Reading Habits

I read a lot and people often ask me what I’m reading.  The answer to that question is often complicated because I am usually in the middle of several books at one time.  I thought I would share my reading formula with you:

At any one time there are at least three books that I am in the middle of:

1) A devotional book/study – something that will force me to dig into scripture more.  This is what I read in the mornings.

2) A business/management/leadership/church administration book – something non-fiction that will challenge me in relation to my job.

3) A fiction book.  This is the only book that lives on my night stand.  I will read fiction to help me fall asleep at night, to take my mind off of whatever is consuming it and to relax. 

Reading Rules:

1) I don’t read books unless they have been recommended to me and I usually wait for 2-3 trusted recommendations.  The reason for this is that I don’t have time to waste.  I’m content to let others do the detective work and if I trust the referral I’ll add it to my reading list.  By the way, this applies to all three of my book types, even fiction.

2) I always carry a book with me – ALWAYS!  Some of my best reading time is when I’m waiting somewhere (doctor/dentist office, traffic jam, etc).

3) I rarely read anything by a new author until I get a personal recommendation. 

4) When I discover a really good book I tell others about it and I also buy a few copies to give to people that I think will enjoy it. 

5) I read only when I can focus.  If there is too much going on around me and I’m not reading for comprehension, I stop.  If I can’t tell you what I just read, it was a waste of time.

I would love to know what your reading rules are.  How do you decide what’s worth your time?

Oh, and in case you are interested here are the three books I’m reading right now.

1) Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says about a Woman’s Place in Church and Family by Gilbert Bilezikian (very “thick” content breaking down the scripture to bring clarity to women’s roles)

2) UnChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons (timely since we just discussed a lot of this content in the Drift series at Cross Point and I’m going to the Q Conference in April)

3) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (this book was first recommended to me nearly a year ago and I had so many friends tell how good it is that I finally gave in)

** Please note, I am not formally endorsing these books.  I read a lot of material that I may or may not always agree with.  Since I’m in the middle of all of these, my verdict is still pending.

You may also like


  • Hobbies Blog March 25, 2008  


    Good read! Looks like fun… thank you.

  • Linda Ojutkangas March 25, 2008  

    I try to read only one book at a time. If I start too many at once, I feel like I am not accomplishing anything. I start out in the morning with my devotional book and write my thoughts in my journal. In the evening I read a self-help book, usually for work. Right now I am reading “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of A Leader” by John C. Maxwell. I force myself to read a chapter a night and then the next day, I try to put that chapter into action at work. For example: John says to see everyone as a “10”. I started doing that and it really seems to help! I have one employee who was on the very edge of receiving formal disciplinary action for her stats. I and my Leads had done everything we could think of to help this individual, without success. I shared this thought with my Leads about seeing everyone as a “10”, and over the past couple of weeks, there has been a HUGE change in this employee! We haven’t done anything different, except “see her as a 10”!

    Just like you, Jenni, I let others do the investigating on what I select to read. Sometimes I get tips on books at seminars I attend, and I will purchase those. Not to mention, the books you have recommended to me!

    I can’t read at other places, like waiting at the doctor’s office, because I can’t seem to concentrate when I know that I have something to do next. Just a quirk of mine, I guess. I have to be totally relaxed so that I can concentrate. I don’t want to read if I can’t comprehend, because it makes me feel as though I am wasting my time.

  • Jessica Turner March 29, 2008  

    I am a voracious reader too. I love really well written historical fiction because though it is fiction, they are always well-researched making them fascinating! Some fabulous books you may want to check out: Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill; City of Dreams; The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory (and all of her books in the “Tudor” series).

  • Marla Saunders April 1, 2008  

    I loved your list. UnChristian probably challenged me more than any other book I’ve read recently. Guess I should say challenges…it’s the kind of book that sticks with you for awhile.

    Other favorites lately: In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day (Mark Batterson), Orbiting the Giant Hairball (business-oriented), One Month to Live. And for fiction: Anything Joel Rosenberg. Just read the last book in his series, Dead Heat. Couldn’t put it down, which I guess disqualifies it for your bedtime stack!!

    I’ll be at Q, too. Can’t wait.

    Thanks again for entertaining and inspiring!

  • Mohammed Firoz September 28, 2008  

    Dear Jenni,

    I enjoyed reading your piece on Reading Habits.



  • Pingback: My Reading List of 2009 | Jenni Catron January 16, 2010