I believe in the power of stories. Whether genre or literary, fiction or non-fiction. I believe that a story has the power to save lives, or to create lives for people that they never imagined they could have. I believe a story has the power to speak to the soul, to demolish barriers and build connections. To nourish the heart. To inspire greatness and nobility. To instill ideals.
I believe that a made up story can become part of us in ways that real events sometimes cannot.
I also believe that reading is one of the most important activities children can participate in, at any age. Whether by being read aloud to (which is crucial), or by picking up books themselves. Even if those books are genre fiction. Even if they’re stories with few “merits” outside of their entertainment value. Those stories are often gateways to a vast array of more challenging literature. Whatever it takes to create a reader, is worthwhile.
Because reading is so important to me, I decided to set myself a challenge. This year, before 11:59pm on December 31st, I intend to read 100 books.
I didn’t invent this challenge, there’s a SparkPeople group, a GoodReads group and I’m sure a dozen other groups of valiant book lovers setting out to do the same thing. Will some of us fail? Yes. Will there be injuries, perhaps even deaths? I can’t rule that out.
In addition to the merits of reading for my own pleasure, as a parent, I believe that anything I want to teach my children must be modeled. If I want them to read willingly and to love reading, I have to show them that I read willingly and love reading.
There are three things you can do to support me.
Firstly, insofar as I generally read the books that I want to, when I want to, my backlog is pretty small. I could use some suggestions on what to read. To that end, a comment below recommending a book or books will be helpful. Unless I’ve already read it, I will read the first book in your comment, whether or not it seems like something I would like. Caveat! If I feel that you’re suggesting “War and Peace” or some other horrific, 1,900 page long piece, I will accuse you of cruelty and I will probably decline to read it. Other than willfully attempting to make me fail through sheer magnitude, nothing will cause me to decline a First Pick. Consider this your chance to share something you love.
Secondly, consider this an opportunity to commit to reading along with me. You don’t have to read a hundred books. I will be providing weekly posts on my progress and I would love to get comments about what you’re reading in those posts.
Finally, I’m putting (some of) my money where my mouth is. If I successfully complete the challenge, I will donate $1 per read book to a reading-related charity. If I fail, I will donate $3 per read book to a reading related charity. I have yet to choose a charity, and if there are any reading or literacy driven charities that you’re aware of, support, or are involved with, I’d love to know about them.
If you want to further motivate me, you could commit a dollar-value-per-book-I-read-to-the-reading-charity-of-your-choice(TM). Like a Jog-a-Thon…or a Read-A-Thon! It’ll be on your honor to make any of these donations, at the beginning of next year, since I have no desire to handle your money. Sorry. Money is filthy.
[Parents: While digging up some of the links for this post, I found this awesome reading Milestones graphic]