National Readathon Day, Saturday, January 24

The National Book Foundation, along with Penguin Random House Publishers, has announced the first National Readathon Day for this Saturday, Jan. 24, from noon to four. In an effort to promote reading, all are encouraged to turn off the TV and other electronics and curl up with a favorite book for those four hours. In recognition of this, Casper Mattress  has sent out a challenge to bloggers to write about what books are stacked next to their bed for this day, which lists will be included on their website.

I don’t have books stacked next to my bed any more. I do however have stacks of books on shelves of my coffee table, on end tables, my dining room table and pretty much throughout the house.

When I was young I was a voracious reader, devouring books like my lab-shepherd puppy devours bones. I would ride my bike to the library and come home with a basket full of books which I proceeded to read one after the other, only pausing for meals and sleep. Just as my puppy inhales food without pausing to savor the flavor, I would finish one book and pick up the next, hardly pausing to savor the contents before beginning another adventure.

During high school, not only were there books stacked next to my bed, but on my bed as well. This changed in college since my dorm bunk-bed left little room for books that might slide down and hit my roommate during the night.

That was a long time ago. Since then I’ve changed and books have changed. I prefer to keep my bed for sleeping, the rest of the house for reading. The other reality is that, since I’ve started writing full-time, I’m so busy re-reading and editing my own writing, I have less time to read other works. A time for everything, as members of the writers’ group I’m part of reminded me. There’s a time for reading and a time for writing, not always at the same time.

That being said, I’m still reading. I read blogs, magazines, articles. I’ve been reading everything that comes my way via the Internet on publishing and marketing books. Much as I love holding a book in my hands, there is something to be said about ebooks that neatly store on my tablet rather than adding to the mountain of books I already have. I also like the ease of returning ebooks to the library. No mad rush through ice and snow to return books, they are magically transported away when their time is up.

So what’s on my current reading list? It’s a mix, right now primarily non-fiction. I tend to save my novel reading for summer, though I’m currently working on J.K. Rowling’s novel, The Casual Vacancy and several winters ago I re-read all of Jane Austen’s novels.

I’m reading Enneagram Companions: Growing in Relationships and Spiritual Direction, by Suzanne Zuercher and discussing it with the spiritual directors group I belong to, and considering getting her other book, Enneagram Spirituality. My Interpreter’s Bible, Volume 4, The Psalms, remains constant on my coffee table as I work my way through the Psalms. I’m looking forward to reading Geography of Grace, by Joel VanDyck and Kris Rocke. Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform, and Rob Eager’s book, How to Sell Your Books Like Wildfire, also sit on my coffee table as references to read and reread. I will also be rereading Theresa Rando’s book, Death and Dying, in preparation for some writing on the topic.

As for novels, I’m open to suggestions. At one point I started rereading novels I read in high school. Thus far I’ve gotten through Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. I told myself I would start re-reading some of the Russian and French writers I loved as a teenager but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I loved The Hunger Games trilogy, which I read after the first movie came out. I also enjoyed reading Amish book series and Lilian Braun’s Cat mysteries for mindless, fun escapes. I’m looking for more such reads.

What about you? What are you reading? What do you recommend? I’d love to hear your suggestions.

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