It's that time of year again: reading plans abound. There is no shortage of inspiration for those who want to read more. For some, having a reading schedule adds the needed impetus to read. It helps them stay focused. I am not one who does well with reading lists. I'm more of a "follow the bunny trail" kind of reader. Any time I start a reading list, inevitably, I deviate from it.
In recent years, it has been my desire to finish the many unread books on my shelves and to ignore the cries of "you must read this!" I had to buy textbooks for January, so my book budget is blown. I have also found myself having forgotten a great deal of books I have finished not that long ago, especially books I have read for review. I was trying to share with a friend about a book on my shelf, and I couldn't really give her much but a very bare outline. I want to spend a little more time in my books, not plow through them.
For those who don't find reading lists compatible, I have another suggestion: dig deep. Find a subject, a person, a doctrine, a book of the bible, and read everything you can about it. I began doing that a few years ago with Lucy Maud Montgomery. I read her biography, and it started there. I read books other than the Anne of Green Gables books. I read her short stories, her poetry. I read critical works of her material. I began reading her selected journals. I'm still not entirely finished. There is another volume in her journals which I have yet to finish, her last one. I had to take a break from those boooks, because I'll tell you, the last years of that woman's life were dismal. For anyone who thinks Montgomery's works were autobigraphical, think again. Some of the elements of her work were, but not the happy parts. If you want to catch a glimpse of Montgomery in her fictional characters, don't look at Anne Shirley. There was no happily ever after for Montgomery.
As I read books about Montgomery, I followed the footnotes and found other interesting subject matter that piqued my interest: a book about women's participation in World War I, books about children's literature, fiction written in the World War I era, a book about Canada's participation in World War I. These may sound as boring as toast to some, but reading is a personal thing. What bores one person energizes another.
If you're looking for a reading plan this year, and you are not sure that a list is for you, or if you're pretty certain that you might be lucky to have time to finish 5 books let alone 50, try digging deep. There is a great reward in that.