June 21, 2010

Reading is fundamental

          I just finished reading a book. Normally, that would not be newsworthy. But this was the first book I had read in a very long time. Well, not counting those which relate to pregnancy, childbirth or caring for babies. This was a real book, one I read purely for enjoyment. Something I have always loved doing.
          I've been a voracious reader from the beginning. My mom tells me that as a baby, I was just like my daughterIn elementary school, I read like crazy. I was particularly fond of series books. My faves included Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and the Little House on the Prairie books.
          I attended a college prep school from 7-12 grade, where reading the classics was expected. When I wasn't in school, I would go through a stack of books (usually not the classics, but reading nonetheless) in very short order. That was how I loved to spend my vacation time. My parents and I used to like to compete to see who could read the most when we went on a family vacation.
          My bachelor's degree is in literature, so obviously I did more than my fair share of reading in college. So much so that I took a little break after graduating. Was book free for a time. It didn't last long, and soon I was back to my old habits. Until I became a mom.
          Now I have little to no spare time. And, since I have committed myself to writing a book, that has taken precedence over reading. So my pile of books I'd like to read has grown higher and higher. I am told repeatedly that in order to be a good writer, I have to read a lot. I hope all the hours I've logged in my lifetime so far counts for something. And look forward to catching up when I challenge my daughter to a reading contest on family vacations.
          I know many of you also enjoy reading. How much do you get to do so? And what kinds of books do you like?

21 comments:

  1. It's been quite a while since I have read a book for pleasure (hmm, 10 months to be exact!) I don't count the pregnancy, breastfeeding, what to expect the first gazillion years type of books.

    I ought to read more now that Mungee has a fairly regular schedule, however, I always find myself on the computer during "free time". Reading blogs counts, doesn't it?

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  2. I know what you mean about not having enough time to read. Since I'm a high school English teacher (ahhh), I have a little more time in the summer. But I'm also working on my second book and I have two kiddos who want to *do* something. My kids are a little older now (11 and 8), so sometimes I just say--mom is taking a little me time and I close the door. They like me a whole lot better when I've had a chance to read for a bit :-)

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  3. Like Stephen King says, "You have learn to read in small sips..." That is so true. With three children reading I've quite mastered the art of reading in small sips. Gone are the days where I can lounge around reading, uninterrupted, throughout the day. When those days do present themselves, believe me...I'm all over them.

    Great post, Elizabeth!
    C xx

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  4. @ Mungee's Ma - I didn't even think about blog reading. I'm going to say yes, it counts. B/c that will make me feel better about myself. ;)

    @ Koreen - I had a brief stint as a high school English teacher. Wasn't my bag, baby. Have tremendous respect for you!!!

    @ Cathleen - I dream of sitting on the beach w/a book as long as I want.

    @ Bookish - I read NOT READY FOR MOM JEANS by Maureen Lipinski, an author I have connected with through Twitter. I was drawn to it b/c it deals w/a lot of the issues my own book does. It was a fun read, and something I could really relate to. Next on my list is THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein. What about you?

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  5. I loved Racing in the Rain!! :-)

    I also love reading, but feel like there's never any time for it these days. I also read a lot of parenting/homeschooling books, so I don't read as much fun stuff as I would like. I usually read a little before bed, but sometimes I only get about 5 minutes in. It's taken me 2 weeks to read The Lost Symbol, when I would have finished it in a day pre-babies! But hey - still reading for fun!

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  6. @ Stacey - I'd love to read before bed. But the only opportunity I have to write is after my daughter goes to sleep. And I find I stay on the computer until I can barely keep my eyes open. I've been staying up WAY too late recently, too. But I did take a break so I could read that book, and really enjoyed it. Maybe I'll just switch back and forth and see how that works out...

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  7. I am/was? a big reader. I have fond memories of my mom reading to us every night and then reading Chronicles of Narnia and To Kill a Mockingbird every summer until we could read it ourselves. I was definitely that kid who had to put down the book for dinner. :) These days I don't get much time to read, either...but when I do I'm a big fan of novels and of course all those birth books! I try to stay away from parenting books as I just end up feeling pressured and guilty. Blech. Right now I'm reading The Big Rumpus by Ayun Halliday...pretty good so far.

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  8. I love to read...just about anything, and even though I keep a pretty good habit (I make sure to read at least a chapter or two a night) my TBR pile just keeps getting longer and longer and longer! so I feel your pain ;)

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  9. @ Kelli - I think it does start at a young age. Very few avid readers I know simply became that way in adulthood. They all loved it from the beginning. Which is why I'm so happy to see my daughter's love of books. I'm starting her off right! Yay! ;)

    @ Karla - My TBR pile is ginormous at this point (that is actually a word in the dictionary now)! LOL At this rate, I'll never get to the bottom. Not going to keep me from trying, however. Good luck w/yours!

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  10. I know exactly what you mean! I finally stopped taking books out of the library because the late fees were killing me. I simply don't have the time (or energy) to read books at this point in my life. However, I did just finish a light "chick lit" book and enjoyed that, so I guess it's just a matter of making time for what's important to me, just like anything else.

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  11. @ Mom2Miles - Oh I totally went for light. My Mommy Brain can't handle anything more than that. LOL

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  12. I read a lot of YA since I write that, but I read some adult too. I read about a book or two a week. I usually read before bed and if the book is really good it keeps me up. When I'm in writing mode I read a bit less. I don't really watch TV so I read a lot in the evenings when I'm not writing or revising. Also, I read if the kids nap, etc.

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  13. @ Jennifer - Oh yes. If I am reading a book before bed and really into it, I stay up until all hours of the night. I have totally given up TV at this point, but that is so I can have more time to write.

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  14. When our twins arrived, all activity ceased othjer than tending to them and that obviously included reading and for me, playwriting and hanging out at theatres. What got me back into reading (and ultimately into writing, although now it's prose not plays) was by breaking myself in gently - I read the Kay Scarpetta novels by Patricia Cornwell - not books I'd read now, but at the time they were pitched perfectly for my sleep deprived brain waiting on the next cry for milk during the small hours of the morning. I'm forever grateful to those books for easing me back into a pleasurable world I feared I'd lost.

    marc nash

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  15. Those sound like interesting reads - it's always nice to find something you can connect with =) I'm currently re-reading Emma by Jane Austen.

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  16. @ Marc - Ack! Twins! I'm impressed and inspired that you were able to read any kind of book at all. I hope as time progresses you can continue to get back into the pleasure of reading.

    @ Bookish - I always enjoyed Jane Austen.

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  17. ha yes, I'm reading like a demon these days (and reviewing them too out in the Twitterverse). I do agree in order to write, you have to be constantly reading. I never read as a boy, more interested in sports. It was only as a teen when an older cooler cousin of mine told me to listen to a song by the band The Cure and then read the book they had been inspired by that I finally discovered books. And now look at me!

    great post. Many thanks.

    marc

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  18. The only time i read (other than blogs) is about 15 minutes at night before falling asleep. It's so hard to find the time with a toddler around! Right now i'm reading Eat, Pray, Love and really enjoying it.

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  19. @ Grace - I hear SO many good things about that one! I think I need to add it to my list...

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  20. Reading is like air to me too...so what did you just finish reading? Would love to know.

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