I grew up in a family of readers. From a very young age, I remember my parents reading to me before I went to bed at night. As I got older, my parents would read to all of us before going to bed. Sometimes it was Swiss Family Robinson and other times it was The Secret Garden, but my favorite book read to us was The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews (yes, THAT Julie Andrews). Just by reading to us every night, we all grew up loving to read.
As a child, one of my favorite activities every summer was the Summer Reading Club at our local library. As soon as school got out, we would head to our library and register. If we completed all of the requirements before the end of the summer, we would earn a cheeseburger at McDonalds. This was a huge incentive for all of us since we never went to McDonalds.
When I started having my own kids, I tried to instill in them a love for reading. From the time they were babies, I started reading to them. I would point to each word as I read out loud and even changed my voice for different characters in the books. We went to Story Time at the Provo Library every week and checked out hundreds of books during the year. I think we paid for one of the wings of the new library with all of the overdue fines we accrued.
As my kids grew older, I established the same tradition as my parents did and read to my children before they went to bed each night. No matter how old they got (even as seniors in high school), I tried to read to each of them. They would pick out a book they were interested in and this became “our” book to read. When I became a single Mom and had less time to spend with my kids, reading before bed became very precious to me. There’s something very special about snuggling together with your teenager’s head on your shoulder while reading a good book. If I hadn’t started this tradition when they were little, I know they would not have been okay with it as teenagers.
Even though I love reading to my kids, I haven’t always been good about making time to read, myself. As life has become busier, reading has felt more like a guilty pleasure. So, when I was making my List of 50 Things, I decided I would read 50 books over the course of the year. I began by compiling a list of books I wanted to read, and soon, the list grew to 75 books. Some books came as recommendations from people I respect and admire (like Travis Hansen) and others were books that came up in Google when I typed “Best self-improvement books” (you can tell what type of books I like to read).
To accomplish #43 on my List, I decided to use Microsoft OneNote. I created a tab and listed all of the books I wanted to read and then crossed them off the list as I read each one. At first, I wasn’t reading a lot. Afterall, I didn’t have very much time in my day to read. And then, I read Zig Ziglar’s Born to Win (a book on my list), and it was a game changer for me. In the book, he mentions the concept of Automobile University. This term coined by Ziglar describes how time spent in traffic can be used to educate yourself. After reading about Automobile University, I decided I would always have an audio book playing in the car.
If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book. — J.K. Rowling
Around this same time, I discovered an app called OverDrive. This app is used by local libraries to share ebooks and audiobooks with patrons. If you have a library card, you can search for books on the app and if your library carries it, you can check it out or put it on hold. Although not all of the books on my list were on OverDrive, more than half of the books were.
I’m happy to report that I just finished my 50th book!! You may be wondering how a single Mom of 5 kids, working full-time, was able to accomplish this feat in just 7 months of reading. Well, with the help of Audible and OverDrive, I listened to books while I was in the car running errands, while preparing meals, while working out at the gym, and while getting ready every morning. Some of the books I read in physical form, but many were books I just listened to. In the pursuit of my goal, I discovered I’d been wasting a lot of time doing other things when I could have been reading a great book.
Since I completed my goal much sooner than I’d expected, I’ve added more books to my list. Maybe you can take a look and let me know which books I’m missing. While you’re at it, I could also use a recommendation for a book to read to my youngest son, age 16. He didn’t like the last book we started reading (The Rent Collector–my all-time favorite book), and he’s outgrown Harry Potter. Perhaps, I need to find a book about Minecraft to read to him or maybe…I need to bribe him with a trip to McDonald’s.