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Reading Books as a Habit

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Do you have a habit of reading widely?

I love reading books.  I got the habit of reading books when I was young. Now, the longer I am in the library, the more books I go home with.  I can limit the poundage that I leave with from the library by using the miraculous “hold” system where you ask for your book ahead of time online and it’s waiting for you right by the entrance.  How many of you are fortunate enough to live near a library where the librarians do that for you? The library is absolutely one of the best free resources invented!

The disadvantage of this fabulous hold system is that I’m always in a hurry when I  go to pick up my books, so I only have time to run in to get the books on the hold shelf and try not to be lured by all the delightful titles arranged on tempting displays.  An awesome system. I try not to frequent actual bookstores out of fear (I tend towards hoarding, so it’s a bad match.)

I have always been a reader.  When I was 5, I ate through the Dick and Jane* series, rapidly progressing towards bigger and more books.  I remember reading War & Peace when I was 12 – but I don’t actually remember much about the book other than a ton of characters … and some war and peace.  It probably wasn’t a good choice for me at that time. I would always be reading books, given the chance.  Favorite genres growing up were fiction, drama and Nancy Drew mysteries.

My secondary schooling (and beyond) tended towards the technical, so I usually could be found reading science fiction books in my nearly non-existent spare time at engineering school.  I wanted to be balanced, after all.  Especially when taking my required liberal arts “history of science” class.

Because of my technical background, sometime after college, I felt I may have “missed” many of the classic fiction books, so I proceeded to fill in the missing pieces.  But I wanted to do it systematically.  I would do things like reading all of one famous author’s writings in a single summer.  It’s all a big blur now – I couldn’t even tell you which authors I chose!  Recommended as NOT the way to do it!

Today, I’m not sure I can pinpoint a favorite genre.  I love how-to instructional books, historical fiction, biographies, non-fiction, classics, histories and probably a few others.

Interestingly, up until recently, I had always preferred to read straight through a book and finish it before I would start a new one. I’ve been known to read “just one more chapter” late into the night.  But since I’ve been homeschooling with the Charlotte Mason method, I usually have more than one book that I am reading. 

* I don’t actually recommend D&J as a method of learning to read, I’m more of a phonics kind of proponent rather than sight words, but that’s another story!

Here’s the current books I’m reading at the moment:

  • Life of Fred by Stanley Schmidt. This series is about a very young and ridiculously short math teacher. It’s actually a full math curriculum. I highly recommend it for both non-math and math kids.  My kids are math and science oriented, so we used the books as a supplement to more rigorous programs – sort of a  fun way to review concepts.  I’d make them do the problems in their heads while we read. We’ve gone through Apples on up.  I usually took them out of the library, but I also own a few of the high-school level books. We knew a homeschooling family who relied on this series for their primary math curriculum because they had right-brained learners.  Either way, it’s an enjoyable set of books that really cements core mathematical concepts.
  • The Nick & Tesla series. Another read aloud for more enjoyable free reading.  The series is about a set of brilliant twins who have a mad scientist uncle and the inventions they come up with while foiling bad guys.  The series is fun because the books always have complete blueprints and instructions on how to recreate their inventions at home. Recommend this as a library read, not for the home library!
  • Pride and Prejudice, which is this term’s read aloud. A re-read for me.  We will be watching my favorite movie version of the book – the one with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.
  • The Three Musketeers, which we are listening to on tape in the car – another re-read for me.
  • Simply Clean (to learn how to clean my house better – an excellent read if you are not naturally neat). Becky Rapinchuk (a.k.a. “Clean Mama”) is one of my favorite resources for natural cleaners and how to clean efficiently.
  • The Everything Guide to Spices for Health by Michelle Robson-Garth. A nice reference book on spices. (Spoiler: use more garlic, ginger and turmeric to increase health).
  • Use Your Brain to Change Your Age by Daniel G. Amen M.D.
  • The Kings & Queens of England by Ian Crofton. I really am enjoying this with my son who is studying Western Civilization.  The book has an easily understandable layout with plenty of charts and pictures to give a thorough overview of each monarch. Great book to borrow from the library.
  • And the books of Isaiah and Psalms (I’m reading through the Bible in a year again.)

Boost Your Brain

Coincidentally, the Use Your Brain book indirectly recommends life-long learning as part of its methodology to improve your quality of aging.  The book focuses on improving your physical and mental states through a number of methods, including learning something new.  The author recommends using drive time as learning time with a book on tape, as well as other life-long learning habits that challenge your brain.

Habit of Reading is Good for You

All in all, I love to read. I love a good story.  And while all the things I read are not ALL great books, I really enjoy reading.  What about you?  What are you reading?

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