Read More Books: Reclaiming my Literary Chutzpa in 2016 #book #reader #readingchallenge #blog #blogger #readinggoal #newyearsresolution #bucketlist

Read More Books: Reclaiming my Literary Chutzpah

In high school I was an avid reader.

It could have been because my teacher enforced a reading hour every day (thanks Mom!). It might have stemmed from the fact that we had bookshelves from floor to ceiling in our library room, and made weekly trips to the public library as well. But the honest to goodness truth is the real reason I was such a voracious reader was to keep up with my brothers. It was a combination of fierce determination and gleeful one-upmanship, pure and simple. If they were good readers I wanted to be just as good, if not better. It is the younger sister’s prerogative to try to exasperate her brothers, yes?

At some point during the school year my Mom, ever the artsy and creative teacher, came up with a scheme to help us read even more books. She began by cutting out caterpillars out of colored paper. She cut out the heads (mine was a girl with eyelashes, of course) and then she cut out multicolored segments to add-on to the caterpillars. Then, using double-sided tape, she taped the heads on the wall of our library, and told us kids that every book we finished we could write the title on one of the segments of the caterpillar, and add to our caterpillar. We would compete to see who would have the longest caterpillar by the end of the school year.

The race was on.

I remember reading, reading, and more reading. I was neck and neck (caterpillar and caterpillar) with my older brothers. As a girl surrounded by boys I was not going to be outdone by them in this larvae race.

Read More Books: Reclaiming my Literary Chutzpah

I can still picture those multi-colored caterpillars curling all over the walls, and my reading hour becoming longer every day as I hurried to keep in step with my brothers.

I owe a large amount of my literacy to those little bits of paper, my ever creative mother, and my own avid competitive streak.

Then I grew up, and college hit with its massive papers, dry reading assignments, and an endless array of scripts to be memorized. I was constantly reading, writing, and memorizing–not books I chose for myself–but rather books chosen by my professors. On breaks I was so relieved to have some down time I found my overworked brain relaxing into magazines, and my old favorite books (Jane Austen, Jan Karon, and Neta Jackson) as a sort of mental comfort food.

Read More Books: Reclaiming my Literary Chutzpah
That is me on your right (or stage left). Does this girl look like she has time to read? No way Jose! She is too busy growing a mustache amongst other things.

But the times are a’changing, since finishing up college over a month ago, I have started to feel my mental hunger for books return. So when my Mom issued a reading challenge for 2016 complete with a specific monthly goal as her only New Year’s Resolution I knew that this was the day to reclaim my literary chutzpah.

chutzpah: supreme self-confidence, nerve, gall. 

I am ready to rejoin the world of literary enthusiasts. I am hoping to regain some of the ground I have lost in the past few years as I worked my way through my Theatre degree.

The time has come to take back the caterpillar. Are you with me?

If you are interested in joining in the challenge hop on over to Mom’s blog, and read the specifics!

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9 thoughts on “Read More Books: Reclaiming my Literary Chutzpah”

  1. I know what you mean about college throwing a wrench into things. I wrote a lot in high school and then pretty much stopped writing creatively (without assignments requiring it) until the very week I graduated from college). I also largely stopped reading for pleasure (obviously, college requires a lot of reading, and I read plenty of good books in school!), until I got married–when I developed a weird habit of staying up all night reading Agatha Christie murder mystery novels because I didn’t want to go to bed since Angel was at work. It must have seemed logical at the time. After that, I didn’t read for a while because we were in China, English books were next-to impossible to find and I’m not really one to read books on the computer screen. I discovered the library here in December and thus far I’ve read 13 books in 2016 so I guess one could say that the habit is back. The library is very small, though, so I don’t know what I’ll do in 2017 since I’ll probably have read all the English books within my realm of interests by then…

    1. I am glad I am not the only one, Rachel! You habit of reading Agatha Christie mysteries made me laugh! What a fun memory for your first few months of marriage. 🙂 I have been doing some sleuthing on your blog, and have enjoyed reading about your travels. What an adventurous life you lead! When you run out of books to read maybe you can listen to audio books? I have been leaning heavily on listening to books, because I just tend to get a lot more book reading in.

  2. My blogging name isn’t “bookworm” for nothing. Nowadays, a lot of my reading is blogs and other online material. But I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas so….maybe I’ll challenge myself a little this year.

  3. This is a great idea. I remember doing something similar with my local library every summer. For every 10 books you read you received a prize. I loved reading but this made it even more fun. Especially the major prize at the end for the most books read over the summer.

  4. I love this! I rededicated to reading this year as well. I shared about some of my favorite motivational books and those I plan on reading. But I am wanting to read a lot of fiction too. It is so refreshing. I’ve been reading “One Thousand Gifts” and “The Martian”. “The Martian” is actually Mitch’s book, but it was next to me while rocking a sleepy, sick baby, so I started it. Though it is not my typical style of book, it is incredibly hard to put down!

  5. Oh Bethie, I just love everything about this post, starting with the title! Good for you for pushing yourself (again!) to do more serious reading, and to do more reading altogether. Don’t forget to join my Pinterest reading board here: AND please do feel welcome to pin the books that you are planning to read on the board! We can share in what we’re planning to read that way and hold each others’ feet to the fire. Thanks for remembering the reading caterpillars: I had almost forgotten about that. What a fun time that was! I’m sure you can attribute many of the successes in your life to your competitive streak, and the fact that you had older brothers (and a pretty clever younger one, too!) but I think you would have done just as much amazing stuff on your own, too. 😉

  6. I swear, I could’ve written this post! (Except mine was sailboats “sailing” around the room instead of caterpillars!) I was HUGELY competitive with my brothers, with reading especially, and I was the definition of a bookworm as a kid.

    I definitely need to read more these days. Thanks, as always, for the great post and the necessary reminder <3

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