Do you remember the old Ed Asner public service commercial? “R.I.F: Reading is Fundamental!” I couldn’t agree more. I love to read. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to read. In elementary school, that was my idea of a good playdate. “Hey, let’s read!” It seemed win-win: hanging out with friends and finishing a good book. Let the good times roll! Yeah, that got shot down pretty consistently. It’s a wonder I had friends at all.
Few people know this, because I usually leave it off of my resume, but I was awarded the title of Spangler Elementary ‘s 7th Grade Super Reader. Oh yes, believe it – truly my fifteen minutes of fame. I think that may well have been the last of my major accomplishments in the scholarly arena. Anyway, I just remember being so determined to win. I mean, if I couldn’t win where the criteria was to lay around and reading page after page of fiction, where exactly could I excel?
That was long ago, though. Now I have to periodically remind myself to pick up a book. Well, aside from cookbooks, which I actually do read cover to cover like a novel. Still, there’s nothing like being caught up in a real page-turner, the kind where you find yourself getting a little bit surly if someone interrupts before you’ve finished the chapter. The flip side of that is being bogged down in a book that’s just not grabbing you. I used to slog along dutifully to the end, but now I’ll abandon midway if need be. I feel like I don’t have time to waste on something that doesn’t interest me, you know? It almost makes me resentful toward the author when I hang on too long, and I’m sure that’s not what they had in mind when they wrote it.
Last year I started keeping a log of completed books to make sure that I was reading enough. “Enough”, of course, is really a subjective term. For me, when I find myself getting a little cranky and restless, sometimes it’s just because I haven’t been reading. Crazy, perhaps, but true. So now I have a record of exactly how much I’ve been reading. “Hmm, something’s bothering me. I feel like I’m forgetting to do something…aha! I’ve only read four books this year! Quick, to the shelves!”
Cheaper than therapy. (Somewhat.)