What's On Your Reading List?

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”

Neil Gaiman

Time is flying and we’ve made it to Week 4 in the mid-year series! This week is short and sweet, but also one of my favorite topics that we’ll be diving into. Why is it one of my favorites? Because I believe books are one of the most important parts of our growth and development. And I’m not just talking about business books or text books, I’m talking about ANY books. The stories in the books we read teach us empathy, they expose us to different viewpoints and they allow us to travel without leaving our couches. These stories in-turn impact our interactions and our thinking in the real-world.

“You are a reader, and therefore a thinker, an observer, a living soul who wants more out of this human experience." -Salil Jha

This week your task is to create your reading list for the remainder of the year. Below you’ll find my Reading List Blueprint that will help you layout which books are a priority for you now until the end of the year.

Reading List Blueprint

Step 1 - Find Inspiration. Having trouble thinking of books you want to read this year? Start by browsing a few of my favorite digital book clubs and recommended reading lists.

-Hello Sunshine

-Oprah's Book Club

-Check out your local library - Your local library is full of amazing resources from recommended reading lists, artist talks and more.

-Bill Gate's Summer Reading List

-Brene Brown recently released her new grad reading list and it looks fantastic.

Step 2 -  Create a realistic plan.  Once you've found some inspiration and identified a handful of books that you want to read, create your reading plan that's aligned with your schedule + lifestyle. Last year, I set a goal of reading 100 books within the year. It's no surprise that when you look at my schedule (work, side hustles, building a community org, prioritizing my marriage and still keeping up with friends/family) that I didn't reach that goal. Creating a realistic plan is the best approach. 

The key here is that a number doesn't matter, it's about picking a plan that you can stick with to help you prioritize your reading but not turn it into just another to-do on your to-do list.  I've seen a variety of reading plans that could all work, find the one that makes sense for you:

-Creating a plan based on how much time you'll spend reading daily, weekly or monthly.

-Creating a plan based on a recommended reading list or book club where the reading cadence is ad hoc or monthly.

-Creating a plan based on the number of books you want to read.

-Creating a plan based on the actual book titles that interest you.

Step 3  - Find the right tools. I'm a big believer in maximizing technology for what it really is -- a tool! There are so many reading tools that can make your reading a seamless part of your routine. A few of my favorites include:

-Audible | While I'm getting ready in the morning or when I'm commuting for work, listening to my books on Audible builds reading into my everyday.

-Goodreads| Do you struggle to remember the books you've previously read? Or what about that book title a presenter raved about at a conference but you forgot to write it down and can't remember the name or the author? If any of that feels familiar, Goodreads is your new friend. It's an amazing app that let's you track the books you've read, interact with other voracious readers and create a “Want To Read” list.

So What will you include on your reading list?

Will it be filled with industry specific content to help you grow professionally or will it include juicy fiction novels that will take you to far off places and different worlds entirely?

There’s no right or wrong answer for what to include on your list. The important part is generating a list in the first place. I’ve found that in the busyness of life that one of the first areas that gets de-prioritized when things get hectic is our READING. We come up with a million excuses for why our reading (which brings us joy and knowledge) gets put on the back burner. We’re too tired, our schedules are too jammed packed and we don’t have the time. But that’s stop that mindset. Let’s get reading back on your radar and into our regular routine.

Now that you know your list, add it to your mid-year goal tracker!