Reading Journal (28 October): Thoughts on Read-a-thons and Eye Strain

I don’t think I’m meant to join a read-a-thon: I’m constantly reminded of everything else I need to do instead!

On Saturday morning, I thought, “I’ll go write some comments on read-a-thon-ers’ blogs.” I started, and even got advice on how to be a good commenter, and then my son got up and I got busy. I think I commented for about 30 minutes.

On Saturday at about noon, I thought “I have some time. I’ll sit and read along with the read-a-thon-ers.” Just after I sat down, I decided to get up and open the blinds so I’d have more natural light. That helped me notice the horribly dusty blinds, so I decided to dust them before I sat down to read.

Needless to say, I didn’t get any reading done. Dusting the blinds led to starting a load of laundry, which lead to cleaning the kitchen, going grocery shopping, and otherwise going on with my Saturday chores.

I’m incredibly impressed with all the reading you were all able to do, and while I still hope to someday join in one of these “read-all-day” events, I’m okay with the fact that I got a lot done this weekend. At some point, I’d just love to let it all go and sit and read, but I do plenty of reading already, so there you go.

I did get Moonstone finished on Friday night. It was a mystery, and I can’t say I loved it: Woman in White is still better in my mind. I’m enjoying North and South but my main problem this week is eye strain (yes, even without the read-a-thon!).

You see, my version of The Moonstone was a cute small-sized volume with incredibly small print (8 point font, probably). Since I read all 550 pages in less than a week, my eyes have been sore. I’ve had headaches for more than a week now.

I went to the eye doctor, who told me that I don’t really need reading glasses: just let my eyes rest and/or read with reading glasses for a week until the headaches go away. He also told me that reading a lot does not ruin eyes. Also, reading in low light does not ruin eyes. Eyes may become strained, but bad eye sight is genetic, not created. So, despite what my husband says, my bedside reading with a small lamp is not making me go blind. (The doctor actually laughed and said, “That’s an old wives’ tale!”)

That’s a relief to me. My fear is the eye doctor will say someday “Sorry, you’ve got to stop reading so much if you want to save your eyesight.” What would I do without my reading? Watch TV? No, thank you. What would I do without being able to see? Audiobooks are nice, but it sure takes a long time to get through one book!

In other books news, I went on a Spice of Life kick in the library and brought home a number of food memoirs and cookbooks. On top of all the other books I have to read (the Victorian novels, my upcoming book club read, the long nonfiction book, and my children’s books project), I’m not sure when I’m going to get to all my food books. I’ve enjoyed going through some of the cookbooks in the past few days looking for interesting recipe ideas. (My husband is getting tired of me cooking the same dinners every week, so my cooking repertoire needs some originality.)

I’ve been reading a lot this month. I think letting myself off the hook in terms of reviewing for the blog has helped me to enjoy my reading more. I still want to get reviews up, but I don’t have to write so much or as frequently. This is supposed to be fun, right?! Lessening my posting schedule certainly does feel more fun. I’m reading.

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A Few Science Book Reviews (The Great Equations by Crease and Two by Gawande)

For those that read this blog regularly, it is probably no surprise that I prefer art, literature, history, and social sciences to mathematics and science.

Before this month began, I hadn’t read any books in the Dewey Decimal 500s category or the 600s category (for the Dewey Decimal Reading Challenge) in all of 2009. I also hadn’t read a single book that could possibly count for the 2009 Science Book Challenge. While I don’t want challenges to always dictate what I read next, I did feel the urge to read something science related: I want to be a balanced reader.

I ended up reading a few books in the past few weeks (and I’m in the middle of another), and to my surprise, I enjoyed most of the books I picked up. Some I loved, others were a struggle to read, but I remain glad I did so. Science books, like the architecture and history and politics books I’ve read in the past months, can be fascinating.

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Reading in Spanish (Neruda’s Poetry and La casa en Mango Street by Cisneros)

Pablo Neruda’s early poetry (specifically, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair) does not have much to do with Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street. Neruda was a Chilean who wrote love poetry (in Spanish) in the early 1900s at the age of 20. Hispanic-American Sandra Cisneros wrote in the 1980s a short volume (in English) of connected short stories about a Hispanic girl in Chicago. But I read both these works in Spanish (the Cisneros in translation) this month, and so the tenuous relationship between them is the language I read them in.Continue Reading

Kids Corner: What Are Your Children Reading? 22 October

Welcome to What Are Your Children Reading?, a weekly meme started by The Well-Read Child. I have the privilege of hosting it this week. If you participate on your blog, leave a link to your post in the comments.

For those who may not know, I have a son who turned two this month. Most of our current reads are therefore not very intellectual. To keep my sanity, though, I keep getting some picture books just for me.Continue Reading