I just konmari’d my closet so trust me when I say, I dig the current trend for less clutter and more organization. I’ll take your advice on the underpants, but easy on my books, sister. (I guess not ALL of them spark joy, but most of them do!)
I have a confession to make: I read a lot last year but it wasn’t the satisfying kind of reading I’ve done in the past.
I was writing a book and sharing about my new passion so I read mostly for utility. Lot of books on how to write memoir and then whole memoirs or rereading parts of pieces of great memoirs. Then I read stacks and stacks of books on essential oils because not since medical school has anything so intrigued me and amazed me like these little drops of God’s making, so I had to learn more.
I read voraciously. I read health books, business books, then more memoirs.
It was wonderful and I learned SO much but I missed reading just for the sake of reading. I don’t think I read one whole CS Lewis book all year. (a long sad sigh) I think that’s the first time in ten years. I didn’t read a whole Chesterton book. I didn’t read many novels. And I want to change that. So, one of my goals this year is to broaden my reading again and to fight for reading in my own life and in the lives of those I meet. So here are my reasons for why you should still build a family library in a digital and minimal and kon-mari organizing age.
1. Reading is THE PERFECT antidote to our life of screens
I love screens and then I loathe them. I make my living by them. I wrote my book on one. I have found my dearest friends from them. I can serve my neighbor with them. But then I see how insidious they are and then I want to throw them all in the lake.
They change our mood. They shorten our attention spans. They change our brain chemistry. They change everything.
Which is also why I don’t read many ebooks. I like to hold my books in my hand, carry them around with me, dog ear them, write in them, spill coffee on them. Know exactly where I am in the book. And I want my kids to see me reading and not to have to guess whether I’m just surfing the net.
2. Physical books holding space in our homes sends a message
My older kids come home and inevitably shop from the home library. They look to see what’s new or what’s old that they forgot about. They borrow books. Or they get inspired by our book collection to make their own book collection. I probably won’t leave a huge pile of money to my kids but I want to leave them a legacy of reading good books.
Good books were my path out of poverty and a family history of violence and addiction. Good books changed everything for me. I held onto those words for dear life. And I want my kids to know those same words and to know the power of transformation that comes from reading.
3. Christians will always be people of the Word
God spoke life into being out of nothing. He created His people and then He gave them a book. A book of life, where He would share His love. And we learn to follow Him by listening to His words. Reading good books trains us on how to be good disciples. His book first, then other great books.
And then mystery of all mystery—the WORD became flesh and dwelt among us.
This Word changes everything. We must remain hearers of His good news.
So, what about you?
Are you struggling with the same thing? Are you tired of screens and scrolling?
Let’s break out some actual books, my dears! I’ll be giving my 2016 list later in the week!
p.s. Some books that remind us of the great power of books and the danger of not reading them:
Amusing Ourselves to Death, by Neil Postman
Imagination Redeemed, Gene Veith
The Medium is the Message, Marshall McLuhan
The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis
My book list in 2015 was abysmal as well, but I didn’t manage to squeeze in some great ones…
All the Light We Cannot See (one of the most well written books I’ve read in a while)
Listening is an Act of Love (the StoryCorps project (listen weekly on NPR) is amazing and beautiful and I want to take so many people in my life to record their amazing histories)
Reconstructing Amelia (I teach 8th grade and try to keep up on YA, this was my favorite)
Currently reading…Becoming Nicole and so far, it’s a pretty incredible story.
Southern Gal says
I’m having such a hard time this year finding a book I can actually get into and not put down by the third chapter. I’m continuing on, using Anne’s reading challenge as a guide. But if I don’t hit pay dirt here soon I’m going to cry! I love to read. I don’t know what the problem is, but I will overcome it! Can’t wait to read your list for the year.
Bailey wife @Irishman Acres says
I love a good novel, a good biography or memoir, a great design book (I read them cover to cover)… But for the life of me, I cannot get my brain to focus on the words of self-help books. I’ve tried and tried, but feel so guilty that I cannot stay involved. I’ll keep trying and keeping them around (sorry, Konmari) and maybe get into them later in life! I just love books!! ~Kim
Myra Adams says
Book recommendation: Letters to Kathy
Author Paul Francis Lanier
I could not put this book down. Lovingly. Powerful. I promise you’ll go deeper in God’s Word. Check it out on Amazon and Kindle is available, too.
I just got done listening to and then reading Marie Kondo’s book and it has been life-changing for me. I think I really just needed someone to make sense of thoughts I was already having regarding getting rid of STUFF and to give me permission to do it! Anyhow, I’m of the same opinion as you-lay off our books!
Teresa L Hardymon says
Yes! Love my books – I just keep buying them and stuffing them wherever. I’ve tried reading on my Kindle and it’s ok in a pinch, but give me a real live book any day. One I can flip back and forth between pages when necessary. One I can smell. Have to have the book in my hand – need the whole experience. And for all the reasons you said too! 🙂 I haven’t read enough lately – need to remedy that. I will look forward to adding your book to my shelves.
Just remember – Konmari is not about minimalism…it is about surrounding yourself with joy. I find very little joy in digital media…especially books. I want to touch them, see them, have them to access even when the batteries are all dead because the lights have been out for days. The mini library between the kitchen and the living room make me so happy…passing through with a bowl of soup, grabbing a book and settling in by the fire. There is no simpler joy.
One of my hopes is to reading more in 2016. I do love to hold books as well. Growing up I never went to the library because my mother had so many books to choose from in our home and I always love that. So my working plan is to create a new cozy place for my kids to discover so many wonderful books to read.
Amen & Amen!!! I will never believe that digital books are better, for any reason, than print books. I collect books, my husband collects books and our kids collect books. All kinds of books. In fact a sweet friend of ours, in her eighties, just gifted us a whole set of World Book Encyclopedias, copyright 1966! I adore them and we use them in homeschool! There is nothing better than curling up with a warm cup of tea or coffe, snuggling under a blanket and reading! Giving away books and whittling your library down to a few books sounds completely horrible to me! And by the way, how in the world can you soak up the Word of God digitally? I have to hold it in my hands, underline the truths and write notes in the margins so I will remember His faithfulness to speak to me! I am now getting down off my soapbox….
Julie Spear says
I totally agree with you… BUT, can you point me to some actual medical fact-type information regarding reading from a screen changing our brain chemistry? I have switched from doing a LOT of my reading on a computer screen, and I though since I don’t just surf and read garbage ( I do read actual real books and other awesome content), I thought I would be ok? But, I do think it is affecting my brain and making me stupid? or at least forgetful, and worried that I may have early Alzheimers, and blind TOO!!! I don’t just want to Google the subject, LOL!!! I would like to study up some good research on the subject, can you point me in the right direction?
Christa Threlfall says
I have so many books in my little ones’ rooms! They are constantly pulling books down to browse through and I LOVE that.
Thanks for this post, Edie!
Thank you for affirming truth! There is something important and weighty about an actual book.