Rambling about reading.

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.

This entry was posted in Me me me. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Rambling about reading.

  1. Jesabes says:

    Hmm. I didn’t like Divergent, either, but I’m hesitant to re-read because I *did* like the second one (which most people who liked Divergent didn’t care for as much) and am LOVING the third (which I think most people who liked the first one hated). I don’t want to mess up my love of the later books!

  2. Adah says:

    I’m interested in what it is about re-reading that you enjoy. I love reading, but I rarely, rarely re-read. Oddly, I rationalize to myself that a new book will have more emotional thrill than one whose plot and emotional turns I already know. However, since you clearly find it satisfying, I’m thinking that maybe I have a silly hang-up and that I should try it more often!

  3. Adah says:

    I read the Anne of Green Gables series (all eight) while nursing my Eliza the first month after she was born. She’s our second. I couldn’t read much and nurse or pump with our first baby – I just wasn’t coordinated enough at first to hold the book and the baby. Sounds funny now that I type it out, but ’twas true. I had it licked with the second and read like crazy. Was so fun.

  4. april says:

    I’m so excited about this, and thank you for reminding me about Graceling. I don’t think I won’t read ANY new books, but it definitely won’t be my focus. I’m not making a goal either, although I think I will still keep a list – I love looking back at my reading lists from the past few years. Vampire Academy, the Succubus books (I love Richelle Mead), Graceling, Emperor’s Edge, Harry Potter … so excited.

  5. HereWeGoAJen says:

    I haven’t been able to read as much since the addition of the second child. I miss it. I’m hoping that it sneaks back in soon.

  6. Anne says:

    I have just recently managed to start reading for pleasure again since I got my Kindle (for my birthday back in September). It really helps to have books so much more portable. No way would I carry around an 800lb hardcover book to read in line/in random downtime, but the Kindle? Sure!
    According to my Goodreads account I read 54 books in 2009, 54 books is 2010, 54 books in 2011 (consistent!) and then when Simon was born in 2012 I read 27 (HALF). So far this year I’m at 17, though I read a lot more in the late fall/early winter, so I could hit 27 again if I’m lucky. I think I’m still stuck in reading to hit my Goodreads goal.

  7. LizScott says:

    Oh, I love the Graceling trilogy, for reasons I cannot quite explain. I skim a lot of the “action” stuff, because I don’ t think the writer really sells that type of writing for me, but I love it all the same. Fire is FAR AND AWAY my favorite.

  8. Erin says:

    I found out my library loans e-audiobooks, and they totally reintroduced me to the re-read. I pulled out our old iPod and loaded it up with all of the Harry Potter audiobooks, and have been enjoying them on my commute every day! It is AWESOME! I find myself picking up on new things every time!

    This is soooo great to me, because I really really really have wanted to reread Harry Potter all the way through, but I have never been able to do it, because I feel New Book Guilt- the feeling that there are so many other books that I have NEVER read, it seems a waste to REREAD something I have already read. But this solves that problem because I could not be physically reading any other book while driving. That would be unsafe!

  9. Audrey says:

    I loved the Graceling trilogy — it’s one that surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. If that author ever writes any more books set in that universe, I’ll read them in a heartbeat.

    My Nook totally saved my sanity during all the late-night feedings that come with having a newborn, and I’m sort of looking forward to having all that reading time back come April when I have a newborn again. (Not looking forward to the sleep deprivation — I’m not crazy — just looking forward to doing more reading.) There are a lot of benefits to Alexander no longer requiring a lengthy bedtime routine, but I kind of miss having that extra 20-30 minutes every night to read while I rocked him to sleep.

  10. RA says:

    I want to make 2014 the Year of the Reread, TOO! It is partly because I miss the books I haven’t read in a while, and partly because I need to stop mowing down books like I get badges for them. I also have no plan, except that I think I want to identify 12 books to definitely reread. Maybe 18 as a reach?

    Assuming you read it, did you love the Wrinkle in Time series? I find that that is WAY different upon adult re-read, but in a good way. And if you re-read Wrinkle, I highly recommend (re)reading Rebecca Stead’s When I Reach You. SO GOOD.

  11. Ginger says:

    I love re-reading books. I’ll reread before a movie comes out (I need to reread Hunger Games & Catching Fire before I go see the movie), or just when I need a familiar friend. There are definitely some books I think it would be interesting to re-read now that I’m in a different headspace.

    I need to finishe the Graceling trilogy before I can reread it though.

  12. Hillary says:

    This is such a good idea. Your description of rereading certain books as feeling like coming home is spot on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>