What are you reading? And if you’re not, you really should!

1-IMG_1210-001“What are you reading?” is always a great question. It’s a good conversation starter, a filler line of inquiry, or even an entry point to go deeper. I used to use it a lot when I wrote personality profiles for the Tampa Tribune.

A similar question is “what do you have on your bookshelves?” This was especially telling when I interviewed preachers in their offices and the evidence was right there (or not there) on the (sometimes empty) shelves.

When we left Florida back in 2013, Rebekah and I reduced both our personal and professional libraries by 50%. So the “bookshelf” observation also addresses the “what literature do you care enough about to hold onto” part of the conversation.

All over the place!


Personally, I tend to have a bunch of books going at any given time. At the moment I’m reading three easy-to-digest novels, two fairly chewy theological volumes, and one devotional book. Then there are several on standby waiting for room on the list.

The stack on my bedside table reveals that I’m currently a third of the way through Hemingway’s “To Have and Have Not” – a novel I pulled that off the shelves because I just finished “Beautiful Exiles,” the story of Hemingway’s relationship with his third wife. Also in the pile are books I’ve recently read and books I plan to pick up soon.

1-IMG_1208-001By my chair here in the living room I have a volume of daily readings from CS Lewis, a novel I’m toying with starting, a book on contemplative spiritual practices, and my own novel, “Suddenly the Light Was Gone.”

I can’t tell you just one that I’m enjoying the most (although I’m tempted to recommend that you read mine!). But I can say that every single story/book/devotion/study/novel/text enriches me and stretches me and fills me in ways that movies or television never can.

My Challenge:

1-IMG_1216-001So here’s my challenge. Each day, exchange one hour of screen-time for one hour of reading. Make it a book. If you’d like, start with an easy-to-read novel like mine. Don’t try to read fast but relax, get into the rhythm of it, enjoy. I guarantee you will feel good about the decision – smarter, intellectually stimulated, creatively engaged, a better conversationalist.

Ditch those video games, avoid the television, and get hooked in with reading again. I don’t care if you’re young, middle-aged, in-between, or bonafide elderly – you will be glad that you did.

Happy reading! – Derek


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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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