Obsessions and diversions

I have a problem.

I crave it. I need it. I find myself twitchy if I don't get to spend some serious time doing it every day. Whenever a quiet moment arrives, I seek it out. I hide how much I do it. I know where all my favorite things are stashed. I think carefully about which one I chose. I lust for just a moment with my beloved and fantasize about sinking into a pillow, sighing with relief that my time with it is finally here.

I am, of course, talking about reading.

I cannot seem to get enough of reading. I want to do it all the time. I get very cranky, twitchy even, if a day goes by and I haven't had enough time to read. I have been known to get particularly pissy when interrupted while reading something really interesting when I'm almost finished.

(One might even say I am an avid and voracious reader.) (That was for Swistle.)

I like to think of this vice as more than socially acceptable, why it's LAUDABLE! It can only be a good thing that I read every spare second, often ignoring my children's requests for attention because I NEED to find out what happens to our poor Katniss! It's okay with me that they will remember me as Mom-who-always-had-her-nose-in-a-book/New Yorker/newspaper because haven't we all have heard that seeing parents read is the key to making our children geniuses (or something like that)?

I also like to think that my reading habit is preferable to watching television. After all, escaping into the blue-lighted oblivion of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge and its ilk has always been a sure sign that I am headed to a full-blown depression. Too much TV leaves me feeling slack-jawed, restless and in desperate need of both a shower and a long walk. Reading, on the other hand, brings me real knowledge, relaxation and contentment.

When I'm being honest, I must admit that I escape into reading in much the same way that I have, on occasion, escaped into TV. I long to dive into someone else's reality; now, I just choose to find that escape through the written word rather than the flickering screen. I still cling to the belief that reading is essentially beneficial and when so much of my SAHM day can feel like mindless drudgery, I yearn for the mental stimulation most reading brings. I feel, frankly, that it is my DUE.

CG, that rational spoilsport, disagrees with me, though. He feels the breakfast table should be free of reading materials to better facilitate face-to-face communication (pffft, whatever that is) and finds it off-putting that the first thing I want to do after putting the girls to bed is read. He claims QUESTIONABLE instances of me not hearing the kids ask me something of vital importance. (You want more milk? WHATEVER. I'm reading the NYT Modern Love column.) He expresses grave concerns about how much time is lost that could be used finding real-live, live-in-Virginia type friends because I am so often engrossed in the written lives of computer-based friendships.

(But you're my real friends, too! You are!)

I do understand his point of view and so I am struggling to let go of my newspaper-at-the-table breakfast. And I'm trying to set aside specific blog reading time and leave all books and magazines in the bedroom to be reserved for quiet time and bedtime.

In exchange, though, I think he should have to turn off his iPhone at the table.



Marie Green said...

Oh, man, I'm so with you on this. We should really keep each other appraised of what we're reading... I read basically only upon recommendation, so I love to know what my friends (and yep, I consider you a "real" friend) are loving. (Right now I'm reading "Secrets of Eden" by Chris Bohjalian, next I'm reading "La Lecuna" by Barbara Kingsolver, and then Wally Lamb's "Wishin' and Hopin'" for book club.)

I too think of Swistle every time I hear "avid" or "voracious" too. ;)

Hillary said...

Pffft to CG. : )

My standard rule is that Momma is not to be bothered while drinking coffee in the morning. Period. That's time with my books. And if I can sneak in other time, I'll do it. It's good to model reading for them!

Also, I second Marie Green's thoughts. I'm reading "Abigail Adams," the most recent biography right now.

EllenAC6 said...

My mom always, and always did have her nose in a book, a New Yorker, or a magazine. She keeps index cards on each thing she reads, in a file box. She is a serious, hard core READER. I turned out ok, despite her having to share with me Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi when I was 8. Well, I may be somewhat flawed. But, I love to read. My daughter loves to read. I think it is a triumph!

Michelle said...

I so agree with you, although this reminds me that I have nothing to read at home right now as I finished The Red Tent (for the third time) last night.
The husband does not understand my need to have a book every free second or why sometimes they make me cry (like I did last night.)

Swistle said...

Oh, I do think avid/voracious readers are a different breed than, say, avid/voracious soap opera watchers NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH WATCHING SOAPS HEAVENS NO. But a common character in books is the mother who fondly neglects her children because she's always reading, and I never feel appalled by that. And furthermore I suspect the children grow up to tell such anecdotes with pride as well as exasperation. "Oh you know MOM, always reading. Remember the time I said 'I'm going out to get drunk and sleep with my boyfriend' and she said 'Okay dear see you later'?" *fond laughter*

GratefulTwinMom said...

I have this exact same problem. I am reading all. the. time. For work, for pleasure. Can't get enough of it. I feel like I am forgetting something if I leave the house without something to read. I usually have about 2 or 3 books going at the same time. Consequently, it takes a long time to finish a book.

I concur that reading at breakfast and with coffee is one of life's greatest pleasures. Right now I'm reading "What the Best College Teachers Do," by Ken Bain and "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

I love hearing what you all are reading. You can see the list of books I've read this year on the bottom right over there ---->

Right now, I'm reading "Love and Anger: The Parental Dilemma" and "The Forgotten Garden".

Barb :) said...

I totally agree with you - I feel lost if I am not in the middle of a book....I can't leave the house without a book or magazine. I have even started to carry one for DH, since he doesn't do it himself :) However, the introduction of lil one in our lives sure has brought reading to a standstill....hopefully I can get back to reading more soon. Looking forward to the time that DH, lil one and I are sitting on the couch together, all reading our own books....am I dreaming?!?!

Aging Mommy said...

I love books and reading too - I gave up completely on watching TV earlier this year and do not miss it one bit. But it is still a struggle to find time to read books, blog posts and more as much as I would like.

Visiting after reading about your blog on Lynn's post yesterday.

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