Monday, April 25, 2016
Reading For Enjoyment
My "reading life" motto is that life is hard enough, so reading should add enjoyment, not angst. Perhaps this idea limits my choices, eliminating some very good books, but I am OK with that consequence.
I spent the last eight years reading aloud to my kids every day for hours. I totally enjoyed those books, and I was pushed to read books that I would not normally read, think orphan goes through hardship in a historical setting.
Now that I am not reading to them, I have been able to find my own books again. It took awhile. For the first few months of this school year, I did not have the desire to read. I was read-out. But since January, I have read 18 books! I am on a reading binge. I just needed a little help to get restarted.
Anne Bogel of The Modern Mrs. Darcy blog's What to Read Next podcast helped me by exposing me to the books that others are enjoying and not enjoying. I can say that with my narrow reading focus I do not often find books that I "must read" after listening to a podcast, but I learn little insights as to why the guests are reading the books they are reading. This helps me to define what I enjoy in a book. I have discovered that I really do not like modern fiction. And that is OK.
I also started using Goodreads. (Look me up if you are using it as well.) I like reading the book reviews. I like keeping track of what I am reading and what I want to read one day. I like to see what other friends are reading. At the moment, I have 55 books on my want to read list. That is going to take me awhile!
Another great way to "read" while working is by listening to books online. I totally love Librivox for this purpose. I can listen to a chapter while I clean up the kitchen, another while I iron, and yet another when I dust the house or fold clothes. The books on Librivox are public domain. They are read by volunteers. Since I am a fan of old books, this avenue is seemingly unlimited! And free.
Finally, what drove me to start reading again was the basic desire to survive winter blahs. I love to choose one author and dive deeper into their collections. One year I read everything I could find of Gene Stratton Porter. Another year it was Louisa May Alcott. This year it was little known Barbara Pym. I have bought 9 of her books this winter! I usually try not to buy books, but my library system did not have very many of hers, so I found them used on Amazon for pennies plus shipping.
Barbara Pym is not for everyone. She writes about seemingly dull people with the Brittish dry sense of humor who live quaint lives navigating typical life situations. Yet, how I needed her wit this winter! If you read many of her books, they become a little predictable but still fun.
I have always loved to read. I hope that will never change. I am so thankful that there are so many good books to choose from and that it doesn't have to cost very much.