Saturday, November 6, 2010

Random Musings

People often wonder how I find the time to read as many books as I do. Perhaps some of them assume that I have nothing better to do, or nothing else going on in my life. Well, the first is a value judgement, and no, there isn't too much I love to do better than reading, but the second assumption couldn't be further from the truth.

In fact, I do have a lot of things going on in my life, and I always have, to some extent or another. First, I have a full time job during the week. Second, I'm a homeowner, and I do 90% of my own maintenance and home improvements. I recently installed new vinyl windows in my old house, and I've always got at least a half dozen projects in the queue. This winter, I'll probably remodel my kitchen.

My wife and I both love to travel, so we often take off for the weekend on our motorcycles, or go fishing, camping, off to the mountains or beach with friends and family, and those travel days really cut down on my reading time.

So, the secret isn't that I have a lot more time available to read than anyone else, it's just that reading is a high priority bit of recreation and relaxation for me. It helps that I don't watch TV very often, just a few shows each week, like Big Bang Theory and Jeopardy. Rather than mindlessly channel-surfing, I'll just pick up a book. Also, if I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep right away, I just pick up a book from the nightstand. I read at meals, in the bath, and whenever I need a break from things.

I can't really remember a time in my life when I didn't read. My mother read to me as a child, and taught me to read at a very young age. I think I read The Hobbit, by Tolkien, around age 8. I devoured books all through my growing years. I had to have a special dispensation from the library where I grew up, because children were only allowed to check out six books at a time, and with that limit, I had to return every few days to re-stock. When I was in the seventh grade, my English teacher gave five extra credit points for every book report we turned in. She had to stop me from turning them in after a couple of months, as I'd already maxed out the possible points for the entire semester's class.

There's an apocryphal story going around out there that my best friend and I used to go to the store and just read books from the paperback rack for free. In actuality, it only happened once. I had been buying something in the sporting goods section and he saw a book that looked good on a rack near the checkout line, The Man Who Folded Himself, by David Gerrold, and started reading the first chapter. When I got done in the checkout line, I came over to where he was, and he said, "this is pretty good", so I picked up another copy from the rack and started reading it. About an hour later, we both turned the final page of the book, looked at each other, and said, "That WAS good", put the books back on the rack and walked out of the store. I do own a copy of that book today, so don't worry, the author got paid.

1 comment:

redhead said...

I'm with you, reading is a high priority in my life. kinda up there with sleeping and breathing. it's just something I do.

if i ever get a house or a real job, I'm totally screwed when it comes to finding time to read and blog. I'm not as fast a reader as I used to be, and that makes me sad sometimes. I see other bloggers posting reviews every day of 900 page books. I just can't read that fast.

and I did used to read entire manga at barnes & Noble, then put them back on the shelf. but i don't do that anymore.