In 15 Years

At the beginning of the summer of 2006, 15 years ago, I returned every single book I had checked out from my local library. I packed my bags, and with them just one book: my Bible. I was heading to Jacksonville Florida for a Summer Training Program with the Navigators and had purposed that I would be, for that summer, a woman of one book.

My summer in Jacksonville was a fruitful time, life-changing in fact. God used the focused time in his word to cut through some key misunderstandings I had about the gospel and my standing before God. I wouldn’t trade that summer for anything.

But I did miss my library.

I returned home and went under the knife, getting a long-awaited septoplasty to help me breathe better. But that septoplasty left me recovering from surgery with NO LIBRARY BOOKS!

My library shelf (not all books shown - dozens more on my nightstand!)
My library shelf (not all books shown – dozens more on my nightstand!)

I hatched perhaps the craziest, most ambitious plan of my life – I would attempt to read every book in my local library. (Okay, I’m just realizing that maybe the craziest, most ambitious plan of my life has been to keep having children after all we’ve been through…I’ll have to think about which is crazier :-P)

I embarked 15 years ago, on September 5, 2006.

Reading Since September 5, 2006 (15 years)

CategoryItems in 2020-2021Total ItemsNotes
Juvenile Picture Books3722880My goal for 2021 has been to read at least one picture book a day – and I’ve been cruising right along. So far, I’ve closed out picture books author last name AA-EL and X (totally cheating because my library of record only has one picture book with an author last name X!)
Juvenile Board Books0558I closed these out in 2018 and, with pandemic going on, have chosen to only read our personal collection rather than borrowing board books from the library this past year. I *did* review my logs of board books read in the past to request favorites to be added to our collection as Christmas presents to Shiloh.
Juvenile First Readers47127I purposed to read one of these a week with Tirzah Mae during 2021, but have been disappointed to find that I’ve not been able to find decodable readers – everything is leveled readers, which don’t follow the best science for teahing reading but instead encourage kids to guess vs. decoding words. I’m still reading by myself but I’ve found precious little the Tirzah Mae can read to me as of yet (she’s getting close though – once we get to r controlled vowels soon her decoding ability will explode.)
Juvenile Fiction42452Between whole-family read-alouds during morning time, individual read-alouds with each of the three older children during their “special times”, and a bit of independent reading of my own, juvenile fiction reading has really picked up this year.
Juvenile Nonfiction54522I think we peaked on these pre-pandemic when the kids adored picking out their own nonfiction when we went into the library in person. My guess is we’ll increase again over time as we start doing more science and history work with our homeschool.
Teen Fiction1264One of my 2021 goals was to read a teen fiction book each month – Daniel found Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea books and we’ve both been enjoying those this year.
Teen Nonfiction05This is barely a category at the library, but it does have a few titles.
Adult Fiction8511My 2021 goal is one a month – and I’ve been keeping up (barely), which means I didn’t read any in the last quarter of 2020 :-)
Adult Nonfiction531084I don’t need a goal to keep my nonfiction reading up – this is the kind of reading I find easy to do in the 10-15 minute segments I have available (generally while exercising, using the restroom, or winding down before bed.)
Audio CDs4652243This really inflates my numbers – I listen to one to two albums per day, one album from each Library of Congress classification before looping back around to the beginning. In this way, we listen to a broad variety of music throughout the course of a week or month.
Juvenile DVD1280We’ve been enjoying watching the “Signing Time” videos, slowly (very slowly) building up our vocabulary in American Sign Language
Adult Fiction DVDs9128Daniel and I are watching (sometimes rewatching) the Marvel movies in chronological order – and, of course, we’re borrowing the DVDs or BluRay from the library to complete our watching
Adult Nonfiction DVDs1892SO. Many. Dinosaur. Documentaries.
Periodicals12143I’m reading “Women’s Health” this year – and I continue to hold to my opinion that all popular health media is a bunch of hot air carrying a thin veneer of science.
3.0 items/ day1.2 items/ day

I only have annual data for 2010 and then 2016 through now, but it’s interesting to see trends in my reading makeup over the course of the years. I have reason to believe that 2010 was actually an outlier as far as picture book intake – I believe I was trying in a concentrated way to make my way through the picture book collection at my library that year in a way I didn’t do before or after until I had children. Of the more recent data, you can see that my “grown up” reading tanked in 2018, the same year my children’s book reading really took off and I started getting serious about listening to CDs from the library. Is it a coincidence that this was the year that I had a three year old, a one year old, and was expecting baby #3? I’m guessing not :-)

When I look at the non-media, non-picture book reading I’ve done on an annual basis, I’m a little surprised at the variability of the past four years. Though if I think of it…

…2018 I hit board books hard, trying to finish the category (I didn’t succeed until just a bit into 2019)

…2019 we were at the library in person on a weekly basis and the kids were picking up dozens of nonfiction picture books every chance they could get

…2020 was pandemic and I had to read on a device or nothing for months while the library was closed (Ugh.)

…2021 has been my year to focus on “balancing” my consumption between library categories. Each day, I’ve tried to read one picture book and listen to one CD. Each week, I’ve tried to read one early reader, one juvenile nonfiction book, and one juvenile fiction book. Each month, I’ve tried to read one adult fiction and one teen fiction, watch one children’s DVD and one adult fiction and nonfiction DVD, and read one magazine. Nonfiction I read at will, which is lots :-)

So there we have it. 15 years of reading, right there.

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