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Always Read Three Books At a Time!

Educate, Entertain, and Edify Your Life

Everyone should maintain a reading list of at least three books at any given time. I forget where I read this advice, but I know it was sometime during the mid nineties and it’s stuck with me all these years.

Of course, you can have more than three books on your ‘To Be Read’ list – and hopefully you do! I think the real point is to have three different kinds of books on the go that will enrich your life while expanding your horizons. Using a somewhat homiletical approach, the three categories all serve a specific but different purpose.

Educate

These are books that teach you something. When I first came across this idea, I was homeschooling my children, so I did a lot of reading about educational philosophy, homeschooling practice etc. However, I have also read great books on health and wellbeing, gardening, and travel. I think that any book whose main purpose is to teach you something new fits into this category. Magazines that focus on teaching also qualify. (I draw the line at gossip magazines!) My husband’s favourite magazine Up Here (all about “north of 60”) is a great source of inspiration and knowledge for him each month. He loves to share something new he’s learned about some remote place in the Arctic! The real advice is, never stop learning! These days I do a lot of reading about writing craft or marketing books. At the time of writing this post, (which is a couple of weeks ahead of its scheduled publishing date…) I’m reading two books: Productivity for Authors by Joanna Penn and Be the Gateway by Dan Blank.

Entertain

These are books that you read for pleasure. For those who say they ‘don’t read’, why not try it instead of watching TV or a movie? Almost without question, the phrase, “The book was better than the movie,” holds true. I’ve never come across a movie yet that I thought was ‘better’ than the book. Some have come close, but usually the book is so much more in depth and instead of seeing the story the way the producer or director want you to see it, you see it from your own point of view. Of course, novels are the obvious choice, but if you “Don’t like fiction” there are memoirs, biographies, collections of poetry, and anthologies with all kinds of short stories, both fictional and true. A really good book can be read more than once, and I like to do that with some of my favourites. I just finished reading a book by an author I met through Inscribe, a Canadian writers’ organization I am a part of. Lisa Flickinger’s book is called Rocky Mountain Redemption. Next on my list is a new release by one of my favourite new authors, Dana Pratola. It is called The Haunting of Josiah Kash and I can hardly wait to read it!

Edify

This last category includes books that will help you spiritually or emotionally. As a Christian, devotionals and Bible studies are the obvious choices that come to mind, but there could be other books, too, like books that address a certain mental health issue, or help you overcome trauma etc. I suppose, “Self help” is one way to put it. Sometimes books from the educational category cross over in this regard, but most of the time you can differentiate between the two. I’ve read so many good books in this category, but currently I am re-reading one called A Time to Advance by Chuck Pierce. It’s one of those books that I could read over and over again because there is so much applicable and relevant information in it for today’s Christian.

I find that books in the educational realm need time to ruminate; I can’t always absorb all the information. Similarly, books that are meant to help us grow spiritually or emotionally often require time and practice to really get the most out of them. You can’t just sit down and read them in one sitting. That’s why it’s nice to have the entertainment books, where we can just read for pleasure and even escape for awhile.

I encourage you to adopt this ‘read three books’ philosophy. What books are you reading right now?

2 Comments

  1. Priscilla says:

    I love this and always try to have at least three on the go…. right now I am reading:
    Educate: ‘A Philosophy of Education’ by Charlotte Mason
    Entertain: I am reading ‘The Green Ember’ series to the kids… we are all obsessed and are halfway through the last (4th) book!! Soooo good!
    Edify: ‘Virtuous’ by Nancy Wilson

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