black and white photo of book spines
Books,  Personal

The 2018 Roundup of Books Read by a Farm Girl

Growing up as a farm girl, reading might not have been at the top of my priority list. I learned from my Mom early on that there is always time to read, even between chores, school, sports, friends and family activities.

There are several moments in the backseat of the car on the way to town to bury your nose in a book. There is time after dinner and homework to turn a few extra pages. There can even be time found during the more boring classes in school.

My parents are both readers. My Mom is a murder mystery aficionado and my Dad devours every magazine and newspaper to cross his seat at the table. My Mom found the multi-taskers dream of audiobooks to listen to while driving to work or doing work around the house. During the summers, Dad and I settled into a routine of eating breakfast while reading after the first milking of the day… even with the television on.

I distinctly remember bringing The Hunger Games with me to where we put our barn boots on so that as soon as I got back from milking, I could dive back in. And I learned there is no shame in carrying a book in your bag, even if going to the feed store… those lines can get long. I reveled in my reading habits. It was all I looked forward to.

Girl wearing glasses engrossed by a book. She is sitting in a living room on a couch with a light on in the background.
Me reading while waiting for dinner while visiting Florida. Photo: Alycia Riehl

When I look back on books I’ve read over the years, I can remember moments in which I was reading them. For example, I remember reading Wuthering Heights during a winter break. I was sitting on our family’s wooden rocking chair in the living room while it snowed outside the picture window. (I think I might have even been wearing dirty barn clothes…hence the wooden, non-upholstered chair… sorry Mom…) I love looking at book titles I own and remembering those precious seconds, many of which are at the farmhouse.

Now as an adult farm girl, I’m still reading during moments that I can find throughout my day. I don’t navigate reading around farm chores anymore, but I find time with audiobooks on my commute (thanks, Ma and the library system’s app Libby.) I sneak out my books when I’m in lines that are never ending (aka Election Day 2018 and while boarding airplanes). I find as many moments with words as possible.

Reading is something that I believe everyone should find time to enjoy. Read magazines, read cookbooks, read graphic novels, read to your kids. Fiction or non-fiction there are new ideas to discover, new perspectives to learn and I just know there is time!

Girl in glasses holding a huge stack of books in a kitchen smiling.
Book haul from my first ever library book sale! Photo: Eli Scriven

In 2018, I was all over the place with my reading. Here is a brief breakdown:

Reading for me: “Betty Crocker’s Cookbook: 40th Anniversary Edition,” Sarah Young’s daily devotional, “Jesus Calling,” and bits of “The Spare-Time Gardener” by Barabara Hill Freeman. Each of these are incredible. The Betty Crocker Cookbook was an awesome find at a book sale… I was thrilled, as my Mom uses an earlier edition of this book for everything. I have been eating incredible food from the book my whole life, so yeah I’m pumped to have it in my kitchen.

I also read, “Girl Wash Your Face,” by Rachel Hollis and Jen Sincero’s “You are a Badass.” These I read because I wanted to get some perspective on “what the heck I’m doing with my life” and both gave me some seriously good ideas.

Social Issues: I picked up Angie Thomas’ “The Hate U Give” and I want to give it to everyone to read. It’s moving, insightful and written so as to inspire kindness and to shift your perspective. I also read William Paul Young’s “The Shack.” This one is all about God and it was a great read as I have been regrowing my faith step by step and this book offers some excellent reminders.

Dog sleeping in background of close up of a book.
Reading with dogs is also fun!

Rereading: I kept true to my love of fantasy by rereading the Sarah J. Maas series “A Court of Thorns and Roses.” I’m obsessed. After you read these books, holla at me so we can talk all about Feyre.

New: The newest book I think I read was the fourth in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith called “Lethal White.” (If you like Harry Potter, you’ll like these as they are written by the same author! Oh whut, you didn’t know that?! Google it.”

I read a total of 43 books in 2018 between physical tomes and audio recordings. I haven’t met my reading goal in the last few years, but if you want to see all I read in 2018, visit my Goodreads page and then add me as a pal. It is the best social media!

In a sad attempt to challenge myself, I tried some new genres including 1.5 graphic novels and one page of a western epic. I also researched some true crime and ended up buying it almost a full year later for $.50 and it’s now on my shelf. My inspiration was from Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge… here is the 2019 challenge, if interested. I didn’t read what I set out to, but I’m not even mad because I tried. Maybe I’ll revisit Book Riot again someday.

As for 2019, I made a list of 50 plus books I currently own and have not even cracked the spines of. This list will sit magnetized to my fridge and remind me there are moments here and there where I can sneak open a book. Even between gardening, my full-time job, taking photos and visiting family and friends. I really want to slow the buying of books because they are piling up. SO, I’m only reading books currently on my shelves or those at the library. I’m donating those I do not like, and keeping only those I adore. I think I have wasted money on books in the past, and I really want to break that habit and enjoy what I have first. These titles captured me at one point, so I want to dive in and see why. I hope to treat myself at the end of the year by buying some new books to add to my shelves.

Cartoon about not buying books already owned.
The best comic taped to the register of the bookstore I grew up in. Merrill, Wis. no longer has Bookworld, but I have so many memories there about reading it’s crazy. It left a true impression on me! I miss visiting when I get to town.

Are you challenging yourself with reading in some way this year? Have you neglected reading? Do you think reading isn’t cool? Are you a farmer or farm kid who loves reading? I would love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *