Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Why I Don't Read Enough.

I love to read.

I love to get sucked in, to escape the life that is mine, to momentarily become the character I'm reading about.

I love to study. I love to break apart the sentence, think about the metaphors, absorb new words for my growing collection, and to sharpen my skill as a writer by studying the work of another.

I always read with a pen in my hand - to circle words I don't know, to underline phrases or word choices I love, to highlight a timeless quote, to note something to share with a friend, or to capture a word choice that I can revisit later.

I love it. But I don't do it enough. Why is that?

(You may think that I am about to tell you I just don't have time, with the needs of the kids and our home and all that nonsense. And sometimes, that is true. But I am a firm believer that you should make time for what you love most. Case in point: this blog. I love this place, and I make time to visit almost every single day, even if it's for only a few minutes. This blog is a friend of mine, and I always walk away feeling refreshed... that is the mark of a good friend.)

Here is the real, honest to goodness, hard truth of why I don't read enough: I can't decide which book to read.

I always have about four books in the works, and they each feed a part of me that is insatiably hungry. My current reads usually consist of one of each of the following: a book on spiritual formation, a book on raising kids, a heavy novel, and a lighter piece of fiction.

But when I am faced with the coveted opportunity to sit down with a good book, which is usually in the moments before I fall asleep, here is the process that takes over my mind:

Let's see. Here is my book on spiritual formation. I should read that one. I love that book. It's so good, and it's like a date with God - to sit down and listen to what He wants to tell me about who I am and the person I am becoming. But I'm really sleepy. I really want to lay down while I read, and if I come across something truly life changing, I'll want to write it down, and I won't have my notebook beside me. So, that's not the best one for this moment.


Now, here is this great piece of classic, timeless literature. A rich, deep novel. Oh, I love that one. I feel smarter just by reading it, letting those multisyllabic words wash over me. I love to think when I read; that one makes me think. But, I always have to read with my pen in my hand, so I can circle the unknown words and look them up later. Plus, that book has like 9,000 pages, and I'm sure I won't finish it before the kids are out of elementary school. So, I may as well not try today. That's maybe not the best one for this moment.


Oh, look! The great book on raising kids! I love this one. I love someone who specializes in the field I am working to understand, and this writer is so great. I could really use some practical guidelines to add to my repertoire, even for tomorrow's discipline challenges. But again, I will want to highlight or write something down, and I don't want to take all those materials to bed with me. Not tonight.

Next. (I concede that the following paragraph is the most ridiculous thought process of all.)

Ah, here we go. This sweet little fictional novel, with characters whom I love. This is such an easy read, I fall right in where I left off, and it's such a soothing way to end my day. I'm really going to be sad when I've finished reading this book, when I close the back cover, and I have to put it back on the shelf or return it to the library. Those characters have become my friends, and I might miss them. If I read too fast, they will leave too quickly. I should slow down. This book is too good to finish too soon. That's just not the best one for tonight.


Oh, wait. I'm out of choices. And I'm really sleepy.

And that's when I pick up Parenting magazine, or worse yet, the Eddie Bauer or Lands End catalog. I fill my mind with teeny tiny tidbits or really nothing at all, and finally I fall asleep.

And I start the next day hoping for an opportunity to read.

Because I really love to.

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