I haven’t always been a reader. I was never a “book worm” as a child, and in fact, even though I have a degree in English, I really did not cultivate a habit for reading until the end of my college education.
My husband was never a reader either. Now, since we’ve been married, he has become a rather prolific reader and thought I should write something on my blog about how both of us learned to love reading. Maybe it will help a few of you out there who want to be readers, but either don’t have time or inclination to pick up a book and jump in.
Probably the single most important thing I can offer is this: begin by reading what you are interested in. So often we hear about all of these amazing spiritual books and think we must begin reading here. This is a goal of sorts, but my experience is that you will get there eventually, but don’t necessarily start there. Well chosen fiction, or books about topics that you just kind of want to know more about are a place to begin.
What is now a love and commitment to reading began for me with Jane Eyre. I moved from one Bronte sister to the next and read Wuthering Heights. I began to make my way through every classic I could get my hands on. Contrary to popular belief these books are not hard to read, and they are classics for a reason. I also read the Anne of Green Gables series about once a year, as well as the Little House books, and my new light reading choice of late is the Mitford books.
My husband began his reading passion with historical fiction by Jeff Shaara, and Randy Alcorn’s fiction. He almost always chooses something connected to history. He went through his Theodore Roosevelt phase a few years back reading five biographies of his life. Right now he is reading Mayflower. Okay, so what floats one person’s boat may not float another’s. That’s the point: find what you like reading.
How does reading Anne of Green Gables or a biography of Theodore Roosevelt help in a cultivation of reading? The more you read, the faster you read. The more you read, the more adventurous you are in going to new territories to read. Jason and I both read fiction, biographies, non-fiction, and spiritual books. This is not meant to be a boast in our reading habits, it is just to say that even those of us who didn’t grow up as readers can cultivate a habit to read good books, you just may want to begin with reading what you enjoy rather than force yourself to use your reading time for something overtly spiritual.
That said, the most important reading I do outside of the Bible is spiritual reading. I love being exposed to writers who stretch my thinking about God. I love reading about ways to grow in Biblical Womanhood. I consider these books some of my best friends and counselors. So, though I recommend beginning with whatever you just simply enjoy…it is so valuable to persist until a habit for reading spiritual books is in place.
One last thing, you are probably thinking, when do you have time to read? Jason and I read before bed every night. It may be for an hour, or it may be for five minutes, but no matter what we read before we fall asleep. You would be amazed what even fifteen minutes per nght will accomplish. This is pretty much the only time I take for reading in the season I am in. If it is a spiritual book, I read it after my Bible reading in the morning (usually) and “chew” very small pieces at a time.
Later I may post a few suggestions for books that made me love reading. I’ll post some of Jason’s favorites as well.