Let’s Just Do It, Baby! Read More Books in 2016 Challenge

Do you make resolutions or goals for the new year?

I have to admit that other resolutions I make may come and go, but this is always and forever one of my goals, every year: to read more books.

Reading a book is one of the most pleasurable ways that I can imagine spending an hour or two (picture it: cat in lap, hot tea at hand, wood stove crackling nicely, classical music playing in the background) but I don’t indulge in just settling down and enjoying reading in a deliberate fashion often enough.

Can I hear a stout “Amen, sister!” here?

I read a page here, a chapter there—usually standing up at the kitchen stove, stirring the soup, or warming myself by the wood stove for a few minutes, I’ll pick up my current book and read for a few minutes. Possibly I’ll get a page or two in the last thing at night, before I fall into the arms of Morpheus.

When I am hankering to get some reading in, though, and the kids and I just need a lazy day, occasionally after the morning chores are done and school time dawns, I’ll put my robe back on and shriek “Reading Day!” and the kids will know that there will be no formal schooling that day, just endless cups of tea and quiet and each of us curling up in our respective corners, reading actual books.

Oh yes. Those days are my favorite.

Despite these attempts to read more each year, my unread stack of books gets higher and higher. I seem to have/make the time to shop for and buy books, but making the time to read them is harder to do.


The Unread Stack: So not cool.

I’ve decided that (newsflash!) I need help in this department of reading more books.

So I’m enlisting you, my dear Gentle Readers, in this quest: to read more books in 2016! I need some accountability here! Is this selfish of me? (And who cares if it is, if it helps me make more time to read, eh?)

Long live selfishness! say I. (Not really. I just felt like shrieking that. Along with “Reading Day!”)

I dearly want to be able to make a list at the end of 2016 of the books that I have read, not the books that I wish I would have read. It takes some deliberate thought and planning, though, to get more reading time in, for me, at least. And for you, too, I’ll wager. Also it takes lots of downloading onto my MP3 Player (that takes some thought and planning for me, too) because I totally count books listened to in my list of books read for the year.


All that time out in the hoop house, picking cherry tomatoes or weeding the pepper patch or transplanting seedlings? It’s time that I also spend, happily lost in the embrace of a good book, since I keep my MP3 player fully loaded with great books . . . unless little Mack or Amalia are helping, inwhich case there’s plenty of chatter.

Either way, it’s all good.

Amalia and I are enthusiastic listeners-of-books, and nearly every time she downloads a new book, she asks me if I want her to put it on my MP3 player, too. I know, I know, I am so blessed in the Children Department.

Now in the “Give Credit Where Credit is Due” Department, I’ve got to say that I shamelessly stole borrowed this Reading Challenge idea from one of my favorite bloggers, Anne of The Modern Mrs. Darcy, who reads an inspirational number of books every year. Way ta go, Anne, you inspire me!


So this is how it’s all goin’ down. I’ve jotted down a list of categories of books that I’d like to read this year, and I will pick a book to fit each category. I’ll publish the books and my thoughts about them when I’ve read them here on my blog. I’m choosing one book per month for this challenge, though of course I’ll try to read more than that (pshaw!).

Still hopelessly aping inspired by Anne’s ideas, I also set up a Pinterest board just for this challenge, and I’d love it if you all joined me there. Share with me your own reading picks and plans in the comments below, and on my/our new Pinterest board, and we can encourage each other in reading more books this year!

Who is ready for this?

*waving hand wildly* I am! I am! I am!

Again, here’s my new Pinterest Board and don’t forget to “like” my Facebook page for updates (see how sneaky I am to slip that in?) and also, be sure to put your email address in the little boxy thing up to your right, so we can connect often in this reading thing.

*shivers* I’m excited about this!


Here’s my list of categories that I’ve been laboring over for thebetterpartofanhour EVER . . . and I will fill in the books into the list, as I pick them. In my usual slapdash freespirited fashion, I’m going to jot in the titles that I’ve already chosen, and will fill in the rest later.

And without any more dilly-dallying, let’s get started reading!

Here’s my pick for January: A book about a topic that you are passionate about . . . ta-daaa!

One. Beautiful. Book. Especially for the tomato lover and grower!

A dear new friend who knows me better than I thought anybody did, gave me a perfect two-fold present, right before Christmas. She gave me this book “Epic Tomatoes: How to Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time” by Craig LeHoullier, and the new (the big one, guys) Baker Creek Heirloom Whole Seed Catalog.ย (Well. Honestly, she gave me lots more than that–but those were two of the best things in that basket.)

Yeah–p. Everybody ought to have such a friend, don’t you agree? I picked up this fat book right away, gratitude washing over me (I mean, really, it’s January, time to get those seeds ordered if you haven’t already, and time to think about growing tomatoes!) but also a little bit of skepticism . . . after all, I know a thing or two (cough) about growing tomatoes. But just leafing through it I had plenty of ah-ha! moments . . . I definitely can learn a thing or two from this book, so it is my January pick.

What about you? Do you want to join me in this challenge to read more books this year? Please do.

I’d dearly love your company!


(If you need me, kids, I’ll be sitting in the living room next to the wood stove, reading. Seriously.)

18 thoughts on “Let’s Just Do It, Baby! Read More Books in 2016 Challenge

  1. Alana

    Amy, how do you do it all? Do people in Nebraska live in special time warp pockets where each day is 360 hours long? Have you found the secret of surviving without sleep? Have you enlisted your family to do all the growing, cooking and farm chores? Have you trained your chickens to be household helpers? I must know your secret!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Alana, dear, no, none of the above. It does help that we don’t have televisions or cell phones out here in flyover country. As handy as they are, you’ve gotta admit that they can be huge time wasters!

  2. Chef William

    This is great. When we left the states to move to Mexico I had to sell aka give away about 700 books. No way I could cart them down here. I now relay on kindle and their free books. I brought 3 boxes of books in the car before my wife yelled “Stop – we need to take more than just books” We are returning to Wisconsin in March for a week and I have a couple of Hard copy books I want to pick up at a great used book store I know. Consider adding number 13..(The No Month) .a book that will take more than a month to read. There are some books that you can read for awhile then you must set them down and walk away for a few days…I will be following you with interest….It’s great fun to see what others are reading…

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      That’s a great idea, Chef. I already have a number of big thick books that I didn’t dare put into this challenge, because I knew I couldn’t get them read in a month. I’ll have to add a 13th month.

  3. Michele

    Argh! It may take me awhile to figure out how to pin to your board, or whatever I am supposed to do. I nominate “The Cheese Chronicles” by Liz Thorpe. I am about halfway through on the Kindle. Her apt descriptions of cheeses parallel what I do for a living, which is describe food flavors and textures in an objective, professional way. Her book will leave you salivating for cheeses and yearning to travel to the places where they are made.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Mmmmm in the meantime Michele (while you’re figuring it out) I’ll pin that book to my board. And thanks for the recommendation!

      1. dramamamafive Post author

        By the way . . . technie (which I am not) hint: I have a little “P” (Pinterest) button on the upper right side of my computer screen–when I pull up a book that I’m interested in on Amazon, I push that little button and a pinnable image of the book cover comes up. It’s so easy to pin stuff this way. You should be able to download this pinning tool onto your dashboard, or whatever it’s called . . . sorry I’m not more help!

  4. Jo Farabee

    I’m in I’m in!!!! Especially…. since audible books count !!!
    Every year MY New Year’s Resolution includes … Hanging head in shame…. NO MORE BUYING BOOKS! Because I buy them faster than I can read them But, but, but….I see these great books and what if I don’t remember their titles or authors?! I better snatch them up quick and put them safely in a book living home where they can be read and properly loved later Lol!
    I figure I still have a right to buy books even if I don’t get them read right away because, well I’m not dead and when these five children Start flying away…. I will at least have books to keep me company .
    Here is to 2016 and more reading!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Jo, Thank you. I have a feeling you have just as many stacks of books in your house as I do. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t feel guilty about them, I don’t. I don’t. When I was a kid, my dad bought a (well used) Mercedes Benz car. It wasn’t that expensive, but–living in a very small town, we received some real heat from it–“Must be nice to be rich.” Argh. I wish I would have had a nickle for every time I heard that (I really would have been rich!). My Dad–not a drinker or a smoker–used to say, pointedly, that he just spent his cigarettes-and-beer money on a car. So I’ve spent my cigarettes-and-beer money on books. Not a bad investment, I’m thinking. AND WELCOME!

  5. AnneMarie

    This is the perfect reminder that I need to finish The Secret Garden! I was listening to the audio book (Praise God for LibriVox!), but somehow, I never finished it. And, as sad as this is, I NEVER read that book as a child. Yipes! I love reading books! 2015 was a heavy reading year for me (within the course of a few months, I knocked off both Kristin Lavransdatter and the unabridged Les Miserables-each book is over a thousand pages haha), so I think in 2016 I’ll try to take things a little lighter, and not follow a particular schedule. First up on my list is Northanger Abby, by Austen, which I’ve never read (shocker! ‘Cause I love Austen!), and I’ll probably read Mansfield Park, since that’s the only other Austen book I’ve never read. I also am still on a bit of a murder-mystery/crime novel kick, so I’ll throw in some more books from that genre in the coming weeks. I’m also in the midst of ALL of the natural childbirth books (since Baby #1 is making an entrance this summer). I hope that your year of reading starts off well! This looks like a grand list! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Good for you, AnneMarie! I was recently musing the fact that when I had littles (specifically a nursing baby) I got lots more reading done. When my baby would need nursing, I’d always grab a book and settle in to nurse and read. *bliss* for a book fanatic! Lucky for me, I nursed 6 babies, too. I don’t get as much reading done these days because (ironically!) I don’t sit down much! Happy reading and *blessings* on your new baby, too! Sweet!

  6. Lucy

    Hi Amy…….just got off the phone…making arrangements to get a NEW KNEE! Well replacement… same knee but you know what I mean…I need it, spruced up so I can keep on keepin on….any way that will be coming up in the next couple of months sooo….I “may have” some extra time for reading. Well actually, to be really honest, ( which I can be with you : ) since we’re on the subject of books…the last 2 yrs I have been ….umm doing my bestest at writing one, a book that is….I’m not quite sure of what I am doing….. “but A-HA! I wheel, I WHEEL fig-ure it out…!!!”

    I’ll check in regardless and see how things are going… and that tomato book… looks…. AMAZING.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      TREAT yourself Lucy, while you’re mending from your knee operation, and buy the tomato book! And then read it. I think you’ll love it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Nathana Clay

    Love this! I saw several books that I love or really want to read in your first photo. ๐Ÿ™‚ I started out the year great as far as reading goes. I think I read Donald Miller’s Scary Close in less than a week. Rebekah and I are also making it through Heidi. I wanted to read that to her as she falls into the arms of naptime because I remember adoring it as a girl. I used to pretend that I had an uncle in the Alps and a little loft bed. I like the categories idea for each month. I recently posted about what motivational books I have read and recommend and what books are on my to-read list. (http://www.theengagedhome.com/motivational-books-for-the-new-year/)

  8. Rhonda Henrich

    I recommend the Good Reads website (www.goodreads.com). It is all about readers and the books they read and authors who write them. When I finish a book I post it on good reads.
    The books I’ve read are on virtual shelves. Very easy to keep track of books I’ve enjoyed.

  9. Lynn

    Love, love, love this idea! Have you seen this reading challenge? http://www.challies.com/resources/the-2016-reading-challenge
    I am going for the obsessed reader (2 books a week) because at this point in my life, I have that kind of time. I do love the idea of choosing categories and reading more titles “on purpose,” rather than just picking up a few at random from the library. My current title is called My Day, it’s a collection of newspaper columns written by Eleanor Roosevelt between the years of 1936 – 1945. Fascinating glimpse into WWII as it was being lived. Happy happy reading!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oooh I’m going to check this out, Lynn. And I bow to your superior reading-time-scrounging abilities: wow, two books per week! That’s awesome!

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