Kathy Carlton Willis

Kathy Carlton Willis shines the light on God and His people through her communications firm as: writer, publicist, writer's coach, book doctor, speaker, and more. She’s built a network of industry connections and is affiliated with Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and American Christian Fiction Writers. Her columns and book reviews have appeared online and in print. She served as grammar guru for three publications and ghostwrites books and e-books. Kathy is a contributing author for The Reason We Speak, It Happened By Design: A Series of God-Incidence Stories and Groovy Chicks’ Road Trip to Peace. She has a background in newspaper journalism as copyeditor and feature writer. She is a contributor and editor of daily devotions for The Christian Pulse. Kathy and her pastor/husband minister together in Raymondville, Texas. She set up a church library and served as librarian for several years and also has facilitated church book clubs. Read her professional blog at http://kcwcomm.blogspot.com and learn more about her at http://www.kathycarltonwillis.com/.

A Reader's Own Tale

Your one-stop CFOM resource—chock-full of how-tos and helpful hints—equipping you to get more out of your reading. Designed for the individual, libraries, and book clubs.

The KCWC Verse for 2010 is Proverbs 4:18: “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (NIV).

Most of us haven’t taken a reading class since, oh—fourth grade. Maybe it’s time we hit the books again and discover new ways to enjoy reading. This new column will cover everything from getting more from your library, to setting up a church library, to digging deeper at book club, or setting up your own “bagel, coffee, and book hour” with a friend. And we’ll give you pointers as you seek more, whether you’re reading for pure pleasure or spiritual inspiration.

The love of story leads us all to devote time from our busy schedules to visit a new world, a new time, a new way of life. Because time is precious, it makes sense to maximize our reading experiences as much as possible.

I’ll start with my own reading tale.

Fearful of teaching me wrong, my mother waited for me to attend school to learn to read, even though she was a voracious reader, eager for me to develop the same love of books she had. This Chatty Kathy loved every form of communications since my first spoken word, and the written word was no different. I took to it like gravy goes with biscuits. Remember those Weekly Reader magazines (oh, the delicious smell of the ink and paper!)? And the SRA Reading Lab inspired me to read not just for speed, but for retention—thanks to those specialized tests. It was my goal to make it through each level before the appointed time, and I still like to beat deadlines.

I received my first public library card as soon as I started school, and Mom walked us kids to the library several times a month to pick up books. Yes, it seemed like it was two miles uphill both ways, but it was worth it! Our little town of four thousand was blessed with a Carnegie library (built in 1905) full of well-loved books. Mom taught me how to follow my favorite authors, and I read every title they’d ever written. I knew how to thumb through a card catalog and recite the Dewey decimal system as well as I could spell my own name. By the time I outgrew the children’s section, I had read every book and graduated to the “grown-up” shelves.

Now I’ve grown up even more. My love affair for words inspired me to start my own communications firm, so I get to fiddle with words all day long. We shine the light on others who shine the Light, by promoting their books and their messages. We string together words we’ve written, edited, proposed, sung, spoken, coached, pitched, and more! Words thrill me. Story entices me—draws me in—beckons to me.

Most avid readers have been caught saying their idea of a time-out from stress and life involves curling up with a good book—claw-foot tub or blazing fireplace optional. Some readers

aren’t quite as gung ho to dig in to their “to be read” piles. They want to like to read, but they aren’t quite there yet.

This column will equip both kinds of readers to dig deeper.

And my first tip is this: Don’t waste time on a mediocre book. When reading for recreation, remember that you aren’t in school anymore. You aren’t being graded for reading every word. So if a book doesn’t appeal to you, put it down! Grab a different one. We have only so much time in life—definitely not enough time to get bogged down with a boring or confusing story line.

Just because a book earned rave reviews doesn’t mean it’s the right book for you, any more than size 7 shoes will fit size 10 feet!

Come back each month to learn a different aspect of getting more out of reading. Then, feel free to print out the resources from this column to share with your reader friends, librarians, and book club leaders.

You are welcome to e-mail me with your ideas, questions, or comments for this new column.

Reading Assignment:
Think about your own reading tale. What was it like when you learned to read? What turned you on to books? Do you recall the favorite authors of your early years? Who inspired you to read more? Did reading lists and contests in school motivate you to try harder? What challenges you today in your reading? We all have a story—even a reading story!

Kathy CArlton Willis