I posted this photo on Facebook a couple of days ago. It was of the books I read over break. Why did I post it? One, I love pictures, I love taking them, putting different filters on them, seeing if I can get the photo to look like what I visualize. Also, I posted it because a few years ago I began living my true life. Talking about books as much as I actually read them. Owning up to my obsession with everything on the printed page. My theory was, at the time, that if I shared my reading life with my friends – people would associate me with books. I might inspire others to read. I would give them someone to turn to when they needed a title, and so on.
So far it seems to have worked. I get messages all the time from friends I haven’t seen since high school – asking for advice to get their kids to read, asking for book recommendations, etc.
I should say, I don’t put the photo up – or talk about how much I read – to brag. I fully realize that I read more than many of my friends. But I have just as many who blow past me in reading. I will also be the first to admit that I read really fast. If I want to study a book, I have to slow down. Most of the time I’m doing what I call a “quick read”, read every word but at a fast pace and get the story down. If I want deeper thinking about a character, I reread.
So why? Why would I spend all of this time reading these books? I consider it part of my job description. There is just no way for me to recommend books to students if I haven’t read them. And I’ll be honest here, sometimes I get a little tired of the comments that infer I have no life if I read this much. Or teachers that ask why would I bother to read kids books when there are so many great books for adults. One – I don’t teach adults. Two – in my opinion kids books, especially young adult books, trump adult books every time.
As to how do I have a life if I read this much – honestly that’s pretty easy. I do spend time with friends and family. I do actually even have hobbies outside of reading. Fortunately for me, I don’t appear to find reality TV and police dramas as enthralling as the TV executives seem to think all Americans do. As a result, I watch roughly one hour of TV a week. (Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother) That frees up quite a bit of reading time right there. J Add those minutes to the ones I steal in the morning when the dog has awoken me before the sun, the ones when Liam pats my side and takes an hour to go to bed, the ones I stole as I read standing at the counter waiting for the water to boil for dinner, the ones where I sat listening to an audio book en route to get groceries, the ones where I read in the driveway, just to find out who kidnapped the king. Those minutes add up. It is what I tell my students and words that I live by.
Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers.