Where I used to reserve books for bedtime reading, I have since rejigged my schedule to allow time in the morning to slowly sip my coffee, to listen to some relaxing music, to read for a bit and to gently ease into my day.
After decades of going from 0 to 60, hitting the ground running as soon as my feet swung out of bed and hit the floor, this new routine has become a welcome and preferred approach to start the day off right.
It offers me the time to slowly wake up, to breathe and to reconnect with my positive energy. It seems to gently nudge the brainwaves into action rather than a speedy immersion into worrying about what the day ahead holds.
In making reading part of my morning routine, rather than taking six months to finish a book, I have been averaging one book per month, although I have impressed myself by finishing some in a matter of days when I just couldn’t put them down.
In the last couple of years, I have filled my mind, my heart and my soul with fascinating biographies, I have read some classics that I missed, I have explored some books on personal growth and new ways of thinking, and I have devoured books that will help me grow as a writer and as an artist.
Along the way, a pattern emerged.
When the weight distribution of the book starts getting heavier in the left hand and getting considerably lighter in the right hand, reality sets in that the end is near.
I wouldn’t be so dramatic as to say that panic sets in, but let’s just say that the old familiar Libra indecision starts kicking in. The reason? The big debate: what will be the next book to read?
As someone who has collected books over the years, it’s not like I am lacking in reading material. A quick count in my library tells me that I must have at least 40 books waiting to be read. Plus there must be at least a dozen more I would like to read again. And I admit that there are a good number of books that I started but never finished, that are still technically on the reading list.
The difficult decision speaks to the quality of the work of the authors, the material that the authors chose to develop, and the level of connection that the authors succeed in creating.
Each book is a masterpiece in its own right that deserves the reader’s respect for the hours of blood, sweat and tears that the author poured into it.
I realize that books are inanimate objects that don’t have feelings, but I sometimes think of books in the same light as the lamp in the IKEA commercial. For a book to have life, it needs to be read, to be consumed, to be enjoyed and to draw out an emotional response in the reader.
With a bookshelf full of such opportunities, the decision is a tough one.
Am I in need of something light, something inspirational or something instructional?
Am I looking for something new, something classic, something modern or something traditional?
Do I need a story to escape or do I need something to ground me in reality?
I think the reason it can get agonizing is not just because of the breadth of interesting books in waiting, but also that risk of falling back into old habits. If life throws me a curve ball and gets super busy again, will I be able to stick with the book until the end?
Over the career-building years, I have felt such huge (self-inflicted) guilt by the number of books I started but didn’t finish. It’s not like there’s a teacher staring me down for not finishing my homework, but for some reason, that’s the feeling I get.
In the back of my mind, the only way to alleviate that guilt is to make sure I can fully commit to the book, and to read it cover-to-cover. For that reason, choosing the right book is very important to me.
There have been occasions that the next book was easy to choose when one of the books in the queue is getting much attention in the media.
But at other times, making that choice depends on an algorithm that sometimes has me reading the jackets for a refresher to see what truly resonates in the moment.
I realize that if I already picked these books to be part of my bookshelf, supported by a genuine interest and intent to read them, something already drew me to them.
I know I just need to let my gut be my guide, to commit to a book in the collection, and then to enjoy the journey. The other ones will still be there waiting patiently for their turn.
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Have a great day,