One thing that has been a huge surprise since having kids is that I read a LOT. I assumed that I would have none time for such things, what with the job and the kids and the extreme sleeping, but nope – totally wrong.
I had all but stopped reading entirely during graduate school, which is completely insane, given what a bookworm I was growing up. My brother’s favorite thing to tease me about was my bookworminess. He used to leave signs on my door (closed, because I was reading, natch) that said “Book a Day Club President” and I would cry and cry. I’m not sure why, exactly, because that really doesn’t strike me as terribly mean (and certainly wasn’t inaccurate), but I guess he made me associate being bookish with being deeply uncool.
I used to get in trouble for reading during class in elementary and middle school. In high school, I found I could leverage my favorite hobby by reading lots of classics, and then acting really snotty about how well read I was. At the time, I assumed my teachers were thrilled at my unique insights and deep revelations, but I’m sure they were mostly just pleased that I liked to read, and wanted to encourage me.
I managed to keep it up through college – not the snottiness so much as just the reading, but yeah, mostly still classics and REAL books, with a heavy side of Harry Potter – but in grad school, I just couldn’t. My brain was too tired. I read too much for school and work, and my social life was pretty bustling, and I just didn’t make time or mental space for it. I’d manage a couple books a year, maybe, and more often than not they were re-reads.
I think part of the issue was also that I kept on trying to make literary fiction and classic literature work for me, despite being mentally fried. My attention span wasn’t sufficient, and my heart just wasn’t in it. The times I managed to really enjoy reading during grad school were when I was reading chick lit – and I didn’t think that counted. What? Ridiculous. Jonna and Kelly have both done a fantastic job at articulating why that stance is totally absurd – unfortunately, mostly on twitter where I can’t go re-read their excellent points.
Regardless, right after Eliza was born, when I was spending hours a day pumping, I started reading again. I bribed myself to keep pumping with a kindle. I remember reading How to be a Woman (Caitlin Moran) in the middle of the night, and just laughing and laughing. Since then, I’ve read a ton of books – I’ve gotten back to reading in my spare moments, when I’m walking down the hall at work, or in the minutes before I fall asleep. I’ll read all day when I get the chance. Cocoon myself in with a book. I love that.
ANYWAYS. April commented on my last post that she’s thinking of making 2014 the year of the re-read, and I got SUPER EXCITED about that idea. I’ve read a lot of great books in the past few years, but I’ve also been half out of my mind with sleep deprivation or work distractions or whatever. I think it will be fun to re-read some of the books I’ve loved – I bet I’ll find new things I missed the first time, or some of them will strike me differently altogether.
That’s how Divergent was – I absolutely hated it the first time I read it. I thought it was juvenile and poorly written and boring and lame. I re-read it a few weeks ago, because I felt like I was missing out on all the hullabaloo of the final installment, and I LOVED it. I have no idea what my deal was the first time!
So I wonder what books will be worse or better the second time around, or just different. I’ve read Harry Potter and East of Eden so many times they feels like coming home. It’d be nice to add some other books to that group. Also, I’m hoping that as re-reads, some of my favorites won’t keep me up till all hours, desperate to find out what happens next. I love that feeling of investment in a story line, but it is not super compatible with my life right now.
I’m not going to make a plan or set a goal, here, because I think that’s been part of the problem for me, lately. I’ve been reading books towards my goal on Goodreads, rather than just… reading. I won’t stop reading new books altogether, but I’ll stick with the ones that become social events, and try some re-reads in between. FINE I don’t have a plan, I just like books. I think I’ll start with the Graceling trilogy, though. Yep.