Thursday, February 9, 2012

Learn to Love to Read

Posted by Amy Baranski

So, as you hopefully know by now this month is Read a Book a Week. Our week goes from Wednesday to Wednesday until the 29th of February. We all get one whole extra day this year stock pile pages of literature to our hearts' content.

The first week I procrastinated on starting my book. After working through the guilt and shame of that and the very public failure I was facing of not finishing a task that I thought up in the first place I decided to take a different approach. So last night I chose my next book from my ridiculous stack of unread books, and I began to read it. I decided if i could get to 30 pages I could turn off the light and go to sleep and feel more self confident about the week's challenge. I made it to 20.

Good enough!

I turned off the light and woke up three minutes before my alarm. Because I had set my work clothes out the night before (NERD!) I reduced the amount of time I'd spend hemming and hawing over which of my (two or three) work outfits to wear. You'd be surprised how long a decision can take when you don't have that many choices to decide between.

This genius idea of getting prepared the night before (thanks Mom!) gave me a whole hour this morning to read. So after getting some juice I got back in bed and I got to reading. As I did the days before I set my alarm for an hour increment. When the bell sounds at the hour I finish the chapter I'm on. If the chapter is inexorably long and I'm at the beginning of it I just read to the next break.

So I did that. By the time I was done I had made it to page 90 something. Wow, this totally feels incredible. a completely different experience from my self flagellation last week. I got up and got on with my day. Taking the bus out to work gave me extra time to read and I managed to flip through 17 more pages. This was fantastic because ahead of me was a very time consuming and focused (but productive) workday with no room for a leisurely read.

Now it's 7pm-ish and I feel so tired I might collapse. I'd really like to reward myself with a television show or even just a pillow, but I think I'll try holding the book up again and see if it takes me anywhere. After all, this is a process of learning something (or re-learning something that we lost) And if it doesn't take tonight that's OK too, I'll just try again in the morning.

Oh, and the book I'm reading is Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. I know nothing about it. My best friend Christina gave it to me, I think in 2008, for my birthday. I'm happy to finally be reading it!

(Please, please. please show your support on our reading challenge poll; it's in the right hand margin of this page. More importantly GO READ!)


Shawna said...

I really liked Ishmael when I read it years ago. I'll be curious to hear what you think about it.

It's difficult for me to make time to sit down and read these days, so lately I've been availing myself of audio books. I've gotten much better at listening and retaining what I hear, plus I can do fairly mindless tasks and "read" at the same time. I get my audio books from Seattle Public Library.

Right now, I'm listening to "Blackout" by Connie Willis. Some other recent books I've "read" this way are: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (very sweet young adult novel); The Chronicles of Harris Burdick (short stories by famous authors inspired by Chris Van Allsburg's picture book, "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick"; The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, by Timothy Egan; The Thirteenth Tale, a novel by Diane Setterfield.

Mwilliams said...

I wanted to join you all in this reading venture, but I have been reading books for grad classes which I believe not to be reading for pleasure. So instead I am reading two children's books per night with my son Ty! Happy Reading. Now to read the book Pirates Don't Change Diapers.......

Bob Redmond said...

Vicariously enjoying your reading. I'm dying without having time to read. A trip to the library this week perhaps!

Amy Baranski said...

@Shawna - I plan to write more about Ishmael, hopefully later today. It's such a deceivingly simple book.

Amy Baranski said...

@Mwilliams - I think that is great! Instilling the love or habit of reading from an early age is tops.