Sunday, September 18, 2011

pleasure reading

The main thing I remember from my summers growing up is going to the library and checking out huge stacks of books. I have always loved reading. That love was one of my main motivations for becoming an English major in college, and I spent 6 straight years studying the subject. This had an unfortunate consequence: I basically stopped reading for fun. Not entirely, I did find some time for pleasure reading, particularly on breaks, but most of the time, when I finally finished all the assigned reading I had to do for my classes, the last thing I wanted to do was pick up yet another book. 

So when I, a book lover whose professed favorite hobby was reading, finally finished school, I discovered that I had not in fact read much of my own choosing since I was about 18. 

The absolute best thing about not being in school anymore has been being able to read whatever I want, whenever I want. If I start a book and don't like it, I don't have to finish it. I can read books from all different  genres and for all different age groups and reread my favorites as often as I want. Just for fun, I decided to keep track of how many books I read this year. So far in 2011, I have finished 57 books. I wouldn't be surprised if that was twice as many as I read for fun in all of undergrad and grad school combined. Now, that 57 does include some rereads of children's books like The Westing Game and the Little House books, but there is a much broader spectrum than that, including everything from The Lord of the Rings to Wuthering Heights to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (that's right, it even includes some (gasp) non-fiction), and in any case I'm pretty sure that the last time I read 57 books for fun in 9 months, two-thirds of them were from The Baby-Sitters Club

By far my favorite new book I've read this year is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Others I have really loved include 84, Charing Cross Road, The Glass Castle, The Hand That First Held Mine (though I don't know if I would have liked it quite so much had I not just had a baby myself), and The Year of Living Biblically. Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project has probably had the greatest effect on me and been the one I've thought the most about. I reread Harry Potter once again and was happy as a clam doing so (happier, probably). I'm currently reading Angela's Ashes, and A Tale of Two Cities is next on the list. [Somehow, despite having been an English major with a British Literature concentration and having taken 4 classes dealing with the Victorian period, the one and only Dickens book I was ever assigned to read was A Christmas Carol. I intend to fix that.] 

I love finding new books to enjoy. I love rereading, reliving, and discovering new things in the ones I love best. I love that no one is telling me what to read anymore, and I love that I don't have to try and find potential paper topics in the books I do read. I love that places as amazing as libraries exist. Most of all, I just really, really love books.

1 comment:

  1. (by Annie's mom)

    Enjoyed your comments here about reading, and enjoyed finding out more about your reasons for the things you explained.