THE PAGES PROJECT
30 September 2005
I really should read more.
Last night I was engrossed in Tatum O'Neal's autobiography (trust me--you'll never look at Daddy Ryan in quite the same way again! Somehow Love Story will take on a whole new look! You'll want to rent Paper Moon again. Suddenly Joan Crawford looks like a real candidate for Parent of the Year.)
I don't do that enough. Just put everything down and sit and read. I get most of my reading done waiting in offices or at airports, on airplanes or in the car (fortunately I can read in a moving vehicle).
For someone whose passion is book stores, who has single-handedly kept Amazon.com in business ever since she discovered the "one-click" option, and who has books piled absolutely everywhere, I read much too little.
It's not that I'm a slow reader. In fact, I finished the new 650+ page Harry Potter book in a day (I was traveling that day...and by the time I got where I was going, I was so hooked, I sat in the hotel and just read until I finished.)
Curious to find out how much I actually read a year, I started a database last year and discovered that through 2004 I read only 17 books (or 5888 pages). That's barely one a month.
I'm not doing as well this year. By this time last year, I had finished 12 books. As of today I've only read 9--and until O'Neal's book, nothing since I finished "Memoirs of a Geisha" on my trip back from Maryland in July. I really hate to admit that because I really do think of myself as a reader. (Of course, I don't think I've traveled as much this year either.)
My mother reads all the time and I acquired my love of reading from her. (My father, in contrast, only read one book in his life, that I reacall--"Away All Boats," which we teased him about for the rest of his life, the fact that he'd actually read a book.) I lived in the library when I was a kid and when I was home from school, sick, my mother would go off to the library and bring back an armload of books for me. She used to have to shoo me outside on nice days becuase all I wanted to do was curl up on my bed and read. At recess in grammar school, I was the one who climbed up on the roof of a low shed and sat there reading while the others played.
I don't know why sitting here at my computer with the television on, and me half paying attention to it as I transcribe doesn't seem so bad, but going and sitting in a chair with a book makes me feel guilty--like I should be doing the undone dishes, or trying to remove all the crap from the living room, or folding laundry, or scrubbing the bathroom or something.
The dishes are still undone, the crap is still in the living room, the bathroom is still unscrubbed and the laundry is still in a pile, but if I've been here at my desk (mostly) working, somehow that seems OK.
Fortunately, we are about to fly off to Milwaukee to meet some friends. I'll have airplane time and hotel time and more airport time, so I should finish at least one, if not two books. I usually bring a book with me, and end up buying another one at the airport because I've read through the first one too fast.
I generally have several books going at once, partly because sometimes I'm in the mood for a thriller, sometimes for something like the humor of Bill Bryson, sometimes for a good relationship story, and sometimes a biography...and partly because generally the book that I'm most engrossed in isn't where I am so I start another one and get just far enough into it that I become engrossed in it too.
So my constant project is to read more, but so far this year I don't seem to be meeting that goal. Of course, the alternative is that I'm writing a heck of a lot more. I suppose that, at least, is something!
Into the bag for reading this weekend: "Never Have Your
Dog Stuffed" (Alan Alda's autobiography) and "Lamb: the Gospel According to
Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal" (yeah--I'm going to Hell).
PHOTO OF THE DAY
(This is page 272 of David Gerrold's book,
"Jumping Off the Planet,"