I rarely use this particular spot on the web for posts such as this one, but since we're debuting a special new feature today at CatholicMom.com, I thought I would dive into a bit of personal blogging. I'm happy to welcome Carolyn Astfalk of My Scribbler's Heart to our CM family. With "An Open Book", Carolyn will be blogging monthly with an invitation to dialogue about reading and all things book-related.
Carolyn invites us:
Share what you’re reading by linking up your blog post below. Simply write about what you’re reading. You can make it personal or, as I do, extend it to the whole family. Your post can be as simple as a few lines about the book or as in-depth as a 700-word review. That’s entirely up to you. You can even forego writing all together and record a video or simply post cover photos.
To be honest, I've been examining my reading habits over the past few months since I assumed my new duties as Editor-at-Large with Ave Maria Press. It has long been clear to me that to be a decent writer, one must be a voracious reader. The complication that also presents itself is that to be a published writer, one must also spend time crafting and polishing a "platform". I have fallen prey to the bad habit of spending more time reading Facebook, Twitter and Instagram than actual books. The result has been detrimental to my brain. My focus has felt shot. Paragraphs of longer than two lines or sentences with more than 140 characters have begun to unduly challenge me.
Something's got to give.
Enter Carolyn's new feature, which has come at exactly the moment when I'm beginning to listen to the Audible version of the fascinating book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport. While I'm only into Chapter Two of the book, it's already had an impact on my daily routine. And I find myself longing to reprioritize the place of intentional reading in my days.
As a part of our ongoing preparations to move to Los Angeles, I've already "tidied" more books than the average person will probably own in the entire lifetime. I had to let many go, but I also retained thousands that are now in a storage locker (in protective plastic bins!). I hope that when they are set free in their new home, I will be a more worthy reader, someone more ready to treasure them, learn from them, and share them with others.
So I'm excited to join Carolyn's new monthly look at "what I'm reading". I will be doing it here on my personal blog and sharing a few highlights of what I've read recently. The list will likely be eclectic and weird and very "Lisa", so be forewarned. And I will use the word "read", although I often enjoy my books on Kindle or via Audible.
For now, here's a look at just a few of my current favorites:
- Messy & Foolish by Matthew Warner
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
- The Four Keys to Everlasting Love: How Your Catholic Marriage Can Bring You Joy for a Lifetime by Dr. Manuel and Karee Santos
For the future, I will likely share a few notes about each of the books I share on this feature, but for today the "get it done" mentality means keeping things simple. As part of my commitment to intentional reading, I will be sharing my reviews on Amazon and my Goodreads bookshelf.