Suey at It’s All About Books mentioned a friend who said “I don’t have the luxury to read” and this got me thinking. People are always saying to me, “I don’t have time to read.” I have to argue they don’t choose to read.
Reading is a luxury in some ways. But saying “I don’t have the luxury” is really saying “I have better things to do,” and that means “I’d rather do something else.” It’s a choice. And I want to tell all those people “Please don’t blame me for choosing differently from you! I’d rather read.”
I personally don’t think reading is a necessity. I can physically exist without reading, although my mind might be very bored sometimes. But I love the mental energy that goes toward reading! Instead of being a luxury or a necessity, I think reading is a priority. People who say “I don’t have that luxury” really just don’t want it enough, I think.
Everyone has time to read if they wanted to. I read while eating breakfast. I read while combing and drying my hair. I read instead of watching television (we don’t have it). I read by listening to an audiobook while driving and cooking dinner and sweeping the floor. I read for a few minutes in the late hours of the night before the lights are turned off. I read because I want to.
Where or when do you choose to read?
I don’t read at all those times every day. I, too, enjoy emptying my mind sometimes as I go through routines. I try to have space for personal meditation every day. But lots of times I choose to read because I love it.
Everyone and anyone could read every single day if they really wanted to. Most people just don’t care that much. They don’t want to read whenever they get the chance; they choose something else.
And that’s okay if you do. I just ask that you don’t blame it on your lack of “time” or your inability to indulge in “luxury.” It’s your choice! You have been choosing different luxuries.
It’s true I read a lot. I won’t argue or try to convince you otherwise. It astounds me too! But I want to make it clear that I read a lot because I choose too. I know I won’t always read as much as I read now, as my son is still at an age where I get breaks and he lets me indulge. But I know I will always read, at every stage of motherhood and at every stage of his life and of my life. I choose to do so.
In addition to the books finished below, I also watched Becoming Jane this week, which counts for the Everything Austen Challenge. I liked it, knowing full well the entire premise was invented. I’m sure Jane Austen would roll in her grave knowing the speculation necessary to create it: there was never proof she had a relationship with Tom Lefroy, let alone almost marry him! Ah well, it was a fun story to watch as long as I remembered that it was entirely a fiction.
I enjoyed the three books I finished this week. I’ve decided I need to keep modern fiction in my regular reading schedule, because it is so fun to indulge in. See my notes by each book.
Finished or Abandoned Since Last Wednesday
- Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer (425 pages; fiction). ABANDONED. I decided not to read this.
- The Complete English Poems of John Donne (510 pages; poetry). ABANDONED. I’ve decided to find a different volume of Donne’s poetry. This one is too much.
- The John Cheever Audio Collection (audiobook, on 6 discs, about 6 ½ hours; fiction/short stories). FINISHED!
- The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King (350 pages; fiction). FINISHED!
- Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (425 pages; YA fiction/science fiction). FINISHED! My first foray into YA fiction in about a decade. Wow, now I want to read the next in the series. ASAP. This was also new library loot this week.
- Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (160 pages; children’s fiction) FINISHED! I still love this book! My son liked it too, I think. But then, he likes the movie and associates the book with the movie, so which one does he like best? As I was reading the last chapter, he said “bye-bye” to Pooh. It was cute.
I’ve included my thoughts about these current reads below.
- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (librivox.org audiobook, on 5 of 38 segments, 25.5 hours total; fiction) My current audiobook; so far, the Librivox readers did an excellent job with this one! As in, it seems professionally done.
- The Stories of John Cheever (12 of 61 stories, 820 pages; fiction/short stories). I liked listening to Cheever’s short stories so I think I’ll keep reading a few every week. Also, part of my Pulitzer Challenge.
- Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (240 pages; fiction). Newly arrived from Bookmooch; for The Spice of Life Challenge. Not yet begun.
Old Library Loot
- Twenty Years at Hull-House by Jane Addams (112 read of 290 pages; nonfiction). I’ve never read a book like this before, and I love the new perspective.
- The Doors by Margaret Atwood (120 pages, plus audio disc; poetry). For the Martel-Harper Challenge. Not yet begun.
- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (345 pages; YA fiction). My “romance” selection for my library summer reading program. Not yet begun.
- The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (375 pages; fiction). One “fantasy” selection for my library summer reading program. Even though I already read Uglies, I may still read this, we’ll see. Not yet begun.
- TAGALOG: A Complete Course for Beginners by Living Language (on 1 of 15 lessons, audio and booklet; nonfiction/languages). I’ve listened to the first lesson a few times. This is going to be hard. My husband is fluent, but even with that, how will I ever learn a language that no one else around me speaks? I’m not sure this is going to work very well.
New Library Loot
I got a few new books this week.
- The Arabian Nights II, translated by Husain Haddawy (270 pages; fiction). I finished the other volume and I feel like I missed something; this volume has the traditional stories I missed. Not yet begun.
- The Autobiography of an Idea by Louis H. Sullivan (320 pages; nonfiction). This book is a bit denser than I anticipated. I’ve flipped through it, but not yet begun.
- The Chicago School of Architecture: A History of Commercial and Public Building in the Chicago Area, 1875-1925 by Carl W. Condit (220 pages; nonfiction). This may be more approachable than Sullivan’s autobiography, plus it has pictures. I’ve flipped through it, but not yet begun.
- Abraham Lincoln: A Man of Faith and Courage by Joe Wheeler (280 pages; nonfiction/biography). I got this book because a friend at my IRL book club loved the interesting perspective on Lincoln that Wheeler provides. From the introduction and first few pages, it seems to be a collection of stories from Lincoln’s life rather than a biography, and it focuses on Lincoln’s religious beliefs throughout his life. It’s an Interlibrary Loan book, so I have to read it fast!
There are lots of new things going on this week, the main one being Book Blogger’s Appreciation Week, which at this point is like voting for fifty different homecoming kings/queens: there are lots of subcategories for awards, so go and vote for your favorites here. BBAW, which is in September, will also have tons of prizes. Now that I’m reading some modern fiction, I may actually find some award that interests me! I’m eager to be involved.
- Book Blogger’s Appreciation Week
- Bibliocentric fiction at Library Journal, mentioned by So Many Books.
- Ads on blogs? What do you think? asks Farm Lane Books.
- Guy books versus girl books? asks Lezlie at Books ‘N Border Collies.
- Is reading a luxury or a necessity? asks It’s All About Books.
- Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child. Raych’s review at books I done read is all praise.
- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Heather at Age 30+ calls this one of her favorites. It’s on my children’s literature project list but I have been putting it off. Why?
- If Not, Winter by Sappho (trans. Anne Carlson). Mostly white space, Jason at 5-Squared says it’s powerful to see just how little of this poet’s poems have survived.
- Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. Jenny at Shelf Love reviewed this just after I’d added it to my list.
- 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. Nymeth at things mean a lot loved this little volume. I’ve been meaning to read it!
Also, see the Chicago books I want to read.
Have you read any of these books? What are you reading this week?