Thursday, August 30, 2007

reading into it

I have had building guilt and desire to read more lately. But I usually just shrug it off and say I don't have time. I used to read like crazy. When I was younger I would read a book in one sitting all the time. Taking a road trip with my family, I couldn't pack enough books to get me through our two week vacation. When I was single I spent almost all my down time reading. Now I look longingly at my bookshelf, I see or hear of good books in passing, and I wish I could find the time to read them. I wonder if it's just me who doesn't read anymore. But it's not.

I came across an article in my blog surfing and read this article and felt my stomach sink. Suddenly, all these questions rushed into my head that made me feel like I'm 85 years old. What is wrong with this country? Where have we gone wrong? The younger generations are just letting it all go.

Americans aren't reading books. One in four adults read NO BOOKS last year. NO BOOKS. A few years ago I would have said I don't even understand how that is possible. How can you read NO books? In a YEAR?
Now I am pretty darn close to being one of those Americans.
I am pretty darn close to being part of that younger generations who are just letting it all go.

Between the kids and the house and spending time with Ryan and spending time with friends and doing things we like to do, between keeping up with long distance friends and my blog and my pictures... where does reading fit in?
Do I make time to blog? check
Do I make time to watch movies? check
Do I make time for all that other stuff? check
So why do I never take the time to read anymore?

I remember years ago, I had let books slide down my priority list. I was busy teaching, busy with life (or so I thought), and just didn't take as much time out to read as I used to. This was right about the time that Oprah started her world-wide Book Club. I remember watching a show of hers one day back when she was just getting it all started, and I thought, what a great way to get people motivated to read more! It seemed all I needed was a reminder of how much I loved a good book, and I was right back into finding and savoring great reads whenever I could.
And then I got married and had kids and moved five times in five years and found out what being busy really was.
Now I have had the same pile of books that I want to read sitting on my dresser for the two months since we've moved that I had sitting on my dresser for the past 6 months before we moved. The last book I read was when I was "on vacation" in Portland last January.

So what to do?

I've made a deal with myself.
We do Blockbuster online and end up going through probably an average of maybe two movies a week.
I've decided that for every three movies I watch, I have to read one book. Meaning, if I haven't read a whole book in the course of a couple of weeks, and we have taken the time to make it through three whole movies... then I need to readjust my down time. It's come down to discipline. haha!
I've mentioned my struggle with this to Ryan and how I'm disappointed that I've watched so many more movies than I've read books these days. He pointed out that the reason it's so easy for us to watch movies is because, more often than not, we're multi-tasking while we watch; I'm blogging or editing pictures or Ryan's paying bills or we're folding laundry or playing a game of scrabble. And while that's all good and true, it doesn't help the fact that I want to be reading more.

I'm honestly starving for a good book and instead of whining and wishing I could read more, I'm just going to do it. I want to enjoy a good book. I want my kids to see me taking the time to enjoy a good book and know that reading is a fun thing to do, even when you're an adult.
I've been looking forward to our trip because I know I'll have a little bit more time on my hands, I'll be going to bed alone at night before Ryan joins us, and I should be able to find some space to curl up with a book. Or two. I'm hoping to get the ball rolling while I'm gone and then when I come home and get back into the routine, I'll make a priority of some me-time being some reading time.

Here's a good quote I just came across...
the man who does not read books
has no advantage over the man who cannot read them

Mark Twain

So what are your thoughts? Do you like to read? Do you actually do it? When do you find the time? Especially if you're a mom and a wife, when do you find the time??
Are we all really just too busy?

People know to read to their kids (right? People do know that?), but maybe we need to start a campaign to get adults to read to themselves! Who's with me?

**add another Thoughtful Thursday blogger to your list... Tracy has some thoughts for the day!


Kelly said...

I used to read alot when I was a younger also. Once I started working reading wasn't a priority for me. I read more now but usually I only get in a book or two a year and I usually only get the opportunities in the winter when it's too cold to be doing anything else.

leslie said...

Hi Heather, Yes I read...Goodnight Moon, Guess How Much I love you....And the list goes on. :)

No, I really like to read. I am currently reading a fabulous book right now. I like reading before bed. At that point, I am so sleepy I don't read more than a few pages at a time. I need to start reading during the day more.

Tracy said...

I love to read but I feel like I am limited w/ my time. I have the 3 kiddos, Jeff, and my part time job. Plus I make childrens clothing and this usually happens late at night.
I do love to curl up with a great book when I have time. My other problem is I become addicted and nothing else matters when I'm reading a good book. The kids get ignored and the roof could fall in while I'm enjoying the book.
Now Jeff is great about reading he reads both professional books and regular books. He makes himself read atleast 1 professional book for every fun book he reads.

I love vacation and car rides because I will fill up on lots of good books.

Katie said...

Do I read: yes, but not as much as I should or would like too. I make up some lame excuse why I don't have the time...(but, look what Im doing while Donnie's napping..LOL!)

Do I read to Donnie: Oh yeah, and he has his favorite books that he'll bring to me and sit next to me with his sippy and blanket...reading & snuggle time!

And I'm such a hypocrite because I know the power of reading and I always preached to my kids last year to read, read, read, even if they couldn't read the words... just sit with a book and use your imagination!! Look at me, I haven't read a whole book since last Fall....sad.

Jessica said...

I loooove books. Love, love, love them. Can't live without them. I read when I have enough energy to stay awake an extra 15-20 minutes. I'm a very quick reader so if I read for 15-20 minutes every night I can have a book done in a week, sometimes less. Yes, there are books that I get so caught up in that I can't put them down and I'm up until midnight or later so I can finish it, but to me it's worth it. It's a lesson I want my girls to learn, too...I want them to see me get all excited about a book/reading, etc!

Christina said...

I read a lot of children's books obviously (we go to the library often), and I do read books for me, but it just seems to take me a lot longer to get through them than it used to. I try and read most nights in bed for a few minutes, but I get pretty sleepy. That's why it takes sooo long to read them, unless they are just so riveting, I can't put it down. One book that I read recently that kept me wanting more was called Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It is sooooooooo interesting. It is a non-fiction book kind of based on the book of Hosea, but with all these really interesting characters set in Gold Rush time. The main character is believe it or not a prostitute. THis book really gives food for thought about God's grace, forgiveness, etc. My mom, sister in law, her mom and I all loved it. Anyway, just a subtle suggestion (okay, maybe a really strong one). :)

K.M. Laughlin said...

What a great topic! I just talked to my students about reading every day...even if it is just for 20 minutes. I LOVE to read...I read everyday for almost an hour and usually it is right before bed. It winds me down and relaxes me. Usually though if the book is good I have to stay up all night to finish! I joined because I wanted to get rid of some of the books I had, but also get new ones because I don't always have time to get to the library. If I could read all day, everyday and get paid...I would! ;)

*Here is a little info....
"Why Can't I Skip my 20 minutes of Reading Tonight?"
Let's figure it out mathematically.

* Student A reads 20 minutes five nights of every week;

*Student B reads only 4 minutes a night...or not at all.

Step 1: Multiply minutes a night x 5 times each week.

*Student A reads 20 min. x 5 times a week = 100 mins./week

*Student B reads 4 min. x 5 times a week = 20 minutes

Step 2: Multiply minutes/week x 4 times a month

*Student A: reads 400 minutes a month

*Student B: reads 80 minutes a month

Step 3: Multiply minutes a month x 9 months/school year

*Student A: reads 3600 min./school year

*Student B: reads 720 min./school year

Student A practices reading the equivalent of ten whole school days a year.
Student B gets the equivalent of only 2 school days of reading practice.

By the end of 6th grade if Student A and Student B maintain these same reading habits;
Student A will have read 60 whole school days
Student B will have read only 12 school days.

One would expect the gap of information retained will have widened considerable and so, undoubtly, will school performance.

How do you think Student B will feel about himself/herself as a student?

Some questions to ponder:
WHich student would you expect to read better?
Which student would you expect to know more?
Which student would you expect to write better?
Which student would you expect to have a better vocabulary?
WHich student would you expect to be more successful in school...and in life???

Your kids watch what you do...and the older they get, the more they see! I would try to sit down at least 20 minutes a day with my kids..if I had kids...and read with can't hurt!

Great topic!!! I could go on and on...I love reading! ha!

MacKenzie Leigh said...

I absolutely looooove to read. I always have. In first grade at Hanover is when my love for reading started. I got to take the bus over to the Middle School and get books out of their library b/c the elementary books weren't at my 6th grade reading level. LOL I am a total bookworm. So is my mom. And my dad. And my sister! I can sit and read alllllll day. Do I have the time to read as much as I'd like? No. But if I have a good book I spend every moment Jocelyn naps or goes down for bed reading it. I used to go through 5-7 books in a two week period when I was working. (If no one is buying cars my job is superlame haha) I am a super fast reader and usually finish a good book in 2-3 days right now. I just read The Broker by John Grisham. OMG. I highly recommend it. And if you have any suggestions on good books...send them my way! I hate going to the library now (they just rearranged EVERYTHING) so if I went with a few books in mind, that would help me out a lot! Good TFT!

Nicole said...

I love to read too... not anything earth moving or "educational" usually.. I like the "chic lit" light and funny books.

I think the last book I read was the Glass Castle. I started the book when I was pregnant, had Porter and then forgot about finishing it (like I had time with a newborn!). Anyhow, I finally finished the book last October when I flew to GA to visit Jess. I went through a couple books on my 5 hour travel time (flight, layover, flight). And, sadly... thats the last "me" book I've read.

You're at least ahead of me... I RARELY watch tv or movies. It just always seems that there's so many other things I can be getting done. I did sit down last night around 11:45 after I was done working and I watched an episode of Without A Trace. I haven't watched much in the last 6 months.

Anyhow... yeah, I need to make reading more of a priority. Maybe we should start a Book Blog Club!!

Misti said...

I love to read, and have since I was a child. I joined a book club on a message board I'm a member of so I've read several lately. Recently I had to kind of put myself on "book restriction" because I wasn't getting anything else done. I'd get so wrapped up in a book that I'd let the laundry & stuff go. I'm trying to "discipline" myself in that I can't sit down & read unless I've done X, Y & Z that day. Hopefully that will help. Great topic, btw!

Heather S. said...

I love to read, too! I probably read 1 book a month - sometimes fiction, sometimes not. Like Kasey, if it is a good book, I will read all night. I often read in the car on a road trip (if the girls are napping). I am hoping my girls enjoy reading as much as I do - we try to read multiple times a day. I just started reading Charlotte's Web to Norah and she loves it!

-Jen said...

I LOVE to read. I am, however, right there with you. I use to read CONSTANTLY. Now I always see the books sitting on my dresser and go "Oh, I really need to get to that" and still, I have a hard time doing it. So I think that I'm going to try and squeeze in more reading. I always feel sooo much better after I read a book. You know, a year and a half ago, it was sooo easy to read a book, cuz I worked 2 Saturdays a month, 9 hour straight shift, sitting at a desk, waiting for the phone to ring, or people to come in for a tour. I read books like crazy. Reading your blog has made me miss it even more! Thanks Heather, you're pretty inspiring. I'm off to start a book right now. Well, after I finish blogging ;)

Kim said...

LOVE reading. I read constantly when I was younger. On our last vacation, I think I read about five books over the week. I read when we go to our cabin. But, I don't read at home anymore either. When I have free time, it's so hard for me to not be plugged in... to the computer, to the TV, whatever. Reading is something you have to have complete focus on... that's why I think it's hard. Usually I'm trying to do three things at once.
What I've actually started doing over the last few weeks is driving to a parking lot on my lunch break... parking there and eating lunch... and reading for almost an hour. It's the only time of the day I can find to do it! :)

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