ago and not completed. So Ben Hur - Check! In the middle of Les Miserable. Next? Interior Castles by St. Teresa of Lisieux. This is more a year about completing promises to myself.

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    1. Maryleigh, yes please! I've thought about making a pile of all my unread / half-read books and moving through them. But alas, new-to-me titles seem to be more shiny and exciting.

      I love that this is a year of 'completing promises' to yourself. I find that fascinating.

      Meanwhile, I hope you are doing well ...

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  21. These types of posts are dangerous (but I love them!) because I always end up adding more books to my "want to read" list. A list I will probably not live long enough to complete, lol! I just finished Denis Hunter's Bookshop by the Sea. A fun, quick, summer read. Have a blessed week, my friend!

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    1. June, hi! Bookshop + Sea? Sounds like a perfect read right about now. I'm heading over to my library site to see if they have it.

      Thanks for the heads up ...

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  22. I'm an author of Christian romance novels, so I'm always thrilled to hear about readers reading more books. However, with my busyness of meeting deadlines and also working for a writing school, my reading time is limited. My to-be-read pile of books is high, but when I can sink into a beloved writer's book, it's pure bliss.

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    1. 'when I can sink into a beloved writer's book, it's pure bliss.'

      Oh yes, Lisa, even your words make me smile with remembrance and anticipation!

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  23. Linda,
    The mixed blessing of the pandemic is there has been more space for reading, doing puzzles, taking long walks. With the way our world is going, I picked up "The Book of Signs" by Dr. David Jeremiah. I have found it fascinating (after reading prophecy in the Bible). He goes into more detail about the false prophet, the 144,000, the two witnesses, etc. After this, I'll need a good dose of fiction! ;)
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. I like that you help us recall the mixed blessings of the pandemic, Bev. Thankfully, God gave us mercies that were 'new every morning' and these gifts were the graces that got us through.

      Your current reading and study sounds challenging and fulfilling! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

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  24. Oh how this is making me think! I've had to be more intentional than I've ever been with my reading this year - feeling that I need to (and want to) be reading some things on topic that is very challenging for me. But it's also heartbreaking so I have to intersperse it with things that are more for fun!

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    1. You're so right, Lauren. When I'm reading something heavy, interspersing it with something light and easy keeps me sane and a bit balanced.

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