Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rediscovering an old love

I used to be an English major. Which basically means for four years, it was pretty much my job to read everyday. But that was for school, and ironically, there was little time for me to read things I enjoyed as opposed to things that were prescribed in the syllabus (if you put a gun to my head and asked me to read Samuel Richardson's Clarissa again, I'd tell you to shoot...) Over the years, between being a teacher, a grad student, then a grad student and mom, and then a working mom, I've tried to carve out time to read, mostly before bedtime, although I haven't always been as successful as I'd like.

Since we've been back though, I've tried to make a greater effort to clock in some good reading time- I schlep a book with me everywhere so if there's any downtime-- when I'm having lunch alone, while in line for something, waiting for a friend, etc., I have a book to occupy me. It's really a more productive use of my time than constantly checking my email or Facebook on my phone (and shaves off data plan usage on my phone plan too...). I also try to spend half an hour to an hour reading before going to bed. It actually helps wind my mind down for the day.

Books I've finished in the past month:
Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World (Lisa Bloom)
The Marriage Plot (Jeffrey Eugenides)
Life of Pi (Yann Martel)

In the midst of:
An Everlasting Meal (Tamar Adler)

In the queue:
Wishful Drinking (Carrie Fisher)
The Sense of an Ending (Julian Barnes)
The Glass Castle (Jeanette Walls)
Possession (A. S. Byatt) (I'm going to try starting a tradition to reread this once every year. That's how much I love it)

While I do most of my reading in bed, Jude and I are also starting to read more with Sophie. As in, reading our books as she flips through hers. Initially, I worried that if I sat and read a book of my own, I'd be ignoring her. But then I realized that I'm modeling a healthy habit for her- a child who sees her parent reading for pleasure quickly gets the message that reading is pleasure. And so we made a book nook in our room for all of us to read together-- Jude has his POÄNG chair from Ikea, we got Sophie a kiddie-sized one too, and I usually just sit on the bed. We filled a basket with some of her books (that we rotate every week or so) and after dinner or bathtime, we'd just all flump down together with our own books for a little bit before putting Sophie to bed. It usually isn't for long-- 20 minutes at the most-- but it's a nice way to just be quiet around each other and unwind from the day. Sophie understands that this is a special reading time and she doesn't ask us to read to her; besides, she knows she'll get a bunch of books read to her in bed just before she goes to sleep.

It's so trite to talk about how soulful it is to read but it's hard to find any other activity that feeds your soul and mind so richly as reading. Books have always been a huge part of my life-- in one way or another-- and as I grow older, I can only hope that they will continue to be. For me, and for Sophie.

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