“A lot of people ask me if I were shipwrecked and could only have one book, what would it be? I always say, ‘How to Build a Boat.”‘—Stephen Wright

I think I might need to add a book on survival skills to my book list!

So this year I have committed to reading 52 books and as part of the reading challenge I have been sharing the experience with followers on social media. The response I have received from people has been amazing!

Some friends have suggested other books.

Some friends have reached out to let me know I have inspired them to read more.

Some have even felt inspired by the thoughts I share from my readings on twitter.

It has truly been a special experience and I am only 1 month in to the process. Thank you for all the support!

So whatever happened to the bookworms? It has been a while since I have heard anybody called that!

In our generation we binge watch our favorite TV shows and even take some small pride in our ability to sit lazily on the couch and watch an entire season of the newest Netflix show in a weekend.

We spend countless hours on social media wading through fake news, political rants on Facebook, photoshopped Instagram photos, and windows into the lives of our friends on Snapchat. The list of social media black holes for our time goes on and on.

So I am on a quest to read 52 books this year and people think I am crazy for attempting this, but I recently read an article that does the math and it calculates that the time the average American spends on social media every year equals the time it would take to read 200 books!!!

As an English teacher I can attest to the struggle of getting students to actually read the books we assign for homework instead of just studying the spark notes. Just this year I made it a core part of every class that we would all read for at least 5-10 minutes and some books we read nearly the whole book as a class, because it was so important to me that the students actually read the book.

And this season as a head basketball coach I had my team read something after nearly every practice and game for 5-15 minutes and then we would discuss. A super powerful activity!

Years ago in the early stages of our relationship my wife and I had to live apart for almost a whole two years with an ocean between us. We did not just survive, but grew as a couple during our long distance relationship by reading together on Skype every few nights.

More coming in my next blog about how reading can feed your relationships with family, students, and players!

Books have so much to offer all of us and we should be seeking a better balance between TV, social media, and reading.

The challenge for most, including myself, is TIME. We lack the discipline necessary to make the time to read daily. The last 5 years of my life I tried to build the habit of reading for 15 minutes every night and I continuously failed to build this habit, but my recent success at reading has been due to some changes in my habits and in the way I read.

My 9 Tips for Reading More in the 21st Century

  1. List- Start by making a list of books! Have a variety between biographies, non-fiction, classic literature, modern literature, etc.. MAKE sure you have some transformational books on that list. Books that will provide inspiration and insight into becoming a better person.
  2. Audiobooks- Great for car rides or just put your headphones in and listen while you do work around the house!
  3. Phone- I never considered it, as I always thought my phone was to small for reading a book. However, one day it hit me that I was already spending hours reading on my phone (just not books), so why not put a book on my phone to read as well?
  4. Journal- Write down your favorite quotes or just scribble down any thoughts you may have worth remembering when reading a book. YOU WILL NOT REGRET THIS!
  5. Commit- Set aside a daily commitment for a minimum time to read. Even just starting with 5 minutes once a day and keeping this up for 21 days is said to build the habit.
  6. Share your list with a friend or on social media- You are more likely to followthrough on your commitments if you make them public.
  7. Discuss- Everyone loves talking about a book they read recently. So when you read a book discuss with someone else your thoughts!
  8. Multiple Books- Sometimes you just want to dive into a good story! Other times you need some heavy reflective reading. Currently I cycle between a hardcopy book, audiobook, and book on my phone. All three are vastly different and feed my soul in completely different ways!
  9. Read with Others- I am super excited to read to my daughter books other than “Good Night Moon”! Some of my best memories as a child were reading Roald Dahl books with my mother!

I hope you not only seek this challenge of reading more, but can thrive on the challenge. It is a powerful opportunity for growth. Click here to discover how to learn more from what you read!

We do not just want to survive our challenges, but thrive and grow from them.

-J.P. Nerbun

February 2017

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