Pages

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Addiction

As I posted last week, I want my kids to grow up loving reading. Of course, I can't imagine how anyone could possibly not love to read. For me, it's like an addiction, a craving. Almost unhealthy sometimes, if such a thing can be.

I remember back in elementary school, when our class would take trips to the public library once every other week. The check-out limit was four books. I don't remember if there was a requirement about whether or not you had to check out anything or not; such was not my concern. I know that most of my classmates viewed those trips to the library as a time to get out of class and a time to sit around socializing, maybe checking out the first book their hand fell on in an effort to appease the teacher, but definitely not to read. But I loved those trips. I would lose myself in the shelves of books, agonizing over which ones to get, how to narrow it down to just four. I always had all four read well before they were due two weeks later.

In fact, those class trips to the library usually resulted in me pestering my dad to take me to the library again over the weekend, when I would come home with the mountains of books that I hadn't been allowed to check out during the class trip. And I read them all. Often more than once.

My dad hated it when the book order forms came home--not because he didn't want me to read, but because he didn't want me to send him into debt while doing it. I remember poring over those things, circling virtually every title that wasn't about sports as part of my "wish list." I think I could have personally kept Scholastic in business if my parents hadn't reined me in.

On those long, lazy days of summer growing up, I didn't want to do anything except read. When we went on vacations, I would pack an entire bag full of books, 20 or 30 or more, then read them all. When we went to the pool, I sat in the shade and read (reading in the sun often gave me a headache). When my mother feared that I was going to turn into a big old shapeless blob if I didn't get off the couch and get some exercise, I'd sneak a book into the waistband of my shorts, then compliantly go out for a bike ride..... only far enough to find an out-of-the-way spot to sit and read for a while before returning home after my "ride." (Sorry you had to find out about it this way, Mom. But see, I made to to reasonably healthy adulthood anyway.) In high school, I'd zoom through 500-page novels in a day...... the same novels that now take me weeks to reread.

These days, with three small children in the house and a myriad of responsibilities to suck up my time, I don't get to spend nearly as much time reading as I'd like. But often, once I get started on a book, I can't put it down. This can be dangerous with little kids around. I find myself saying, "Mommy will play with you at the end of this chapter, honey" or looking dazedly around when Ben comes home from working and saying, "Ohmygosh, I'm so sorry, I completely forgot to start dinner!"

Case and point. My book club is reading Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin this month. I put it on hold at the library a month ago, but whoever had it before me kept it past the due date, and eventually I just had to go out and get it at Half Price Books in order to ensure that I'd be able to read it before our Thursday meeting. As it was, I was going to have to do some intense speed-reading to finish. Which on some levels was okay, as I found myself kind of annoyed with it from the very beginning. (Apologies here to any book club gals reading this, I'll try not to say too much here.) It was not a book that I would have typically picked for myself, which is a good thing, because isn't that what being in a book club is all about? But I pretty much hated every character in it and didn't find any of them sympathetic, and although all the reviews on the front and back covers seemed to be telling me that I should be rooting for the main character from start to finish, I thought she was pretty pathetic.

All of that being said, I absolutely could not put the book down. I stayed up late to finish it last night and then--big mistake--read the excerpts from her follow-up novel that were published in the back of this one. That, of course, led me to check out Something Blue while at the library today. And I might just "have to" read it before Thursday too. You know, just in case anyone in my group wants to know what happens in the sequel.

Like I said, I am seriously addicted to reading. In fact, I think I have to cut off this blog post to go read some more now. It's like once I get started, I can't control myself. The rational adult part of my brain says, "There is laundry to be folded. There are dishes to be done. You have a to do list a mile long. You cannot start another novel right now." The kid in me wants to stick a paperback in my purse and claim that I need to run to the grocery store, then actually go park the car somewhere and read instead. :) Good grief. Before I know it, I'll likely be taking a flashlight to bed with me to hide my habits from Ben and the kids....

3 comments:

Andrea said...

I wish I had known you were looking for them - I own both those books! I liked them, although I understand "chick lit" isn't for everyone. If you did end up liking those two books, I think you might like "Babyproof" from her. I think you also might identify with the characters a little more. Let me know if you'd like to borrow it. Jane Green also writes some similiar books that I really like; she is my current favorite author. I am actually trying to find time right now between grading and 2 bible studies to read the latest book I picked up.

Anonymous said...

I think I might know where you get your love of reading . . . .as of a few days ago your dad has read 48 books since January 1st and is almost done with the three books he's obsessed with now! I'm only reading two books simultaneously and have only had time to get through 34 books in the last six months. I do understand how real life can get in the way of a good read! We aren't weird, non-bookworms are:)
Love,
Diane

Maria said...

Reading this post brought back a lot of memories from my childhood.....my favorite manuever to stay up late and read was to head into the bathroom. My father usually had to order me to bed after I'd been sitting on top of the toilet seat for an hour or so!