I felt the need to start this post with an apology. This is yet another book centered post and I never portrayed this blog to be a reading blog.
But I did promise this was a blog showcasing what makes me shine. And in a time when very little is working for me, my reading list is helping me shine. So I recuse that apology. And really, this should be a no apology needed zone, am I right?
I believe in personal growth in all areas. But my reading has always just been a hobby. Let me correct that, it still is a hobby, but a hobby in which I never thought I needed to grow. Just pick up a book and read. That's not difficult.
But I found as my reading increased, I discovered a desire to get more out of my reading life. Like exercise and creative pursuits, the momentum of the practice is contagious. In addition to improving my reading life I have also heard time and time again that reading improves writing. So while I continue to seek out a better practice for writing, I feel like I can grow my style within the parameters of my current life, in which I have more mental capacity for reading over writing. Become a better writer and get lost in a good book? Yes please.
What keeps my nightstand in a constant rotation are the page turning novels. I think of them as palate cleansers in between the more challenging books. But I also want to make sure I am challenging myself. While I am learning the value of diversifying my parenting strategies, I think applying this to my reading life is the best way to meet that challenge.
There are many great reading challenges out there, Modern Mrs. Darcy always includes one that intrigues me. But for this first year I decided to create my own based on books that have already been on my radar and To Be Read list. Without following any particular system I gathered a collection of books that challenge me, educate me, and take me out of my reading comfort zone.
Introducing, my 2018 Reading Syllabus:
Non-Fiction Personal Growth - It's hard for me to separate personal growth from writing growth but this particular book, while it would help me professionally, I feel has more of a personal influence than a writing perspective.
Notable Memoir - Memoirs are great for practicing my writing style. But these particular ones are out of my typical parent memoirs, intentionally for that challenge.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah - READ!
Who Thought This Was a Good Idea by Alyssa Mastromonaco
Glass Castle by Jeanette Wells - READ!
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi - READ!
Male Narrator - This is a category for stretching my typical preference for novels. I tend to prefer a female voice. I often put down the books with a male narrator. I want to change this, especially with books like these that come so highly recommended.
A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Classics that I missed - This is the category to make my English teacher mother proud. I'm sure she would add about 100 more to this list if I let her.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
The Giver by Lois Lowry
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Black Literature - We all should be reading more diverse books. Hopefully I surprise myself and am an over achiever by adding more.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jezmyn Ward
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Writing Books - I actually own all these books which could also be a category in and of itself, books that are already on my shelf.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art you were Made to Love by Emily P Freeman
Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers by Kate Hopper
Whew. I think that about covers it. Feeling good that I can already cross a few off this list. But I still have a lot of work ahead of me so excuse me while I put down the computer and pick up a book! PS In case you wanted to ask, no there will NOT be any homework required for this syllabus. Unless someone wants to have a discussion, then LET'S DO IT!
What about you? What's on your reading syllabus this year?