Well, that's a year... the end of this blog project seems so anti-climactic, but such is life. I am excited that I have attained my goal: to read one book a week for an entire year.
The benefits of reading 52 books in a year have been enormous. For starters, I feel better. I don't know everything (no one can), but now I know I don't know everything. That in itself is amazing. (My little brothers will back me up on that one.)
I have easier, better conversations. If you can speak to a subject intelligently, you can gain more confidence in your everyday conversations and connect with more people. I can't tell you the amount of people who I have been able to befriend this past year. I feel alive and vibrant when I'm speaking to people, and I know it shows.
I didn't realize how much this blog was going to affect me, and the people who read it. I have had people slip me book recommendations in the middle of business meetings. I have been asked to review not one but two novels by a hesitant writer needing tips on readability. I have found a new second home in my library, and have gotten to know the librarians (and the library system) extremely well. By the way, Delaware's library system is pretty cool, and the online catalog (and book request system) has been enormously helpful throughout this year. Go to http://www.lib.de.us/. For those of you that didn't know that libraries still existed, shame on you.
I am and will always be a reader, as long as I am able. This past year has been incredible, and has opened my mind in ways I would never have expected. And it didn't take that much effort, just commitment.
A lot of people have said that they want to read more but just don't have the time. If you want give yourself the gift of reading, you must make time. There are so many books to read, and we all have so little time. That is true for every one of us. Think about it: if I could fit only 52 books into a year, and say I have 60 years left, I'm only going to be able to read 3,120 books. Next year, that number goes down by 52. I'm not wasting a single second. I know that I will never be able to read all of the books I want to in my lifetime.
I encourage you - hell no, I'm telling you flat out - your life will benefit from reading more books. And you can find the time if you put your mind to it.
I work a demanding "part-time" job, am a mother of two, find time to go to services once or twice a week, volunteer, produce the church newsletter, spend time with my relatives and friends, maintain a constant Facebook presence (don't know if I should really be proud of that), exercise, watch movies (TV took a back seat this year), do laundry, wash dishes, play games, travel, and I usually still get to bed before 10 p.m. (Every once in a while I clean the bathrooms.) Most of you know I'm not a model wife or mother all the time, but my point is, I have a very full life. And I have been able to fit reading into the mix. A lot of reading.
So turn off the TV, pick up a book, start anywhere. And go to the library. Sit down and take it all in. Then find a section that interests you. And grab a few books. Renew that library card, pay off the fines (or move to a new state if you have to), just start now.
If you need some book recommendations, go to http://www.npr.org/ and check out their reading lists. You can also go to http://www.pulitzer.org/bycat to see the Pulitzer Prize categories and their listings by year. I've found a lot of great books on both of those sites.
Reading opens up your life in ways you never imagine. I love it. And I thank you for taking this journey with me.
That's a wrap.