Monday, January 17, 2011

Books! Books! Books!

I love books!  I love books so much that the fact that I virtually stopped reading (outside of work) in 2010 ranks right up there with some of my greatest disappointments in/for myself when I look back on the year as a whole.

Resolution ~ literally and figuratively ~ work to read at least one book every week in 2011.   Now there are of course those exceptions.  My book by Alfred A. Knopf "The National Parks" is probably going to take longer than a week :).  This is especially true since most of my reading time comes at bedtime. 

My first book choice for 2011 was "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert.  No, I have not seen the movie, and yes I do plan to see it now that I have finished the book.  I chose this book for two reasons.  The first because I really, really wanted to see the movie, and I hate seeing the movie BEFORE reading the book.  My experience has always been that if they butcher the movie...I just can't get into the book.  Second, I heard so many reviews and opinion pieces on the "message" of the book (good and bad), I really wanted to read it for myself.  That said, I knew enough to know this was the perfect book for the start of my 2011; I felt like I had been stuffed in a blender and set to "puree" for most of 2010.  Not good.  I sensed I was going to relate to the author ~ well short of the whole divorce, million dollar book deal so I can travel to three countries in one year and find myself kind of way ~ we were kindred spirits. 

The first part of the book I breezed through, dog-earing and savoring my way through Italy.  A third of the way into the second section on India, I got stuck.  I don't know if it just got too deep for me into the meditation or I was just unfocused due to stressful work days, but I hit a wall and had to sit it down for a few days.  When I finally forced myself to pick it up again  ~ I mean I AM on a timeline here ~ I picked back into the pace pretty quickly and then breezed through the final section on Bali.  It was a very thought provoking book, and of course I completely empathize with the concept of losing one's way in this world.  Overall, I probably dog-eared an eighth of the pages throughout the book.  I did truly love it, but honestly I am most excited to finally allow myself to see the movie.  I just have a feeling I am going to love it even more than the book, and oh how I hope I am right. 

Don't worry, I am not a book reviewer...clearly :).  The main point is that I have found my way back to reading.  I have a lot of books.  Let me be clear...A LOT OF BOOKS.  To lose a year of reading puts me so far behind that I am forcing myself not to dwell there.  The main thing  is that I am back reading now, and at this pace I can complete 52 books this year.  I am pretty sure I bought more than that on our last road trip in 2010, but again no guilt :). 

I would encourage you to have a goal on your list for 2011 that involves something that you used to absolutely love but that you have gotten away from (for whatever reason); find a way to incorporate it back into your life.  One of two things will surely happen in the process.  You absolutely love it and start enjoying it all over again.  The other, you find that you have outgrown it and you put it down with no regrets or bemoaning that you never do it anymore.

For me, reading helps me to get outside the narrow and mundane world I have to operate in all day full of rules, deadlines, policies, and demanding people.  Lets be honest, my job (as with a lot of jobs) consumes my mind during business hours, and unfortunately a lot of hours outside of 8-5.   I need to get out of my own head.  I need to think.  I know that sounds silly; I need to think, but somehow I believe most of you will absolutely get what I am trying to say.  Frankly, a bonus benefit to reading at night is that it allows me to find some peace and solitude at the end of a hectic day...slowing my mind down and preparing me for a restful sleep. 

Speaking of which, due to my "wall" in the middle of "Eat Pray Love", I am a week behind on my reading.  My next choice is a book I started in November (without making it very far, much less finishing) titled "Radical" by David Platt.  It was recommended to me by my little sister.  Her entire family including my niece and two nephews are reading it right now.  I only got to page 15 back in November, but I have recommended it to no less than a dozen people.  I am very excited to pick it back up and finish it.  The irony is that I selected it for book two before I started book one, and I was thinking they would be so different it would be a good change of pace.  Having finished number one, I realize there are going to be a lot of similarities which only make me more anxious to pick it back up.

I wish for you the chance to pick something back up that you love.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

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