New Reading Rotation

A Reading Rotation

As happens periodically, usually at least once per year, I get tired of my established reading rotation, and I revise it.

(So, why bother? Because I have found in the past that without some form of genre rotation, I get stuck in a rut reading the same kind of book over and over again, despite my wider range of interests. So, when I get tired of one rotation, I find it worth my while to reinvent the “beast”.)

This time, I felt like I was not getting to spend enough time in the genres I either write or love to read. So I revised.

Here is the New Rotation

How Does it Work?

The basic rotation is the column on the left and the top chunk in the middle. I read through this from the top down through the two columns and mark with the month and year each listing read.

Nightstand Book: If a book I’ve read in the rotation is a series, the rest of the series goes on my nightstand to pick from so I do not have to wait for a full rotation to read the next book in the series.

Other Fiction: This is a list of other fiction genres/categories (ex. Goudge is author Elizabeth Goudge, a long-time favorite. I just keep rotating through rereading her books.)

Mystery Rotation: This category allows me to rotate through my favorite mystery authors so I don’t have to wait for them to get their turn in the alphabetical rotation. (I have a lot of books in my favorite genres.) You will find the list of authors to rotate through in the right column.

Non-fiction: I both enjoy and need to read nonfiction (to expand my horizons, build my writing craft, and support the world-building for my fantasy writing). So, this is the list of non-fiction works I rotate through.


I know it looks rather crazy and complex, but it works for me. What really matters is not that I rotate through the genres but how much I read different types of books. This newest helps me read my favorite genres, while sticking to a desire to read other types of works as well.

Your Turn

How do you organize your reading time, or–not? What do you feel are the benefits of your method or non-method for organizing your life? I’d love to know! Just use the comment space below.


What I’m Reading Now: Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow & Bone

shadow-and-bone_hi-res-677x1024Aargh!!! It’s Friday, and I left my book at school.

During Reboot time (fifteen minutes of free reading or writing at the beginning of each class), I’ve been reading Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, the first in the her Grisha TrilogyIt is a gripping novel, with a likable main character, set in a fascinating Slavic sort of world.

Here is the blurb from her website:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

I am about three-quarters of the way through the novel and wanted to bring it home so I could binge read (instead the usual Reboot fifteen minutes of reading time) the rest of it.

Well, now I definitely have something to look forward to when I return to work on Monday. (I can’t hardly wait to start the next book in the series, Siege and Storm!)

What book have you been enjoying this week?

A Reading and Writing Lifestyle: Who is This Blog Written For?

Mini orange coffee cup with notebookYesterday, I had an awesome day with one of my best friends. We’ve known each other since I was five-years-old. We’ve done a lot of “life” together, and she is a beta-reader and encourager of my writing. One of the things that made it awesome (besides going to the craft store, eating decadent fudge for a our afternoon snack, and doing an entire jigsaw puzzle in one afternoon–okay, confession, it took us until midnight) was she sat down with this blog, asked me questions, provided some pointed critiques, and made lot of useful suggestions.

The Question

The question that floored me was, “Who is your reader?” This was accompanied by the observation that lots of times I talk about writing as a profession, and when I do, it makes her feel like this blog is really only intended for pros. Whoa!

That rules out a lot of my intended readership, including her!

So Who am I Writing To?

The stated purpose of Literate Lives is to encourage a reading/writing lifestlye.  This means I want to encourage a lifestyle that invests in reading and writing as a means of enrichment for anyone.

Anyone? That’s Kind of Vague

Yeah, it is isn’t it. Here are some mini portraits of potential Literate Lives readers:

  • someone who once loved to read but has been having a hard time prioritizing that pleasure in their life
  • someone who loves to read and loves to celebrate the pleasures and rewards of prioritizing reading in their lives
  • someone who interacts with young people and wants to facilitate skill and pleasure in reading, as well as writing, in these young people.
  • someone who enjoys journaling, letter writing, or otherwise capturing their thoughts and lives on paper or on screen
  • someone who aspires to be a professional writer, or already is, that can use a little encouragement
  • someone who is interested in the lives of writers
  • someone who enjoys multiple fiction genres, but has a special love for fantasy
  • someone who enjoys fiction across multiple age levels: that written for adults, young adults, and middle graders–kids from third to eighth grade

A Whole Lot of Anyones!

My mission is to love, serve, and encourage all of you.

There is work I need to do. Some of it is as simple as making some changes to the actual appearance of my blog to make it more reader friendly. Some of it is much broader, like tracking the kinds of posts I write and making sure I write across this broad range of readership.

Your feedback is highly valued. What can I do that would make following my blog a better experience for you ?

Best Books of September

I finished reading The Singing this month, the fourth and final book in Alison Croggon’s books of Pelinor. I must say, like the others in the series it was my favorite book of the month. So have any of you read any of them yet? What did you think?

I feel guilty for choosing a book from the same series for nearly 4 months in a row so in addition to recommending The Singing, here’s another two books I greatly enjoyed. The first is a mystery set in Victorian England, Silent in the Grave, by Deanna Raybourn. I enjoyed the story’s puzzle, the setting of the novel, the main character, and her eccentric family. It was a mystery where not only was a puzzle solved, but the heroine stretches and grows through the process to emerge a changed person at the end.

The other book I would highly recommend is Randy Alcorn’s 50 Days of Heaven. This is a small book my mom passed on to me when I visited her this summer. It contains 50 meditations on heaven and is cross-referenced with verses of scripture from both the new and old testaments of the Bible that illuminate and expand common ideas about life with God in heaven. It truly enlarged my vision of heaven and left me excited at the prospect of how I will continue to learn and grow after my body has failed me and I’ve breathed my last breath of this life. Alcorn makes heaven sound so good, the book has an afterword reminding readers that there is also purpose for our lives here in this world, and we should not be too eager to help ourselves make the leap to the next. Read 50 Days… and prepare to have your horizons expanded.