Get the Most from Your Summer Reads

Optimize Summer Reads

Now that we are a few posts into my blog, I feel like I can be a bit more candid with you. Today, I'd like to share some embarrassing book confessions...

Confession #1: I used to hate reading. Not just hate...LOATHE.

I had grown accustomed to reading for academics and other purposes that stretched nowhere near the realm of reading for pleasure. It took reading on various platforms (first magazines in the doctor's offices, then internet surfing, then a visit to the coastal bookstore with my mom to pick up a little something to keep me occupied during beach lounging since I got bored and annoying quickly) for me to realize that [cue epiphany music] reading can be ENJOYABLE! My grade school and high school teachers weren't just blowing smoke with all of that “reading is fun” jazz! 

Confession #2: One of the summer activities that I most look forward to now is quiet evenings by the shoreline or on the porch with one of the “must read’s” that I pick up at the end of the school year from the coastal bookstore. Just touching those fresh smooth covers, flipping through the crisp pages, and taking in that new book smell, instantly sends a jolt of both exhilaration and stillness through me. 

Ok, that may not be a huge confession, but the next part surely is: 95% of the books that I choose are quintessential CHICK LIT. Those crazy, silly, Bridgit Jones-style tales of love and mishaps and escapades and laughs and ridiculousness that always end with the clumsy and lost girl finding her strength and getting her dream man. Ugh, I know.

These books of course aren't exactly life-altering, but, I do tend to get a great deal from them. Almost as much as those that are meant to provide you with some brilliant philosophies on personal growth and development. 

How? 

1. I set my purpose for reading and choose my books accordingly. 

Am I reading for personal growth? To be carried away? For fits and giggles? No matter what, I make sure to set my purpose before choosing the book of the moment. Setting your purpose not only provides you with a natural way to reflect on whether or not your purpose was met, but it also heightens your focus and provides your brain with a greater reason for soaking in the text. Additionally, setting a purpose gives you a clear-cut mission when searching for your personal set of present “must-read” books.

2. No matter what the purpose, I make certain that I will walk away feeling optimistic and uplifted after I read.

No matter what the sub-purpose, my base aim is ultimately to feel good after reading. The way Disney movies used to make me feel as a kid! I want to feel empowered and hopeful and to catch that glimmer of magic. I don't choose books that will make me feel discouraged or that will bring me down. Some may not agree with this, and that is totally fine! It's just my personal preference. 

3. I finish one book before starting the next.

Even if the book I am reading doesn’t move me, I still finish it. That way, the feeling of non-resolution is never an issue, I feel a sense of accomplishment for reaching the end, and no matter what, I always gain something from reading…even those books that aren’t what I had hoped for. 

4. I take note of words, quotes, themes, and take-aways that speak to me.

It may be an amusing word that strikes my fancy, a funny or powerful quote that I’d like to keep in my back pocket, or a concept that could contribute to some manner of personal development. Whatever if may be, if something jumps out at me, I take note. This may be done by writing notes/capturing images on my phone, bullet journaling, creating a book mind map, or by completing this fun little activity and keeping it in a binder with my other reading take aways! 

So, now that summer is fast approaching, picture this...

You. Sipping a frosty concoction from an umbrella-adorned coconut shell cup. Toes sinking in the sand. Cool ocean breeze offsetting the heat from the sun. Summer read in hand just waiting to whisk you away with whatever purpose you set. Deep breath. Calm. Stillness.

It will be here before you know it! 

Do you have any books in mind for summertime? Tell us about them in the comments below! 

 

 

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KJM COUNSELING

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