Happy New Year, my friends!
Welcome to the fifth installment of my favorite posts to write this year! My list of Top 10 2019!
It’s been an action-packed, adventure-filled year here at Texas Over Fifty, and I’ve had a great time seeing new things while intentionally adventuring around this great state where we all get to live.
But … what you’ll find in my list of Top 10 2019 is not so much what I saw as what I saw in someone. These were the true memory-makers of the past 365 days, and I’m enjoying this time of sharing all of them with you.
Number 10 on the list was a story of what I saw in myself when starting over at Job #14 (or 15). While that experience was pretty monumental, Number 9 gave me even more to think about. Number 8 is the story of relaxing at a birthday sleepover with my granddaughter and remembering many sleeping-bag occasions of my own. Number 7 had me marveling at an old boyfriend from the past (how’s that for a teaser?), but sharing the next experience has my feet firmly planted in the present.
Well, actually, read on, my friend, because that last statement might not be entirely true.
Here’s #6 in my list of Top 10 2019.
Crushed My Goal
I’ve always been a reader, but this year I actually set a reading goal. I decided to read 35 books, but as the year came to a close, I was able to squeeze in a couple more.
Yep, by December 31, I had read every word of exactly 37 books!
Had a Whopper Year of Reading
I should probably tell you that I wasn’t the one to think of setting the goal, keeping track of the titles or writing the reviews.
It was my middle daughter who persuaded me to download an app and challenge myself to read more than I’d ever read before in a one-year time span.
The time was right for her to talk me into it. She was finally finished with what felt like about 100 years of nursing school, and she was super eager to expand her world to places outside the matching covers of a textbook. The year had just begun, and she wanted to read a new bestseller, the title of which was blowing up the recommendations of what seemed like every bookish Instagrammer.
“You know what would be fun, Mom?”
“Let’s read this book together.”
The book was Where the Crawdads Sing, and we read it out loud to each other on a long drive from Houston to Amarillo and back during the 3rd week of January.
Goodness, what fun we had! As every suspenseful chapter ended, we couldn’t wait for the next one to begin. The trip flew by, much faster than usual, while we tried to guess the next plot twist and compared how each of us thought the book might end.
The Last Time I Read a Book Out Loud With My Kids
The last time I read a book out loud with one of my kids was the week I spent tending to the same daughter when she came home from Africa with a high fever and resistance to antibiotics.
That was her first year of nursing school, and I was sure wishing I was a nurse myself. All I knew to do was follow doctors’ orders, keep meticulous records of her medicinal intake, force the fluids, and read out loud to keep her from worrying that she was about to kick the dang bucket.
By the time we finished The Help, I had a stress-induced case of the shingles, and she remembered absolutely none of the details of the book.
But, thankfully, my 20 year-old baby girl was on the mend.
Follow Me on Goodreads!
No sooner had we read the last page on that road trip with the singing crawdads, than Aly had snatched my phone and downloaded my now-favorite app.
It’s called Goodreads, and if you’re not on it, I hope to persuade you to get there before your head hits the pillow this very night.
I think you’ll really love this online commnity of readers. And, of course, I want you to follow me!
Make Your Own Challenge for 2020
So, why did I include reading 37 books as #6 in my list of Top 10 2019 experiences?
I saw the world through the eyes of people who had been where I would never go. Like the brave young woman who penned her complicated life story in Educated.
Historical stories like Last Christmas in Paris brought tears to my eyes as I felt what it was like to live in a time of war.
When I read a book written by one of my coworkers, I was amazed! She wrote the whole thing while riding the train to and from work. And it was really good!
After I finished a book my granddaughter picked out for me to read, I felt especially blessed.
And it just felt so good to crush a lofty goal – 11,165 pages in all.
How many books will you challenge yourself to read this year? Where all will you go in the eye of your mind? What new worlds will you explore, and what new things will you learn?
How to Choose What to Read
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) estimates that almost 3 million new book titles are published worldwide each year.
With so many choices and so many avenues from which to choose them, how do you really narrow it down to a doable list?
Here’s how I plan to tackle my 2020 Reading Challenge. I don’t want to just wait for books to appear out of the sky (or out from under the bed). So, I decided to look for books within these specific categories:
Books I’ve started and never finished
Books I already own
Books checked out from the library
A book by a favorite pastor
A good autobiography
Something my granddaughter would read
A good series
This Time Next Year
The books I want to read will likely always outnumber the books I have actually read. But by checking the Goodreads reviews, and adding titles to my “Want to Read” shelf on the app, I feel a relaxed sense of control over what I’m reading.
This time next year, I hope to be feeling something even better – an exhilarated sense of accomplishment!
Encouraging a life filled with everyday intentional adventure and a whopper year of reading what you love,