One of the best ways to encourage our children to become readers is for us to read ourselves. If our children regularly witness us reading for pleasure, they will understand that reading is something we all should try to make time to do in our lives. It is sometimes hard to fit in reading to myself each day, but I try. On good days, when we have a little extra time, I try to sit down and read for 20 minutes or so while my kids read their own books. Unfortunately that doesn’t always happen, and they don’t see me reading every day, because often the time I find to read is after they’ve gone to bed. But even if they don’t see me actively reading, they see books on my nightstand and in my stack from the library. I sometimes share with the family about the books I’m reading, as well. I feel confident that they know I’m a reader.
I like to keep an ongoing list on Goodreads (and as a Google Drive document, yes, I’m a geek) of books that I would like to read in the future. Since I am interested in a wide variety of genres, spanning children’s, young adult, and adult books, my list can get pretty long. I actually looked at my “To-Read” list on Goodreads last night, and there were 280 books on there! So many books, so little time, right? But having a list helps me decide what I want to read next when I finish a book. Sometimes I have a stack going, and know that as soon as I read one, I will move on to the next, but other times, no book is waiting in the wings, and I get to pick whatever I want to read!
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Once a month, I have a book that I “have” to read. That book is my book club book for the month. I have been a member of a local book club for over 10 years. Several friends and I started it back in 2007. We meet about once a month, all read the same book, and come prepared to discuss it. The host provides snacks and leads the discussion and the next month’s host brings 3 or more potential books for the following meeting and we vote to decide what we will read next. We rotate hosting, so each of us ends up hosting about once a year. It is a simple plan, but it works.
Over those 10 years, we kept track of the books we read together as a book club, and our list is now over 100 books. We actually had a party to celebrate our 100th book this Spring. Several of us planned activities for the evening, including games relating to the books we had read. We had trivia questions and even filled out a NCAA basketball tournament-type bracket to determine our favorite book club book of all time. At the time of the party, there were about 5 books out of the 100 that I hadn’t read. But since then, I’ve finished all of them. (I know, I’m really a geek, but I’m OK with it.)
Although I enjoyed reading almost all of our 100 book club books, I have to say that these 20 books were my favorite. Reading these books changed me. They each impacted me in a way that other books that I have read have not.
Scroll through. See which ones you’ve read. Click on the ones you haven’t and read their description. Consider adding those that you haven’t read to your own to-be-read list. And if you don’t have a to-be-read list, it’s never too late! You can start one today!
The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak
Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan
Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
Midwives, by Chris Bohjalian
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer
The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
Room, by Emma Donoghue
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grissom
The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty
Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, by Maggie O’Farrell
The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman
The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield
All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
The Chaperone, by Laura Moriarty
The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
Which ones have you read? Did you add any to your to-be-read list?
If you aren’t a member of a book club already, I recommend joining one or starting your own with a few friends! It is so fun to share a love of reading with friends who feel the same way, and to discuss books together. Often there are controversial topics that come up as a result of reading a certain book, and we are able to share and discuss our opinions in a safe environment with friends.