reading routines

August 27, 2008

I enjoy reading enough that even grad school wasn’t able to take the joy out of it. It just exposed me to a lot more material that I haven’t read yet. Being a few months removed from all that required reading, I’m starting to develop some patterns for what I’m reading.

I’m usually in the middle of five or so books at a time. This means I have something available that I might be in the mood for at any given time. Sometimes you get tired of a book and you don’t want to go on, so it is nice to have a book available that grabs your interest. (Note: I have a sickness and I have to finish a book if I start it. It’s a bad, bad thing. Don’t be like me. There are plenty of books out there that aren’t worth finishing. (Note about the note: But, there are also some books that are hard to read, but worth the effort, so my illness does have some upside.))

To make sure I’m working with a decent selection of books, I usually have a book going in each of these broad categories:

  • Knowledge/learning: I try to always have one book going that is mostly information…usually leaning toward an academic kind of book. These are the ones that require me to set aside some undistracted time and discipline myself to work through. These are usually theology or history books.
  • Church/leadership: This is the category that I can almost always be excited to read from…books about how the church should work, or what it means to function in the leadership role of a church.
  • Personal growth/interest: This category is wide open. This might be anything from a book on creativity or culture or food. Anything that I see on Amazon or in a bookstore that catches my fancy. I also subscribe to Fast Company and Wired which are representative of this category.
  • Fiction/narrative: At the beginning of this year, I committed to always be reading a story, whether that be fiction, or some other form of narrative like a biography. No regrets. I’ve read, and been stirred, by some fantastic stories.
  • Bible study: Alongside fiction, this is the category that I try to read in daily, if possible. I like to read something alongside a Scripture. For the past few years, I’ve been reading through NT Wright’s For Everyone series which I find to be a good mixture of practical and scholarship.

You might think these categories are very broad, and they are. There is a lot of crossover between all of them. Each category informs the other, which is why I think it is so helpful to have several books going at once. Reading one book through the lens of another often leads to some interesting insights.

I used to have my current reads in my sidebar, but I have moved them to my readings page. I’m annoyingly obsessive about keeping it up to date, so take a peek any time you like.

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