Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Alison, how do you read so many books?

This is for all the people in my life who ask me, "How do you read so many books?"  Allow me to share some of my reading habits with you.  Alison, don't you mean reading addiction??



Skimming is cheating.  My heart ached the first time someone said, "How do you get so much from skimming through a book?"  Oof.  That hurt just writing it.  I do not skim through books!  I'm not a speed reader either.  You would be surprised at the amount of typos I can find, consistency errors, and grammatical mistakes, and that's not including the unproofed reviewer's copies I receive.   I once had someone suggest that I read the first 40, the middle 40 and the last 40 pages of a book I didn't like so I could review it.  I couldn't do it.  So, I promise all my readers, I read every book I review from cover to cover.  Pinky Swear!  I spent many a college nights writing term papers on books I never read, and referencing other books I pretended to read.  Dude, remember that paper on Jane Austen the Monday after Homecoming weekend?  Emma who?  No more! 

Television kills brain cells.  There is not much television that requires my full attention, so while some people relax in front of the boob tube between the hours of 8 and 11, I am there, on the couch, reading.  The only show that has ever required my full and undivided attention was Lost.  And, don't make me shed another tear for Jack Shepard...please...*sniff*  The Yankees may not require my attention, but they get it, too, especially when Andy Pettitte is pitching...

My kids don't play with me any more.  I have two very active boys, who like to play outside.  My little guy isn't quite as independent as he thinks he is, and can be a bit accident prone.  Since I'm a worrywart, I don't leave them out there by themselves, so you can usually find me in my chair off the the side of the yard reading while they play basketball, ride scooters, squirt each other with water guns. Not on Mommy's BOOK!!!

Got a minute?  Doctor's offices? Waiting for your kids to finish practice?  Picking up someone from school?   I always have a book with me.  I love my winter purse because it can hold a bowling ball...but it also can hold a hardcover edition of War and Peace - ow, my back! - or Anna Karenina - ow, my morality! or Breaking Dawn - ow, my eyes!  It's actually a running joke with the ladies I see around town, "So, Alison, what book is in your bag today?"  I'm like Mary freakin' Poppins...instead of a hat stand, I've got books.

If I sit, I read.  I read while I eat, I read while I exercise, I read while I blow dry my hair, among other, um, ritualistic morning activities that involves, um, sitting.  What's the big deal?  Just say it: Everybody poops!  Shhhh.  My inner voice has learned how to type!!  Oh, that's embarrassing.

If I walk, I read.  Since I have discovered Audiobooks, I now can add gardening, watering flowers, cooking, folding laundry, and cleaning the house to my list of things I can do while reading.  Come winter, I'll probably add shoveling snow to that list - this past winter, that was almost a daily chore that isn't easily forgotten, even in this heat.  Audiobooks count as books, by the way.  No, I'm not holding the book, that's someone else's job...the nice lady in my earbuds who is reading the story to me.  Thank you, lady.

The Car.  I will only suffer car sickness for a REALLY good book.  If a book is great, I'll suffer for it, and read while The Man drives.  We live far from family, far from the shore, far from...well everything we live in the sticks of NJ!!!...so if I can do it, I'll read in the car.  Again, the iPod audiobooks come in handy here, but The Man doesn't like it when he doesn't know he's being ignored.  He would rather me read a book, that way he KNOWS he's being ignored.   Also, he thinks it's weird if he can sort of hear the voice coming through the earbud.

Me Time.  Every so often, usually on weekends when The Man is around, I get time to myself.  These are longer periods of time during which I can indulge in reading, curled up in a chair, drinking my coffee.  No watching the clock, not rushing to finish a chapter before the bus comes.  It's me, my book, and my coffee QUIET! Mommy's trying to read!  I'm not necessarily alone, but I pretend to be.  These times are rare and precious and STOP hitting your brother! don't happen all that often now that school's out for summer.  So, when I can sneak off into a corner and read I'm locking this door! I can take time to enjoy my guilty pleasure that doesn't make me feel all that guilty.  Stop pulling on mommy's book, you know where the band-aids are!

Lucky Me!  Books are a blessing, and I am beyond grateful to have so many books to choose from at any given time.  As a book blogger, I receive books to review from publishers, publicists and sometimes directly from authors.  I have an amazing county library with a handy dandy on-line reservation system.  I'm also a book buying addict.  Some girls love shoes...I love books.  I can't go more than a week or two without visiting my favorite book shop.  They're all so shiny and new! Who am I kidding, I love the old and worn ones even better!  Right now, I have a bookshelf full of books - and a floor stacked with books, and a nightstand stacked with books and a library tote bag stuffed with books -  all waiting to be read.  Especially that copy of The Lacuna that's been giving me the stink-eye for the past year.  I am book blessed.



So, while you are chillin' out watching So You Think You Can Dance, or flipping through a magazine, or concentrating with all of your attention on your 5 year old's ability to maneuver a two-wheeler, I'll be reading!

I'm a book lover - it's what I do!

 One of these days maybe I'll take pictures of myself in all my favorite reading places, but I'm shy.  Bwahahahaaa.  Ok, maybe I'm not shy.  Maybe I'm just a little lazy?  Yep.  That's closer to the truth.

19 comments:

Elisabeth said...

I am with you on every point except kids. (Don't have them, yet.) Maybe it is because I'm sensitive, but I don't see any other hobbyist defending the time they spend with their love the way book lovers do.

Debbie T said...

Thank you for explaining. LOL Now I can stop asking you.

Amanda said...

People are always asking me that question too and I tell them it's very easy: 1) I watch very little TV, just the news and 1 show a week, 2) I don't have a job, so when my boys are in school I'm free to read! and 3) I really don't like cleaning the house...

Amy said...

Great post! I don't have kids so I don't have that issue, but I read in cars, airplanes, buses, in waiting rooms, in line-up, etc etc. And I ALWAYS have at least one book in my purse!

bermudaonion said...

I'm not a skimmer either and rarely watch TV. When I'm watching Dancing with the Stars or college football (Go Hokies!) I set my book aside for a few hours.

Josette said...

Hi Alison,

I loved this post! I don't believe in skimming either. It makes me feel guilty. So far, I manage to finish every book I start to read, no matter how difficult it is. But there are so many great books out there that I feel it's a waste of time spent struggling with something I don't enjoy reading. It's determination for me then! :)

I would love to have more time to read but I've been quite an Internet addict nowadays. Your post has definitely inspired me to make time for reading. Thanks!

jedisakora said...

I have to admit i'm a skimmer. Especially when the author is starting to become repetitive and redundant. So therefore i might skim over paragraphs to a whole chapter. I'll usually mention it in my review though.

Alison's Book Marks said...

@Elisabeth - someday you'll juggle mommyhood and reading. I call it being a good role model! Also, I truly don't think people ask me in a judgemental way, I believe there aren't many casual readers (non-bloggers) out there that read 4 books a week and are just curious how I fit it in.

@Debbie - As long as you're aware that your asking me last week prompted me to finally reply to the question properly! Thank you!

@Amanda - I can't clean the house! I have a TLC book tour next week!

@Amy - Thanks for stopping by - what's in your purse today??

@BermudaOnion - I think I told you this in NYC in May, our DREAM is for one of our kids to go to VA Tech!

@Josette - Thank you!! I know what you mean by internet distraction. Twitter has cost me HOURS of reading time. Facebook? I can't even talk about it.

@jedisakora - NO! Skimmer? Hey, I'm glad you're honest about it. My husband is down to his last 150 pages of a book and he feels like the author is repeating herself, so he's tempted to skim too. I get it.

Nely said...

I should just copy this post and put it up on my blog. We are exactly the same - soul sista! haha

Alison's Book Marks said...

@Nely - you mean you don't just absorb books by osmosis?? :)

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

Great post! I always have a book with me!

Rachel said...

I love your inner voice! Mine tries to sneak in a word or two once in awhile, too. I feel naked without a book nearby!

wisteria said...

I think I would have trouble reading while blow drying my hair. That takes full concentration, both hands, tons of product and an occasional scoot to one of my every loving greyhounds.
Happy reading..oh...I don't have to tell you that.

Susan said...

Loved this post - it all sounds so familiar :) I haven't gotten into audiobooks, since I don't spend that much continuous time in the car and I'm afraid if I have earbuds in I won't be able to hear my kiddos (which, of course, is an excellent reason TO plug my ears, but I'm a little paranoid ...). Anyway, fun post!

Michelle said...

Great post, Alison! I agree with everything you have to say here because I incorporate them all into my own life as well. Some people make time to watch TV or play sports, book lovers make reading books a priority.

Book Sake said...

I agree with you, there are so many opportunities to squeeze in a little reading here and there. (Though I do watch tv, but I tend to squeeze in computer things while watching.)

Molly said...

I also loved this post! It made me realize how much I miss by not listening to audio books. I need to work on that.

Suey said...

Good answer, good answer! :)

Amy @ My Friend Amy said...

I'm not a huge fan of the TV kills brain cells argument, but yay for reading! ;)

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