Reading Choices

As a kid, I could easily be described as a voracious reader, someone who accidentally incited a note home about reading a book in between words during a spelling test (note: I wasn’t cheating, I was utilizing vital reading time).

As I grew older, I remained this way, though the demands of high school and most recently, college, have managed to pull back my voracity a bit. Essentially, I have since been engaged in what I am sensing may be an eternal struggle between “other things” and “books.”

What I did not expect was that some activities in both “other things” and “books” would fall under the activity of reading. The whole deal only started recently, but I have found myself reading tons of articles over the past few years (it could be noted that this started up when I got a tumblr). This has only increased since I have developed ways to properly save and then post the intriguing articles to my Facebook. I have favorite news sources, preferred topics, and at work last year, they were like my guilty pleasure, as I would give a quick read to an article accidentally glimpsed when checking my email. This is also how I *cough* fell in love with Persephone, but that’s another story.

So when the craziness of Year 1 ended and I got to come home, I momentarily flipped out because I realized that I had not read a single book since summer started – my gosh! This is summer! The beautiful time of books and delight and joy! OF READING! I was not reading! Had I lost my love for the activity? Was my intellect already in a deep spiral of decline, along with my imagination, and critical thinking abilities?

Clearly, I may have overreacted, yet as a lover of the wondrous activity of reading from which I am fairly certain most of my knowledge comes from anyway, I am not ashamed. But I realized that it was books I needed to watch out for, not reading. Because I am reading. I read lots of articles every week, and there are so many already archived in my new favorite app ever (Pocket, just saying with no extra love from the makers) that I know I have been reading. The material has just changed.

However, I do need to make an effort to read books, because as I learned (interestingly, through articles) reading literature gives us special skills. Like, imagination, empathy, and critical thinking skills. You may have heard of the study that proved this; I read it here. So clearly, balance is everything and I am still reading. But I love the magical worlds that spring up inside my head when I read a fiction book. Or the relationship I develop with the author of a nonfiction book. It’s a spell that’s worth taking the time out of my “other things” to have woven again and again.

7 replies on “Reading Choices”

COMPLETELY understand these feelings – so many weekends or evenings I mentally set aside for reading books, get distracted by reading internet articles (whaddup xojane/ buzzfeed/ persephone/ shakesville/themarysue, I could go on) and then berate myself for time not spent reading.
Just a matter of figuring out priorities I guess but man I wish there were more hours in the day.

PS Totally got into trouble multiple times in Grade 4 for hiding a book under my desk and “sneak reading” while the teacher spoke. Also used to read while walking home and took a wrong turn one time, ended up lost and confused, not that it ever stopped me.

Yes, more hours in a day, maybe we could move to a different planet or something…

Oh my gosh, win! Okay, so in 5th, for some weird reason there was a rule that year that after students had finished taking the standardized test, we couldn’t read, which completely robbed those standardized tests of any enjoyment I ever derived from their existence. But by a fluke, my desk was right next to my teacher’s, so she didn’t pay attention to me when she watched us. So I had the book I planned on reading once everyone was done underneath my desk and used my feet to turn the pages. Never caught. It was beautiful. Also, 8th grade, kept reading while Spanish teacher was talking (quote: “But she wasn’t saying anything important!” and my dad understood) and the book was taken away from me and wouldn’t be given back. Sigh. Oh school and reading clashes.

I go through phases where I read a lot of articles, but I find that too much and constant information makes me lose the ability to think things through. I much prefer reading a book – it will also make me think, maybe even about things that the book is not about, but it gives me more time to consider them properly. I really enjoy taking my time.

You know, I know exactly what you mean. I still have issues where I have three windows open and 5+ tabs on each window, typically each tab an article. It gets overwhelming sometimes, but I also think it happens to information lovers, who just like knowing stuff and are super curious. I really think it’s a skill to develop, knowing how to not get overwhelmed by the information. This skill may be called self-control, in which case, no wonder I have issues.

I have also recently fallen in love with Pocket! Between that and Feedly it’s almost all I can do to keep up on fascinating articles. I’m in absolutely the same boat. It is, for me, a question of turning off the computer…it’s hard.

Oh my goodness yes! I love Pocket, but I haven’t heard of Feedly…have you heard of IFTTT? It’s what I use to post to my Facebook, and could use it for a lot of other things really. You make digital account “recipes.” Oh man, such a junkie here, internet being my enabler. I know what you mean, if I don’t close the laptop…that helps I think, being able to make the screen disappear.

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