Back in the day I wrote a huge research paper about peasants as significant characters in Leo Tolstoy’s novels. I loved Tolstoy, and I practically inhaled Anna Karenena. This was during my years as an academic, and I was reading many big and worthy books every year.
And to this day, I read Anna Karenena every year on a plush red couch that is strangely outside in the middle of a field of sunflowers.
Pshhh, I wish. (Hahahaha, y’all were like, “I’m not relating to this at all…”)
Y’all know what I’m referring to, right, when I talk about couches outside? Like the pictures on beautiful peoples’ Instagram feeds? I love them, they’re so pretty, it’s total Instagram goals.
I also don’t relate to those perfect couch pictures at all, and I always wonder if their marriage withstood her seriously telling her husband, “I need you to carry this couch down the stairs and outside into a field so that I can take a picture of our children in coordinating – but not matching – outfits.”
But I digress.
You want to know the last time I read anything by Tolstoy? Back in the day when I wrote a giant research paper about peasants as significant characters in Leo Tolstoy’s novels.
I have been out of the academic bubble for many years now and I just don’t read like I used to. I blame my lack of time to read on keeping all these little humans alive. My husband attributes my lack of reading time to the fact that America’s Next Top Model reruns are on all of the time. Who’s to say which of us is right?
It’s hard to find the time and motivation to read these days. So, why do I keep a list of books that I want to read?
I have a book bucket list because it’s good to aspire to things. It’s good to have goals. A mom reading list shows me my progress and encourages me to keep going.
Reading is good for my mind. It’s even better for my soul. But if I don’t write down what I want to read, I’ll never make it a priority.
For all of those reasons, you should have a reading bucket list, too.
3 Steps for a Reading Bucket List:
Believe that you are worthy of the time and effort it takes to read a book.
This step might be the hardest. Listen, it is work for most of us to read a book for no other reason than that we want to. There are so many people who need something from you, and a few people who need everything from you. It is hard to prioritize reading just because we want to read.
You are worth the effort it takes to read a book. You are worth a special trip to the library by yourself. Seriously. It is ok to take time to read for your own enjoyment.
And I don’t mean that it is ok to read Bible studies and parenting books. I mean it is ok to take time to read a book, even if it is just fluff.
So, say “no” to stuff you don’t want to do, make the effort to read a few pages during the kids’ naptimes, and don’t feel guilty about it.
Write down the books you want to read.
If I don’t write something down I do not remember it. Period. So I have a written down list of the books that I want to read, and when I read them I mark them off with a blue highlighter.
If you do not write your list of books down, you will not remember them. Period. And you will never think of the book and your great desire to read it until you are reminded of it in many years when your kids are in high school and bring home their summer reading assignment and it’s that book. And you will swear it was recently published because you planned to read it, and they will inform you it is now a “classic.”
If you write it down now you may actually read it.
I have two book bucket lists. The first reading list I have is in my planner, aka MY LIFE BOOK. Planner people understand. On this list I jot down books that are recommended to me or I hear about and want to read.
It isn’t anything fancy, but it keeps me from having to text my whole small group from church asking, “Hey, about six months ago did one of you recommend a book to me that would solve all my problems? Because I can’t remember what it was, so if you could remind me that would be great.”
I don’t rank the books or anything like that, it’s just a place for jotting down anything that makes me say, “Huh, I’d like to read that.”
My second book bucket list is a spreadsheet on my computer. On this spreadsheet I have a list of everything Agatha Christie ever wrote. I love Agatha Christie books and collect old editions of them, so it’s how I keep track of what I have and what I’ve read. I would like to read and own all of her books. This is definitely a lifetime book bucket list!
Then I’ll lovingly bequeath all of these books to my children with the promise to haunt them for the rest of their days if they do not forever cherish their mother’s musty collection of paperback murder mysteries.
The two lists have different purposes. The one on the computer is more of a lifetime goal, the one in my planner is more of a near-future goal.
Change the literary bucket list as you change.
A long time ago I wanted to read all of the Steven King novels by the flicker of a lantern while I hiked the Appalachian Trail with an all-women backpacking club. I never did that because I am a pansy and I found out that Steven King’s books give me nightmares. I also never did this because my goals change as I age.
Start your book bucket list with whatever you would like to read right now. You could put on your list everything by a favorite author, or the dozen books you didn’t read in high school but were supposed to, or the books you have gotten for Christmas from your mother in law for the last six years.
The main thing is to start writing your list, but don’t be married to it if you decide later you don’t want to read those things. Just because you once wanted to read something doesn’t mean you have to keep it on your list. It’s a bucket list jotted on a page in your planner, or as a note on your phone, it isn’t carved in stone.
Now You Have a Book Bucket List and Can Start Reading
Once your list is written down you can start marking things off of it. So finish up that book bucket list! Then you too can start hiding from your children in the bathroom while you read just one more page!