Saturday, May 25, 2013

my eyes are bigger than my attention span

If you follow me on Instagram (@amandalouise01), you'll see that my feed is usually full of food, coffee, and what I'm currently reading. I was talking with a friend recently and they couldn't believe how fast I read. I do read incredibly fast (hardly a speed reader, but faster than average I'd guess), but I was a bit confused by their comment until I realized - they thought that every time I Instagrammed a new book, I had finished the one I'd previously photographed.

Ha. Ha ha ha.

I have a chronic condition that prevents me from sitting and plowing through one book completely before beginning the next. I don't have ADD, I swear. I just can't help myself. I want to read everything. All at once. I read a chapter here and there, and slowly make progress on a stack of books so large it's not even a stack anymore.

It's a shelf.

That top shelf? My "currently reading" shelf. It's 2 rows deep.
I know.

And the number I've dabbled in over the past couple weeks? Way over a dozen. It's a problem, I tell you.

Instead of trying to change this behavior, I created this blog to facilitate it. I don't read a book and then want to write a review. I read a chapter, underline some great thoughts I want to think or talk about, then move on to the next book and don't come back around to it again until maybe a month or so later. Writing some of them down and sharing them here helps me remember where I left off.

I'm always curious about others' reading habits. Are you the type to steadfastly finish what you start, or do you pop from one thing to the next?

Here's a peek at the 5 most recent books I've been reading (there are many, many more):
-The Princess by Lori Wick*
-Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer
-Quiet by Susan Cain
-Five Chiefs by Justice John Paul Stevens
-Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

*I don't really read fiction and when I do I'm snobby about it. With one small exception: I have a soft spot for cheesy Christian romances that I read in high school and occasionally break them out as comfort reading. Like ice cream for my brain.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's the rare person who can't benefit from a happiness project...

I am, perhaps, the last 20-something girl on the internet to dive into Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. It's really shocking how behind the curve I've been on this, given how much we have in common.


After about 4 pages it became clear that Rubin could be my spirit animal, for every time I shook my head saying, "Yep. Been there, felt that."

I never called them "happiness projects" but since December 2008 I've worked on two Day Zero Projects* (also known as the 101 in 1,001 project). 202 goals all aimed at avoiding the fear that Rubin had, that we all have - the fear of wasting our lives.

I don't know about you, but I feel like my generation in particular is terrified of not doing something great with our lives. We've been raised with the belief that we're extraordinary, and many of us with strong encouragement to "save the world" (or at least make it a better place). I know that I want to do big things and live up to my potential. You know what I haven't given a whole lot of thought to?

What makes me happy. What does real happiness look like for me?

One easy answer that should come as no surprise is that books make me happy. When I make time to read, I am a happier person. So why don't I prioritize making time for things that make me happy? I'm working on that changing, really. Really.

Rubin quotes Colette early in the first chapter: "What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." I pray I never say that.

Do you prioritize your own happiness? What's one thing that makes you happy?

*several people have asked if I'll be continuing to follow my current 101 in 1,001 here (it expires in 2014). I guess that depends on if it'd interest you to read about it? Would you like to hear about my take on a happiness project?

Friday, May 10, 2013

there is so much to read, for one thing...

I've been obsessed with books for as long as I can remember. That's not an exaggeration; I learned to read at the age of 3 and cannot remember life without a book in my hand. My grandmother was a librarian and I recall many hours of my childhood summers spent exploring that magical place: The Library. I have a chronic thirst for the written word and a bad habit of starting new books before I finish what I'm currently reading. As a result, my "to be read" (I think internet parlance is TBR) stack is no longer a stack, but an entire shelf of a bookcase. Speaking of bookcases, I need to invest in another one because the one I have is stacked two rows deep.

Okay, you say. A girl who likes to read. Why blog about it? Well, for starters I've had a blog in one fashion or another for the past 8 years which is eternity in blogland. I've taken a break for several months but found myself missing the outlet and the community. I noticed in recent weeks that the most common topic of discussion with friends, virtual and IRL alike, was what I was reading. I love to talk books and have an eclectic taste (although admittedly light on fiction), so I decided to merge two of my favorite past times and here we are.

The theme of this blog was largely inspired by observations from the initial pages of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
"There was so much to read, for one thing...I was rather literary in college...and now I was going to bring back all such things into my life and become again that most limited of all specialists, the "well-rounded man.""
 Reading for pleasure took a back seat in graduate school and now, two years post-grad, I'm finally getting back into the swing of things. I moved to Nashville a little over a year ago, so there's a couple of layers to naming this wee blog the Next Page. I'm not interested in writing full-scale book reviews. Instead, I'm hoping to share those snippets that jump off the page, that earn a margin note or find themselves underlined. Good writing should make you think, and want to talk about what you read. I told you I read a million books at once, so I won't be making my way methodically through anything. Instead, you'll get pieces here and there of whatever moves me in the moment. I'm going to work to keep a page of what I mention, and you can visit my Goodreads profile to see what's on my list.

There is so much to read, and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you! I mentioned I was working my way through Gatsby (again) so now to you...what are you reading?
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