Fun fact: I’ve been keeping a log of every single book I’ve ever read since my freshman year in high school. I don’t know what made me start it, but its equal parts encouraging and disheartening to look back eight friggin’ years later and see how my reading habits have grown and changed. For each entry in my log, I’ve recorded the name of the book, the author, the date I finished it, and whether or not it was required school reading. After some rigorous statistical analysis (ahem, very slow counting) here is what I’ve learned about my bibliophilic patterns:
- Since I began college, I have only managed to read about a third the number of books I powered through in high school. Let’s attribute this in large part to the complexity of the reading material and in small part to how time-consuming having to do adult things like work at a job and write thesis papers can be.
- Without any effort or even awareness of it on my part, I have read on average 15-16 books each year since 2007. At first I was startled by how low that number is. But then I started to think about it. That’s more than one book per month. Since May, there has been no outside motivation to read (like schoolwork, I zipped through four novels on the Gilded Age for a class back in the spring and LOVED every second of it) other than for my own pleasure and interests. And finally, since I was technically studying digital media, one might argue that my education was in direct contrast to the Old World-y academia that idolized the musty, ancient tomes that I hear used to fill library shelves.
- Because I love consumerism in all its forms, I LOVE to buy books, because once it’s MINE I can bend and break the binding and fold the pages and write notes in the damn things however I please. (Seriously, I would destroy a Kindle.) This used to terrify me when I borrowed books from friends who don’t like to treat books like an abused lover, and I remember on more than one occasion forcing myself to put the book on a table in front of me and training myself not to touch them unless I had to turn the page. Anyway, my love of buying shit means I also buy a lot of books, leaving me with a shelf full of beauties I haven’t read and an eternally growing reading list. For example, I’m partially through Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and On Photography and I have already read Brave New World, but the rest of the books in that pile I’ve yet to experience, and those aren’t the only ones I have laying around that haven’t been cracked.
- I’m not sure why any of this is important, and I was just trying to explain to my sister, Jen, why I was reflecting on this and couldn’t come up with a good reason other than this one: Now that I no longer have school tying up my brain, and that whole job situation is in transition, this is the perfect time for me to focus on reading “accomplishment books” – those books I’ve always wanted to read but felt daunted by for a lack of time and motivation, those books that are important for us as adults to read and learn things about LIFE, and those books that just seemed out of my league when I was fifteen and had braces and still thought Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 was the height of intellectual angst. (Don’t judge me.)
The moral of the story, ladies and gents, is that reading is good. We like reading. Reading shouldn’t die because you all are too lazy to spend four hours in a story you could watch the movie version of in half the time. (Like Salem Falls, my new favorite Lifetime movie I’ll never read the Jodi Picoult book version of because it doesn’t star James Van Der Beek.) Therefore, my children, GO FORTH AND READ.