Structure Sunday: The Structure of My Reading List

Isn’t reading for kids in school ? Who has time for reading ? I hear these types of things all the time. Reading is immensely important to me. Stacks of books and magazines line my home office.

I have already blogged about the scientific evidence on the effect of reading on health in the following post:

Now I am going to share how I divide my reading pie. 

  • Reading the news
  • Reading to indulge certain interests 
    •      Things that just pique my interest 
    •      Things I’m trying to do
  • Reading for self improvement 
  • Reading for Medicine
    •      To deal with a patient problem 
    •      To accomplish my annual board review 
  • Reading for business 
  • Reading for inspiration 
  • Reading for fun


Here are my current examples: 


Reading for News: 

I use Flipboard, a popular customizable news app, my Yahoo homepage which I have tailored to my interests, and News, the new Apple app included in the latest IOS operating system. I also sometimes look at two local paper newspapers. 

Interest Based Reading; 

I am always reading cookbooks, or on cooking sites. I love, and My favorite cookbooks right now are” Paleo”  cookbooks like NomNom Paleo. Pinterest is the best pictorial cookbook in the universe.

I am working on a sewing project and have had to reread some stuff about free motion machine quilting. I am also reading about the work of Natalie Chanin, a designer who revitalized an Alabama community with her handmade heirloom pieces of organic cotton jersey. See I am trying to use one of her beautiful instruction books to make a tunic out of old black t-shirts. 

I am doing quite a bit of reading about small smart energy efficient homes. My family is considering a project with these. On my desk right now is a small beautiful book called “ Convertible Homes”, by Amanda Lam and Amy Thomas. 

Reading for Self Improvement: 

I am about to dig into “ Superbetter”, by Jane McGonigal, a scientist and game designer interested in harnassing the power of gaming for self improvement and medical recovery. I am also excited to ready the giant book on my desk written by my old dorm mate Dan Levitan, The Organized Mind. Good on you, Dan. 

Reading for Medicine: 

The large stack of research articles for American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology annual board review. I have to have them done by December 15th, but prefer to have them done by October 20th, when I go on vacation. 

Reading for Business: 

I am currently reading “Ask” by Bryan Levesque as an ebook on my Kindle app on my IOS devices. I regularly read Inc. and Entrepreneur magazines. 

Reading for Inspiration: 

I am still working my way through “ Becoming Steve Jobs”, by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli. Wired magazine is a constant reliable source of inspiration. 

Reading for Fun: 

I just finished a new favorite, “ Seveneves”, by Neal Stephenson. I have ordered "Trigger Warning", a short story collection by Neal Gaiman, and just bought  paper copy of “The Martian” by Andy Weir, since I have a feeling I will want to share it. Finally I am savoring “ The Magician’s Land” by Lev Grossman, and author who I was pleased to once meet at a reading.  And yes, my favorite fiction genre is sci-fi. 

You might ask how I learn what’s out there to read. I live in an area THAT HAS NO BOOKSTORE ! I go to and check the recommendations. I also am a member of the online community Goodreads, where I get all kinds of ideas. I read book reviews such as the regular columns in my favorite magazines. I check the NYTIMES review of books, and the books award lists such as the Nebula Awards. Plus, I simply google things like “ The 10 best new cookbooks of 2015” or “ The ten best sci-fi novels of 2015”. 

How can I read so much ? Here’s the secret: I do it all kinds of ways. I read my paper books in the day, books on devices at night, and use to listen to books when I drive, jog, cook, sew or do housework. Each method has a different effect and that is ok. Try them all and see what you think. 

Reading stokes the fire in my soul. So take page from this playbook and harness the power and joy of reading for yourself. And don’t be afraid to have a few things going at once.