Friday, May 26, 2017

The ABCs of Reading That Work!

I consider myself an avid and ACTIVE reader. I read anywhere from 60 to 120 books a year, plus magazines, blogs, email newsletters, etc. I'm often asked how I read so many books, so when my sister Brenda sent me this blog topic . . .

I decided to put "reading" in the blank and share some thoughts and tips to encourage everyone to read more books!

Always have a book handy. I have books on the nightstand, books by the stationary bike, books on the end table, and ebooks on my phone.
Be brave and read from lots of different genres.
Challenge yourself. I'm currently about halfway through my goal to read all the Fiction Pulitzer Prize Winners.
Don't limit yourself to one book at a time. I recommend having several books going at once with the caveat that they are all different genres. Reading two fiction books with strong female protagonists at the same time can become confusing!
Exercising your brain through reading improves memory.
Fiction books are a great way to escape, to learn about various cultures, and to "visit" different places and time periods. In fact, I recently "visited" New England in 1914.

Girl Waits With Gun is the first in a series by Amy Stewart and is based on the true story of Constance Kopp, one of the first female deputy sheriffs in the early 1900s. Constance and her two sisters live on a farm outside of town. When their buggy is run down by a powerful silk factory owner, they are thrown into a dangerous situation as he and he gang begin to threaten them. With the local sheriff's help, Constance defends her family and finds that she enjoys helping fight crime. This was a really good quick read.

Go to book sales at schools and libraries for an inexpensive way to grow your book collection.
Hardback book are wonderful, but be careful when reading large heavy books in bed if you are prone to falling asleep while reading!
Informational books don't have to be read all at once. I'm slowly reading Home Comforts, one chapter at a time. This is a huge tome about the art and science of keeping house that I pick up occasionally and read a chapter or two.
Just a little time reading each day will help you reach the end of book.
Kindles are great for taking lots of books along on vacation!
Library book clubs are great places to discuss books with other readers. I enjoyed the discussion about Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. at the Noontime Pageturners book club meeting earlier this month.

This book is the true story of the mysterious life of Huguette Clark, the daughter of a wealthy copper industrialist, who was a recluse and spent the last twenty years of her life living in a hospital room despite the fact that there was nothing medically wrong with her. I found this story very interesting because it began with her father who was born in 1839 and made a fortune in copper mining in the late 1800s. After being widowed, he remarried a much younger woman and had two daughters. Huguette was born in 1906 and lived until 2011, so along with the story of the Clark family, this book covers a huge span of history. Interestingly Huguette was alive (and had tickets on the return voyage out of New York) when the Titanic sank and (living just a few miles away) when the World Trade Center towers fell in the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.

Magazines are the best reading material for bubble baths. They are relatively inexpensive and the pages don't take as long to dry if it's accidentally dropped in the bath water.
Non-fiction books are written about practically every subject under the sun. Look for books based on your interests, hobbies, travel plans, beliefs, etc.
Online reading is popular, but tangible books are a great excuse to get away from the screen for a while.
Paperbacks are the great for reading on the beach or at the park or out on the boat or . . . well, anywhere really!
Quotes can be pulled from books to help us remember the lessons or information we read. Recently I read Lysa TerKeurst's book The Best Yes, which is about making wise decisions and knowing when to say yes and when to say no to requests. When a new request or opportunity is presented, she encourages us to ask, "Could this fit in my life physically, financially, spiritually and emotionally?"

Here are a few of my favorite thought-provoking quotes from the book:
*We must not confuse the command to love with the disease to please.
*In God's plan, you've got a part to play. If you know it and believe it, you'll live it.
*The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul.

Re-read your favorite books! There will always be too many books and too little time to read them all, but perusing a favorite story is like visiting old friends. I enjoy reliving Corrie ten Boom's story in The Hiding Place and scheming with Scarlett to save Tara in Gone With the Wind again every few years.
Share books and recommendations with friends and family.
Tweens often have great book recommendations. In fact, I recently finished the books my 12-year-old twin nieces sent me as part of the monthly book swap my sister Brenda and I are enjoying this year.


The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop was a very cute & FUN book to read. The story involves twins who discover they have magical powers, a talking cat, a chocolate potion for immortality, and a secret organization that's tracking down the twins' evil uncle. Here's an interesting tidbit - the cat's name in this book is Demerara. I'd never seen this name before, so it took me a while to decide how it should be pronounced (even if it was only in my head while I was reading). I just assumed it was a made-up name for the story. However, a week or so later, I was reading Answers to Prayer (which I reviewed HERE) and I saw that word again. It turns out Demerara is a historical region in the Guianas on the north coast of South America which is now part of the country of Guyana.

Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company is the third book in a triology. This story is set on and around the moon and involves a helium-3 miner (Crater Trueblood), the granddaughter of a wealthy and powerful family on the moon, a kidnapping, and a plot to destroy the earth. Another FUN read! And here's another interesting tidbit - I recognized the author's name because I read his memoir, Rocket Boys, several years ago. After building rockets as a young boy and working as a NASA engineer, Mr. Hickam is now an author of science fiction books!

Unraveling a good mystery can cause time to pass quickly!
Voldemort should not return! Sometimes authors and readers and publishers just can't let a good thing end and move on to a new story. This was certainly the case for the Harry Potter series as the seven books (and eight movies) covered all seven of Harry's Hogwarts years and had a wonderful ending. Voldemort was defeated and the series ended . . . until J.K. Rowling wrote another story.

The new story was actually released in script format (after its debut in London theaters) and picks up with Harry years later as a father of three. Harry Potter & the Cursed Child was a VERY quick read with lots of regurgitated or similar scenes from the previous books. In this story, Harry's son Albus is put in Slytherin along with his best friend Scorpius, Draco Malfoy's son. Voldermort's daughter uses a time-turner to try to save her father in this rather uninteresting script. (Although I admit it probably made a good play.)

Websites that share book reviews are worth visiting. I especially enjoy the What Should I Read Next podcast from Modern Mrs. Darcy.
Xeric environments are best for books.
Young adult books are great, don't disregard them simply because you're no longer a teenager. Robbie and I both recently completed the first three books in the new young adult series, Lois Lane, by Gwenda Bond.


As you might have guessed, the main character in this series is Lois Lane of Superman fame. These stories are set in present day. The first book starts out when a teenage Lois and her family move to Metropolis and she enters a new high school (again). She is determined to keep her curiosity under control and stay out of trouble, but (of course) finds herself in the midst of a mystery involving several other students and a company experimenting with questionable uses for virtual reality game technology. By the end of the story, Lois has uncovered the truth behind the company's research, made new friends, and become part of a group of junior reporters working for the Daily Planet. Oh, and she has an online friend who calls himself Smallville Guy!

The next two books continue to follow Lois as she and her friends track down stories, navigate the nuances of teenage friendships, and occasionally find themselves in dangerous situations. She continues to interact online with Smallville Guy and they eventually meet in person in the third book. Very enjoyable reads!

Zzzzzs can be optional when you're at a critical point in a book. Sometimes you just have to keep reading to see what happens!


  1. Great and FUN post! I'd add just one more tip: sign up for one or two good book review emails. I love the one from Tattered Cover in Denver, CO. It comes once or twice a week with concise reviews of books in many different genres as well as author interviews. I've discovered some great reads through their reviews. I keep a private wish list on Amazon of books I might like to read based on recommendations from reviews and friends.

  2. I also keep a private wish list of books I've seen recommended on blogs. I think I've read Gone with the wind three times and enjoyed The Hiding Place. I only have one fiction book on the go at a time, once I get engrossed in a book I take it everywhere with me.

  3. Loved this, but I have to admit my favorites were H, M, and Z. I'm sure you have some great stories to go with those. As for X, I had to put my dictionary to good use. I learn something new everyday. Thanks for taking on these challenging blog topics this year.


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