This is the Reader's Life

As I watch these "Books I Completed in 2010" posts trickle through my Google Reader, I find myself questioning my dedication to reading. Some have neared 300 books in just 12 short months. Me? I haven't counted for the year, but besides A Christmas Carol, which I talked about in my post yesterday (and promise to talk about more in the near future), I haven't finished a reading a book since I got back from my honeymoon and insisted on completing Moonlight Mile to the exclusion of all else. I have completed a few audiobooks, which I've taken to listening to on my nearly 1-hr commute to and from work each day, but as much as I enjoy them, it is not the same as curling up with a good, old-fashioned book. I'd make the same argument against e-books, for the record.

I have no intentions of turning this homage to a reader's life into a rant against books in alternate formats. I'm all for choice and fitting in your reading with your lifestyle - which is actually exactly to my point. Because I find myself earning for a lifestyle that would allow for solid blocks of reading time, the ability to complete a chapter in one sitting, the focus to read a book cover-to-cover in one weekend - or better yet, one day.

Such a lifestyle eludes me. I work 40+ hours a week, commute for 10+ hours a week, have a husband, a cat, a house that need my attention, a family with whom I enjoy spending time, and a host of thank-you notes to write (still) and Christmas cards to send (ok, I finished those), and laundry to fold (always), etc. I try to cook from time to time, and occasionally I'll even work out (if WiiFit counts?). And let's not forget that I have blogs to read and blogs to write.

This is not a complaint, however, because in spite of all the things that tear me away from my precious home library, I still identify myself as a "reader." Ask me what I do and I will tell you I work in advertising. Ask me what I like to do and I will tell you I like to read. I like to think about reading, talk about reading, and tell others about what I am reading (in case you didn't guess from the mere existence of this blog). When I'm not reading, for whatever reason, I am doing my best to plan my next few pages. Because even if that's all I can fit into a given day, or week, or even month, that is where I find myself happiest, alone, and connected.

And so, despite my pitiful list of books completed since early November, and my incredible stunted list of books read in 2010 as compared to those behemoth lists of other bloggers', and regardless of the fact that I have resigned myself to never completing the 1001 books to read before you die, I am still a reader. This is the reader's life.


  1. I love this idea of and conscious commitment to a "reading life." Certainly the kind of life we lead is as much about how you define it as it is about how much time we devote to it. Personally, I only read 44 books this year (and I didn't even get married and move!) I think it's more significant that you give yourself whatever reading life you can work into your actual life.

  2. Rachel - Glad you agree. I think 44 is even more than I did. Just got to squeeze them in where I can!

  3. I agree with Rachel, reading is not a contest - so enjoy what your reading and don't worry about how many books you have read in a year. I have never kept count. My secret for sneaking in extra reading minutes is that I take books into the bathroom with me and read there - even if it is for just a few minutes, they are a precious and enjoyable few.

  4. I'm amazed at the number of books some people read. My book club think ourselves fortunate if we can get through a book every six weeks.

  5. I don't think either "number" or "quality" of books is what defines a reader. I too have found that this year (due to changing circumstances) I have read far less than many others, but it's my approach to reading and my approach to books that makes me a reader. The same for you. If you look at books a certain way (and at your relationship with the characters, the writing, the authors, etc.) and feel that you're a reader - then yes, you're a reader.

  6. "I am still a reader. This is the reader's life." Amen to that. Being a reader isn't defined by how many hours a day you spend reading. There aren't book or page requirements. As much fun as I have counting how many books I've read, that's not the most important part for me. Just the simple act of reading is important enough.

    Love this post! :)

  7. Elisabeth - I love it! I might have to start doing that...

    Ann - Sometimes I feel the same way. Sometimes, though, I'll power through a book every few days. Depends on the week (and the book!) I suppose.

    Bibliobio - I like thinking about it in terms of our relationship with a book, and the characters, writing, author, etc. Well put.

    Emily - Glad you liked it!

  8. Every reader is different, from the types of books we read to the numbers of books we read. Diversity is GOOD, and it's the reading and the attitude that counts, not the numbers.


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