Dewey’s Hour 7 Mini-Challenge: My #readblock

There are plenty of reasons why people don’t read as often as they like. I fear, my reasons are no different than many others’. I read plenty these days–though Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and But Not the Hippopotamus aren’t exactly on my reading list. Don’t get me wrong, I love that Madi has finally, at 20 months old, started to love reading books.

The toddler isn’t my only excuse, obviously. I mean, she’s barely awake 8 hours a day (she’s a sleeper!), so I’ve got the time. But then I get wrapped up in the housework or wanting to spend time with Nick in the evenings or journaling or cross-stitching or budgeting or going for a run or [insert any other possible excuse here]. I guess reading had simply just dropped lower and lower on my priority list in the past couple years. I could make time for it, I just don’t. And there’s no one to blame but myself. Not that I blame myself, until I get charged the overdue fines at the library because I haven’t even started a book I’ve had checked out for more than a month 😲

Truth be told, I’ve been a bit better the past few months. I’m going to a bookclub at the library every month, so I read three books for that this year alone–much better than in years past.

i seriously need to read more

I’ve got to say, I’m quite ashamed with myself. I have just not been reading lately. Right now, I don’t even have an excuse, as I’m not working for the summer (yay school-schedule!). I could use pregnancy as an excuse, you know, prepping for the baby in September and all. But that’s just not true. Honestly, while I’ve done some prepping for Baby, it’s not like it consumes my entire day–even when I get “crafty” and make something for the nursery, it doesn’t take more than a few hours in a single day. And even things like cleaning the house can’t take THAT long, right?

One legitimate reason I haven’t been “reading” as much lately is because the CD player in my car went all screwy. And if it doesn’t give me back the CDs I put in–which belong to the library, always–I’m hesitant to risk listening to audiobooks. Why don’t I just put them on my phone and play them through the speakers of my car? Well, I’ve never liked doing that very much. Perhaps it’s because I still see my phone as mostly for calls and texts–and updating Facebook–more than I see it as a storage device, which it technically is.

I think my major problem with reading lately is this. When I worked at the daycare for about 1.5 years, I read during the couple of hours a day when naptime was taking place. Previously, I read at home when I wanted to, which was probably for a few hours a few days a week. But the daycare habit ruined me. It turned me into a reader who simply read when I was bored and had seriously no other options–again, I don’t use my phone to play games really and catching up on the latest pins on Pinterest and status updates on Facebook only takes so long. Now that I don’t have a 2-3 hour window of time every day to read a book, I find myself not reading at all. Because at home after work there’s re-runs on TV to watch, so I’m not “bored” enough to read.

In 2014, I’ve read two books. JUST TWO!!!

I know my 2014 page says I’ve read three, but I know I only read about 70 pages in January before I finished it–I read the majority in the fall/winter of 2013. Since I have the time now, I think I’d like to get back into the habit of reading daily. Maybe then, when Baby comes in September, I’ll still manage to read a couple days a week. I actually would like to re-read some books from my past that I really liked out loud while I tend to Baby. Will I have the desire to do that when the time comes? Who knows. But for now, I’m reading some aloud daily. (Right now it’s mostly so Baby can hear my voice–I mean, I’m at home all day and I don’t really converse with myself out of the blue. So reading aloud is a good alternative, I think.)

Anyways, to sum up this post, I WANT TO READ MORE. And even further, I WANT TO WANT TO READ MORE. (Perhaps I just haven’t been finding the right books lately, either.) So my goal is to read an average of 2 books every month for the rest of the year–that’s 12 books from today until December 31st. And, if I manage to get ahead on this “goal” during the summer months, that’s fine. But I don’t want to stop reading in the fall when my time-consuming actions of work, taking care of Baby, and getting back in shape after Baby all return, just because I “got ahead” when I had a lot of free time.

inspirational ≠ religious {thoughts on books and reading}

I admit that when I see the inspiration section in the library or book store, I think one thing: religious fiction, particularly of the Christian persuasion. This is an unfounded assumption, due to the fact that until recently, I’d never read a book from that section. And I thought to myself, “We all know what happens when you assume…”

So, at the beginning of the year, I resolved to read five books from my library’s inspiration section. There were no specific parameters to the resolution. (But I’m not reading series, even if I might read the first in a series, and I’m trying to get some differing stories, by different authors.)

I have been surprised to find, having read two of those resolved five, that there is pretty much no religion in my inspirational picks. Religion has been mentioned–there’s just no way of getting away from it being mentioned in a story about the Amish (The Shunning by Beverly Lewis). But it was practically nonexistent in my pioneer story (Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke) other than a fairly minor character praying at meal times. In fact, Love Comes Softly had “historical fiction” on the back cover; I definitely thought it fit that genre more than what I had been imagining for the genre of inspiration.

This isn’t to say that religion won’t play a larger role in my last three picks for the resolution–I’m very certain it will play majorly in Left Behind by Tim LeHaye, which I plan on reading. But, again, I’ve decided to try not being so narrow minded and it has been a fairly enlightening experience thus far.

memoirs of a half-lived life {thoughts on books and reading}

This post really could be titled “Memoirs of a Quarter-Lived Life”. There is a growing trend of young people out there, especially in the famous population, of writing autobiographies before the age of 30. Some write them as young as 17, such as Justin Bieber. And I am left wondering, “How can they even have experienced enough for an autobiography?”

Sure. Actors and singers have busy lives, but that doesn’t exactly merit an autobiography. I think they should just do what normal people do and write in a journal if they feel they won’t be able to keep the memories. Having lots of memories is not the same as having lots of experience, and I’d rather read about the later.

I really enjoyed reading some memoirs in 2011, but those were written by people who have lived most of their lives, not a small portion. I particularly enjoyed Julie Andrews’ memoir, which actually only focused on her life before her film career. Yes, she wrote about her childhood memories, but there was stuff in there about her first marriage, first house, first child, etc.–I’m not saying you can’t have a life worth talking about if you don’t have those things. But I’m sure Justin Bieber (as an example) has very little to discuss–especially as his career as a singer has only existed for a couple of years.

If you want to write about your life, and are under the age of 50, find an empty journal. I will not bother reading a memoir by a person under the age of 50, because I feel it just can’t have much bearing before that. 

books by 20-something Hollywood actresses {thoughts on books and reading}

Hilary Duff has done it. So has Lauren Conrad. Even Snooki has one. Heck, I’m sure Lindsay Lohan would have one if she wasn’t constantly in jail/rehab.

What do all these young American actresses/reality-TV “stars” have?
Published books.

Fiction or non-fiction, it doesn’t matter. They are “professional authors” in the technical sense that they have sold their work. And I’ll admit that until just recently, I was upset that these young ladies have published books. I would have said that they are spoiled and no one would have offered them a book deal if they hadn’t known the books would sell on their name alone. I’m still skeptical that they wrote draft upon draft before they submitted their books to a publisher, like many a new author.

But then I realized something. Does it really matter to the normal reader how a story came into being? Sure, these girls may have been handed a deal on a silver plater. Heck, they might not even have written the books–ghost writers exist for a reason. I know some readers may be more ethical when they choose what authors to read. But personally, if I think a book summary sounds good, I should put it on my TBR list, not taking into account how the author got it published. I don’t mean to offend any writer out there who has tried for years upon years with loads of different stories to be published–I’m sure books by these young ladies probably made a publisher overlook an equally deserving story with a “less deserving” (in their minds) name for books that would sell to fans of the famous.

I should not overlook a book written by a young famous person as a book that was only published because of the famous name. These books have the same probability of being a book I like than any other book out there by less-famous names.

Though, I confess, I would probably feel a little self-conscious about being seen reading LA Candy by Lauren Conrad–people might think I’m some ditzy girl who’s only reading it because LC wrote it. (Hate to admit, it but I can be self-conscious about that stuff!)

multiple books {thoughts on books and reading}

Yesterday I realized something that shocked me: I am reading four books at a time. For a girl who would have said a year or so ago that I couldn’t read more than a book at a time, this is pretty strange. I think I figured out the way to read multiple books at one time–read books that are completely different at the same time. For instance, right now I am reading The Count of Monte Cristo, set in Napoleonic France; The Lake of Dreams, set in current day eastern New York; Tsotsi, set in present South Africa; and Love Comes Softly, set in the 19th century American frontier. If any of these books were remotely similar in any way, it would be harder to distinguish between them. Plus, I think it helps that there are designated times and places to read each of these books: I read CoMC at work during the kids’ naptime; The Lake of Dreams is an audiobook, so I read that in the car while I commute; Tsotsi is the book I keep at home; and Love Comes Softly is the book I keep in my car, to read before spin class on Mondays and/or Wednesdays, depending on my friend’s schedule (I have 2 hours between work and spin haha).

Now, the question is, “Do I actually like reading multiple books at the same time?” As far as I can tell, I suppose I do like reading like that. I think if I hadn’t so many situations where it’s easier to keep a book somewhere and read while I’m there, I would be reading fewer books. I am fairly certain I haven’t read more than three books at a time before this. I slowly started to read more and more books at the same time, therefore I think I’ve just slowly acclimatized to keeping multiple stories in my head.