For the Love of Reading

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One of my core values is Growth/Learning, and one of the ways it manifests is in my love of reading. Whether it’s reading for work, for personal development, or just for pleasure, I usually have multiple books going. My entire family loves books. Our house is overflowing with bookshelves, and for years we had a “Never get rid of any book” policy. We’ve finally revised that policy as the kids got older, but it’s still hard to part with them.

My limited shelf space in my office is carefully curated with some of my favorites that I want to be able to access quickly. They tell my story, and I love to see a visitor eyeing my shelves and learning more about the things I value. I have devoted two shelves to coaching and leadership, one shelf to philosophy, one to running, and one to superheroes. One shelf remains unclaimed, and leadership is likely to overtake that one as well.

With my love of books comes a dangerous trap. If a book is tied to learning of any kind, I tend to buy it without thinking about budget implications. If it’s purely for pleasure, maybe I think about the expense a bit more before I make the purchase, but often I don’t. I have discovered a few techniques in recent years to help me keep my expenses in line without sacrificing my love of reading.

The most obvious one is your local library. A few years ago, I was stuck in my childhood perspective of a physical library with physical books. I didn’t leverage it because I didn’t want to take the time to go there. If you’re still stuck in this perspective, I encourage you to take a fresh look. With the move to digital, libraries have a tremendous amount to offer without ever leaving the comfort of your favorite device. My library uses the Libby and Hoopla apps, which lets me check out and listen to audiobooks. I can also get digital books and read them in the Kindle app. It has reciprocal agreements with all the neighboring counties, which means I have access to digital content across several library systems. 80% of the time when I’ve wanted to find an audiobook, it’s been available at my library. Yes, this has saved me a lot of money, as well as some physical shelf space. It also has opened a world of possibilities I never explored before. If you’re on the fence about a book, and you can check it out instantly with your device, you are far more likely to give it a chance.

Another great way to explore more possibilities is the Goodreads app and website. I like to use Goodreads to track what I’ve read and the things I want to read. I can discover new possibilities from the community or my social network. If I’m on the fence about a book I will often check reviews on Goodreads as well as Amazon to get two perspectives. It also helps me realize how many books I have going at once – if there are more than four, that’s usually a sign that I’ve subconsciously given up on at least one of them.

Speaking of Amazon, while I don’t own a physical Kindle device, I do use the Kindle app on my phone and tablet. It comes in handy when I find myself with some extra time on my hands – like waiting for my booster shot. A book is always at my fingertips. My family has a Kindle Unlimited subscription, and for us it’s been worth it. I’m surprised at the number of books I’ve wanted to read that were included with that subscription. Your mileage may vary, but next time you’re thinking about buying something, check to see if it comes with Kindle Unlimited, and if so, consider trying that for a month instead.

Did you find these tips helpful? How do you support your love of reading?

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