It only took three months for me to hit a bit of a reading slump and to feel unmotivated by the reading goals I set in January. This is when the rubber meets the road . . . when I have a choice on whether to push forward on my goals or to let the goals go.
When it gets hard, that’s when I know I need to plan my reading time better. At the start of the year, the excitement of new reading goals gave me the momentum to read. Now, however, when the newness of those goals has waned a bit, I approach my reading a bit more strategically.
One of the ways I keep myself moving forward on my reading goals is to pick a small stack of books that I’ve started or are ones that I have scheduled for various goals. Then I sit down, and I start with the book on the top of the stack. I read one chapter. Then I put it down and read one chapter in the next book. I continue reading one chapter of each book until I make it through the stack or (as is more likely to happen) one of my children needs some attention or something else comes up that I need to tend to.
This approach accomplishes two things for me. First, I’m making progress in a wide variety of books, and it keeps me going on hard books or when I’m in a reading slump. Second, I usually end up finding a book that I really enjoy, and that book pulls me in and I keep reading because I want to. This is one of my tricks for getting out of a reading slump too. Sample a wide variety of books by reading one chapter in each and see what captures your imagination.
April Twilights by Willa Cather – This was such a fun book of poetry. I have read (listened to actually) several of Cather’s novels. I didn’t realize she had written any poetry until I was browsing the Nebraska shelves at my local library. I found this volume of poetry and picked it up. It was a quick, good read.
Native American Doctor: The Story of Susan Laflesche Picotte by Jeri Ferris – I preread this for my daughter’s next school year. Susan Laflesche was an Omaha Indian woman who became a doctor and served the Omaha people. This is a local history book that I’m wanting to add into my daughter’s school schedule next year.
Pioneer Girl: Growing Up on the Prairie by Andrew Warren – Another book I preread for my daughter’s school.
Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione by Chuck Black – This is the first in a six book series. It’s a Christian allegory book. The allegory seems obvious to me, but it’s subtle enough that my kids do not seem to have picked up on it yet. Either way, this is a story of knights. It has battles where the knights fight for what’s right. And this is what my six-year-old son likes hearing about right now. He’s all into fighting, and I want these stories of people fighting for what’s right to be the stories he replays in his mind.
The Building of the First Transcontinental Railroad by Adele Gutman Nathan – This is one of the books my oldest daughter will be using for geography in one of our school terms next year. I enjoyed this book myself. My husband works for Union Pacific Railroad, and I appreciated this look at railroad history.
“History is not just dates and places. It is a collection of things that men and women and children think and do and say, and the reports they make and the stories they tell. Everybody who writes history has his own point of view and that’s what makes the study of history so exciting.”Adele Gutman Nathan in “The Building of the First Transcontinental Railroad”
So that’s what I read this month. All of these were easy reads and quick books. That’s the ebb and flow of the reading life. It was a challenging month for me in my personal life, and while I did make progress on some of my challenging books, I mostly felt the need to read easy books. It was a good reading month! Here’s to more good books in April!