Finding time for a good read
special to the daily
I am most assuredly not illiterate. But last week when a dear friend implored me to read a book so I wouldn’t make either one of us look like a buffoon when she introduced me to its author, I reacted as if she asked me to go to Buffalo Bill’s for a dinner party – and would I mind bringing a tiny white poodle in a bucket as my date.
Part of my panic was because I had at least 1,400 other things to do, and adding a 331-page book to be read in five days to the list felt a little overwhelming. The other part was that I’m not always consistent about what I’m in the mood for and therefore motivated to read.
It’s not that I can’t read or understand big words (because by golly, dangnabit, I ser dew git thim big ‘uns). I was an English major with an honorary minor in reading and big words. Thesaurus’ are among my best friends.
And it’s rare that once I actually really start reading a book I don’t become totally engrossed in it. That’s partly because when scouting a new book, I wisely survey people I admire for a few weeks, asking them to tell me the best book they’ve read in the last year. I’ve found that having others vet my reading list greatly minimizes the chance for a dud. (I’d be more than happy to pass along the names of my committee members to the Obama administration.)
But right now, the stack of unread and half-read books next to my bed is rivaling the proportions of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. With a new-ish baby, a job and a stubborn crusade to sleep at least 40 hours a week, the stack is likely to be the sole survivor in the event of a nuclear attack. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Admittedly though, I feel a little lame for not making more time to do something so fundamental, and fun.
I really do love to read. Few things beat getting wrapped up in a novel so good that you can’t wait until you can curl up on the couch or in bed again to find out what happens next, stopping only for sustenance, sterilization or shut-eye. When the book is really, really good, I force myself to read it extra slowly so it won’t end too soon. If it’s an official Oprah’s Book Club selection, even better.
These days, though, reading material with profound elements, like chapters, are totally off my radar. When I plop into bed at night I’m lucky if I can make it through the first picture gallery in US Weekly before dozing off. I could blame it on the struggles of balancing motherhood and a career, but it probably has more to do with the overwhelming desire to not think too much for at least a few waking minutes each day. US Weekly happily ensures that will be the case. It’s actually part of its subscription guarantee.
I started the book my friend gave me over the weekend and was waiting for it to grab me. Another friend said it would, but not until somewhere in the middle. So I kept trying to guesstimate when I might reach the middle and thus be grabbed. Needless to say, my math skills are sharper than ever at the moment, but I’m only 49 pages into the book and free from any and all literary grasps.
I’ll finish it eventually. It’ll just have to wait in line at the bottom of the stack.
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