Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"So... You Read A Lot."

From Lupin via
People (often) say to me: "You read a lot." My answer is always a (somewhat embarrassed) "Well, yes." Why embarrassed, you might ask? I'm not really sure. I guess because (it seems like) such a large percentage of my day is spent doing something that other people claim they "just don't have time for". But is it really such a large percentage of my day? I would say that reading is a huge part of my life, but I would not state that it "takes up" a large part of my life. Rather, I would claim that my life is richer for the reading that I do.

Instead of "taking up" time that other tasks could fill, I look at reading as a necessity -- a part of life that is not so much hobby, but more enrichment. I was one of "those kids" in school. I don't know that I was a nerd so much, but school definitely came easy to me. Like Jean Kwok's character Kim in Girl in Translation, I just "got" school. It was the talent that I had, rather than say dancing or playing basketball or painting. I learned quickly and was able to translate that knowledge onto tests.

I would credit a large part of that high-scoring ability to my love for the written word. Research has shown that children who are read to and who love to read score higher on IQ tests and tests that measure knowledge. Part of that is simple vocabulary. Much is due to background knowledge. Still more is exposure to different kinds of ideas, theories, speech and writing patterns.

I read because I don't know how not to read. It comes as second nature to me. If I am somewhere and find that I have forgotten to bring a book with me, I panic. That has eased somewhat in the last few months, since I always have e-books with me on my iPod touch. But still, there is something about paper books that soothes my soul. Lessens my boredom. Reassures me that I do not have to sit and wait with a void of silence bearing down on me.

Case in point: today I am traveling a few hours from home with some students from my school. We are going to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to let the kids have some fun at Dollywood. This was my take-with-me-on-the-bus pile of books last night:

Your eyes are not deceiving you; there are actually five books in that pile. Some have been on my to-read list for a while; one I just bought; and one is an ARC for June. Five books. For one day. It is, I will admit, a bit excessive. But I finished my current (paper) read last night (Lisa Lutz's Heads You Lose -- review coming next week!), and I wasn't sure what I was in the mood for. So I threw them all in the bag.

Will I ignore the students and lounge around reading books all day? Of course not. But for our bus drive there at 6 a.m.? Most definitely. While waiting in the parking lot for the bus to drop us off? Yep. On our way back as students (most likely) fall asleep? Yes. Before I go to sleep even after a long, hard day playing? You got it. I fill up my "nothing" moments with "something" -- good books. I don't have to "find" time to read. It's already there.


  1. I'm SO like you! I too loved school and it came very easy for me (well, except for math). I loved going each day and when I was sick, had to be forced to stay home. I had the same English teacher throughout high school, who was my favorite, and part of the reason for this was because of the books she recommended to me--some of which still remain favorites.

    If I were going on a road trip like that, I would have a similar stack. You never know what mood will strike you or how quickly you will read. You have to be prepared, just in case. =O)

    Speaking of loving to read, I had an idea for our Tennessee Book Bloggers group. A way for us to interact more often, so to speak. I had the idea for us to have quarterly read alongs that would last 2 to 3 months (depending on book length). These read alongs would be of books by Tennessee authors. Let me know what you think of the idea. I have a poll up over at Goodreads here:

  2. Very nice! BTW, I finally asked my little kiddos I was subbing for why they like or do not like to read. It was...interesting. :)



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