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How Do You Balance Reading?

We’re about halfway through winter and I’m curious to know… have you read any good books lately? What are your go-to book genres?

According to the Gallup poll including all age groups and all book formats including ebooks, the average American reads between nine to fifteen books a year.

Where do you fit on that scale?

As one who writes books for a living, I admit that I read a lot of books, about two books a week. Falling Leaves by  Adeline Yen Mah, The Seven Mountain Prophecy by Enlow, The Real Dr. Fauci, by Kennedy, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus, and How to Write Funny.  I even have a list of books I want to read when they come out. (Part of being privy to publishing news is hearing about what is soon to be published!)

Last year, one of the most interesting books pertaining to my field was Book Wars by John B Thompson. An eye-opening account of the battles in the book publishing industry and how print on demand changed the landscape of books forever.

For entertainment, I read the Astronaut by Andy Wier, one of the earliest e-books about the indomitable human spirit even in space.

Someone recommended the memoir Becoming Superman by J. Michael Straczynski. One of his quotes struck me straight in the heart: “ Wouldn’t you rather make a thin living doing what you love that a slightly better living doing what you hate?” His ability to stick to his guns, and trust in what he held dear was cobbled together from a traumatic and horrific childhood, which galvanized him into one of the most motivating and lyrical story tellers across three mediums. It was so gripping I read all 459 pages in two days.

One of the most inspiring books I read was the Journey of Doaa Al Zamel, in a book written by Melissa Fleming, A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea. How one young lady coming of age during the ravages of the Syrian war, must face her biggest fear, but in doing so she not only survived but saved the life of a small child. It is a story about the strength and perseverance of human spirit—the same spirit that lives in each one of us—even you.

Sometimes, learning what it cost someone else to stay alive can inspire you. It reveals what we are truly capable of in those moment–or months—of doubt. An inspirational story can be the light unto your feet that allows you to take just one more step. Then one more. Until you realize you’ve come through our own event.

There is a saying, “If you’re going through hell, keep on going!” It might seem obvious that Hell is not the place to set up camp and live out the rest of your life. But for others it isn’t. It might be the end of their strength. It might be the limit of what they trust. It might even be all they have ever known.

But truly, all you ever dreamed of is at the end of the journey and reaching the other side.

What does this mean for you?

What books did you read last year? Which book educated you? Which ones entertained you? What kind of books do you recommend to others? How did last year’s books affect your life this year? This question hearkens back to a post I wrote a few years ago: Not Feeling 100 percent? It could be GIGO.

In that post, I talked about the dangers of being exposed to toxic information because we are unable to purge bad info easily. Or as my navy seaman father used to say: Garbage in garbage out. We are only able to make our best decision based on what information we absorb. Are you getting enough hope?

Have you ever noticed that sometimes you’ll hear bad news and it lingers in your head for a while? If I read (or even write) a hard book, one that leaves me feeling down, I find something upbeat—an essay, memoir, a blog post, even another book—to balance it out. I make it a point to end my day’s reading on a hopeful note. I wake up in a better frame of mind, energized and ready to face the day. Hope is something we need more of.

What are you reading this year? I still have a short pile of winter reading to plow through, but I’m scouting around for  fun summer reading. What titles entertained you? What books are you planning to read?

Gallup Poll: Here

Published inBeing BraveEncouragementInspirationLearningStory writing

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