Read With Me

Pages read in 2018 : 553.

This isn’t a competition or anything, but who is winning? Me or you? One of those books was poetry, so even I, the self-proclaimed reading champ, knows it shouldn’t count as full pages. Let’s not get hung up on the details. I just finished a book this morning at 5:30 AM, yes, I’ve been staying up that late early and it was so weird and wonderful and confusing that I really need to talk it out with someone. Thankfully, a friend loaned me the book so I can call him, but what about the next book? Who will be there to discuss? I’m trying to head this proposed catastrophe off by asking you to read with me

So far this year, I’ve read poetry by Rupi Kaur and transgressive fiction by Chuck Palahniuk. Now I’m determined to finally finish How Emotions Are Made & Nature Fix since I’ve been reading both on and off for weeks and months. I’m also going to suggest and reread a quickie that I finished in 2017 with my Meditative Monday subscribers. Sign up here if you want in on that goodness or if you want a single email that is from a friend instead of your coworkers or a company trying to sell you shit. It could be fun.

Why We Should Read More Often :

Expands your vocabulary and improves your writingduhhhhhhhhh. How’s that for vocabulary? No, but really. Reading will clue you in on how to use commas and apostrophes and probably make your grumble about your friends’ sloppy texts, but hey, at least you have friends? If you lose them over grammatical errors you always have books to fall back on.

Improves your understanding of the world – which in turn cultivates empathy through an expanded awareness of personal struggles on a global scale. I’ve traveled a bunch, which seems to expand my knowledge of the way the world works, but maybe it just expands my life experience. Reading about the people and places I may meet gives me context on a larger scale. It introduces me to struggle and suffering and my role in that cycle.

Prepares you to take action and create change – reading introduces you to new concepts and knowledge allowing you to obtain and master new skills. Beyond transmission of information, reading develops your interests propelling you into a world you may not have entered previously. Reading is how I initially opened the door to meditation and mindfulness, a practice that has changed my life.

Improves brain function – you’re taking the time to slowww down. You are silent and focused. Your brain is exercising, but you are relaxed. Reading also improves your memory as you’re having to recall plot lines, characters, and other details from past chapters. By settling into a longer book and focusing for a fixed period of time each day, your attention span is growing allowing you to sink into reading more readily in the future.

Boosts your imagination and creativity – you are creating the images in your head when you read the words on each page. You creative little nerd you. It’s not like tv that does all the work for you. #sorrynotsorry

Reading sets a great example for those around you – seriously, we all need to read more often. Making time to read will re-introduce the concept to your friends, family, and most importantly the young people in your life. I downloaded an app called Moment that tracks how often you use your phone and I quickly realized I waste a shit ton of time on my cell phone. Me, the girl who has only had a smartphone for less than two years. It’s so easy to fall into unhealthy habits, so make the effort to fall into a great one. Start by reading, ‘What Reading Does For The Mind’ from the Journal of Direct Instruction by Anne E. Cunningham and Keith E. Stanovich and realize the importance of reading on developing minds.

Here are my favorite books to read in nature & a roundup of my favorite mindfulness reads.

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Get Into the Habit of Reading :

Carry your book with you – always bring your book! That’s rule #1. Always having a book on your phone is a surefire way to accomplish this. Catch flights, soak up the sunshine, and climb mountains with your book.

Get into a reading routine – When is a good time for you? First thing in the morning? Last thing at night? Sitting in the car waiting to pick up your kids from school? If you’re having a hard time getting into the habit of reading, find a consistent time to read a few pages several times a week or every day if possible.

Create a reading nook – You could create my dream scenario of a window reading nook or maybe keep it simple with a hammock in the sunshine? My reading nook is my bed, but I make it extra cozy by wrapping up in a fleece, turning off the overhead light and instead using lamps and candles to illuminate the room. I always have a hot cup of tea and I usually light an incense or give my palo santo a wave.

Keep yourself accountable – Set broad intentions like a book a month or more specific goals like x amount of pages per week and stick to it. Remember that reading should be fun. If you’re reading a book that you hate, QUIT IT. Seriously. There are so many books out there. If you feel the book fizzling out for you, but you’re almost done, just push through, it feels good to stick it out.

Find friends to read with – Ask your friends if they want to trade books or support you in your reading habit in any way. It’s valuable to bond over a hobby and since this one can be done individually you can stay connected to friends across the country or world by reading separately, but together.

Share your progress – Talk about your good reading habits! This will encourage your friends and family to pick up a book or at least ask you about yours. Instead of talking to co-workers about the latest episode of whatever, ask what books people are currently reading or if they have a favorite magazine, blog, or website where they read on the regular. Connect with your pals on Good Reads and share book recommendations.

Reward yourself – Find some way to reward your reading. Remember book club in elementary school? I’m seriously considering making some type of reading graph and rewarding myself with a pizza every so often. One way I already reward myself is by wandering into any used bookstore I find, but I’m only allowed to buy books if I’m currently and actively reading one.

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Here are my favorite quick reads from 2017. Pick up one of these if you need to get back into the habit of reading :

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