Sunday, January 4, 2009

Thinking about Reading Habits

I've just read Michelle Slatalla's New York Times article about reading habits that really resonated with me. In the article, a mother observes the reading habits of her daughters during the recent holiday break. She envies her daughters' abilities to lose themselves in a book.

I agree. I miss the reading habits of my younger self. Of course, when I was younger, I was usually reading as an act of desperation. I couldn't stand high school, and reading took me away. We didn't have cable TV or a VCR, and since it was the 1970's and early 1980's, we didn't have Internet access. Books provided the only escape I had from the boredom that often came with life in a safe, suburban neighborhood.

Now that I'm older, I'm reading more, but less of the material comes in book form. I read several newspapers a day online, but am I really increasing my knowledge? In a broad sense, yes. In a deep sense, I'm not so sure.

My restlessness has led me to a reading resolution for 2009, and so far, it's working. It's like taking any kind of public pledge: I'm more likely to accomplish what I've said I would do, if I'm being held accountable. It's that kind of dynamic that makes me think about going back to school: nothing makes me buckle down more than the fear of an F on my permanent record.

But for now, let me focus on my reading list. Let me prove to myself that I can have an administrative job that requires 40 hours a week in the office and still be able to be a reader.

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