Friday, June 22, 2012

why the f*ck friday (8)

Welcome to WTFF. In which I attempt to answer a single question--normally a thought on a book or a bookish subject--that I've been pondering for the past week. This week it's "Why the f*ck aren't you reading?"

This is one of those far reaching questions that we ask ourselves every once and a while. Mine normally pops up during summer. "What are you reading this summer, Adam?" My answer: "Beer bottle labels." 

So why the f*ck haven't I been reading. The truth is that I am reading. I am not one of those people who exclaims "Oh I love reading, I just never have time." That person deserves a-smackin'. I have a passion for books so I find the time.

Between summer activities and overtime at work my days are spent reading Cat Girl's Day Off (ironic title for a guy who's working overtime every day) on my Kindle or on my Kindle app on my phone. I also keep a book at my desk should any of these devices fail on me. So really, there's no excuse for me not to read. It's just that I've slowed down with my reading recently.
This is actually my current cell
phone background.

So if I can't find the time why can't other people? I know a mother who absolutely loves to read but only three books a year. And only if she's seen the movie first. I know a guy who loves to read history books, but knows more about Ancient Aliens than actual history writers. The excuse is always the same: I don't have time.

With apps and physical books there are no excuses. A person can spend 15 minutes in a line at the grocery store (or use one of those stupid self-checkout machines) and get a lot of reading done, or they can stand there and browse Facebook and hit refresh over and over again.

I'm guilty of the Facebook time wasting shit. I go out on a quick break, determine to read, and I get sucked right into Facebook. I check one status. Then another. Then I go back and check again. I have no idea why. It's also obsessive compulsive. The entire time my brain is screaming at me "You could be reading that book on your phone you like..." and I'm ignoring it. 

Of course, reading is not a passive activity. It's mental. It takes focus. Sometimes our focus is less than it should be. I left my keys in my front door last night. I then spilled coffee on my carpet. Then I ate a burrito (half of which has been sitting on my kitchen table for an entire day now). 

Right now I am too tired to read but I have the time. It comes in little spurts. It comes after a midnight burrito or a really intense workout. But it's there. So what the f*ck is your excuse?

That's it for this week's why the f*ck friday. Different opinion? Similar experience? Similar thoughts on this subject? Post it below in the comments. Feel free to berate me, praise me, or buy me some fancy coffee. You can even tell me to f*ck off and then buy me a coffee. I enjoy hearing the bookish and nerdy thoughts of others.


Note: I apologize for things slowing down here. It's summer and I am extremely busy at work. This blog is low down the priorities list, not first, that would just be too stressful. I also apologize if my thoughts aren't coherent in this WTFF. I'm writing it at 5am in the morning after getting four hours of sleep. 

37 comments:

  1. I love this post because it’s so true about reading. How personal it is. How everyone’s reading habits ebb and flow depending on the season of year or life or whatever. That doesn’t make a lifelong reader any less of one if their priorities change for a while.

    I actually tend to read more in the summer, but if I look back in my life there are periods when I read a few books a year and times when I read well over a hundred (like last year). But I the fact that I love to read never changes. And everyone likes doing things besides reading, and if those activities take over for a while, than that’s totally great. I’m sure next week, or when it’s fall or in a year, you’ll start reading as much as you can again. But until then, enjoy whatever it is that you’re doing (though maybe not work, no one likes more of that in the summer).

    Plus, I prefer to read when I have a larger chunk of time than 15 minutes (unless I’m so deep in a book that I read every.second.I.can.). So I’d be checking FB or twitter or reading blogs etc. if that’s all the time I had too. And when my life is stressful? I like to read lighter books – or at least ones with happy endings, where characters defeat the bad guys in the end – this is probably why I like YA so much. Maybe it’s why you’re reading a book about a girl and a cat and what they’re doing on their day off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is that for me, Elizabeth? If so, thanks!

      Delete
    2. For me I am a much more active reader during winter. I always think of it as a time to reflect and stay indoors and read.

      I am finding it impossible to read in smaller spurts. It really stalls the story for me. I can't stand to do it, but it's the only way I'm going to get it done.

      It's taken me almost all week to read Cat Girl's Day Off. I'm only halfway done with it. It's a bit shameful.

      Upvote? I'm sensing a Redditor.

      Delete
    3. I think my preference for reading in warmer weather originated with summer reading programs. But now it’s really about the fact that my favorite place to be in the summer is the beach and my favorite activity to do while there is read. But I read year round these days so it doesn’t matter. I get the whole winter reading thing though.

      Sometimes I go through periods where my life is so stressful or emotionally draining that when I’m not doing scheduled activities, I go into personal survival mode. Then all I can manage is things like excessively checking FB for updates, playing web boggle or hours of watching bathroom makeover shows. I just can’t seem to focus on anything else – including reading. I think these mindless activities are a way for my mind to rest a bit so that I can recharge – that probably makes me an introvert. BUT I always go back to reading eventually. That doesn't mean I don't feel guilty when I'm not reading - why is that?

      Conceptually, I understand the whole reading is like exercising analogy. However, I approach the activities very differently. I have to schedule exercise into my life or I won’t do it. But the idea that I need to read a certain amount of hours each day is a real turnoff for me. I read because I love it. And I know that if I go through a non-reading period, I’ll always go back to it again.

      Delete
  2. Reading is like working out for me. I know I should do it more, I really enjoy it while I am doing it and it really doesn't take up THAT much time of your day... well, not time that matters, anyway (instead of watching TV, or playing Risk for the 9,000th time on my phone... or checking up on random blogs... wait a second...).

    But the truth is, that just like working out or eating healthy, it holds a place in our mind that it is "good for us." Which, ironically, makes it LESS likely that we do it religiously.

    If books were attributed to deadly diseases or a way to die young, I think reading would be associated with edgy behavior, like sky diving. Or snorting bath salts.

    So that's my advice, literary world - make books dangerous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still manage to exercise every morning. I could get an hours more worth of rest or an hours more worth of reading--instead I choose to be physical. I think I get more stress relief from running or punching random objects for a while than I do a book. Books for me are mostly about entertainment, though.

      But reading is exercise, so you're right on that point.

      Delete
  3. Great post - I actually have more time to read in the summer since I am a teacher and (theoretically) have the summer "off," but all I find myself wanting to do is veg out in front of the T. V. and watch Netflix. I am ashamed...hangs head...and thus my blog also suffers. I feel I am in a reading rut - any advice/suggestions on how to get our are greatly appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After the end of a long workday (think ten or eleven hours) all I want to do is sit and watch Netflix. My mind needs to relax, and since reading is active, not passive, I tend to ignore my reaction of "I should be reading right now".

      I too am in a reading rut at the moment. I'm pressed for time and nothing seems to be grabbing my interest. The only thing that has saved me from this before has been taking a break from reading to focus on other things. Once I miss reading, I go back (it takes about a week or two for it to sit in).

      Delete
  4. I think this is a great post and you make a valid point. We as a society tend to make time for other things that seem unimportant but we rarely make time for reading. I'm guilty of this too, sometimes. This week I've been watching a lot of Doctor Who on Netflix when in the back of my mind I know I have two books to finish that are due back at the library this weekend.

    I prefer to read when I have longer chunks of time. On days off the last couple weeks I've been watching the Euro2012 soccer games on tv and reading at the same time. I mostly listen to the commentary and then when the crowd gets loud I figure a goal attempt is imminent so I look up. A lot of the time I'll "go to bed" around 9 or 10 just so I can have an hour or so to read before actually sleeping. Or I'll read at work if it's slow.

    It's kind of a shame that reading doesn't take top priority when you consider how beneficial it is, not to mention entertaining.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh gosh. Don't get me started on TV watching. I've been watching so much more since I started putting in more hours at work. I hate it. I'm just too tired to read, I guess.

      It is a shame. Considering I really push myself to exercise every morning, I feel like I should push myself to try to read more right now, but I can't find the energy for it.

      Delete
  5. I read all the time. I very rarely do anything else. This makes me sound like the smug person from your WTFF a few weeks ago, I guess. But I keep more than one book going at a time, and therefore I have books stashed everywhere. I keep my kindle and phone on me all time so I ALWAYS have at least something to read, and I normally carry books with me too, even when I know I won't have a chance to read - just in the off-chance that something comes up and I have a few extra minutes. That is so nerdy but I'm just being honest. I read in short spurts of time and in huge blocks of time.

    And the other commenters make a point when they say that it is like working out too, if it is important to us we will find time for it. Or at least I will. So I run too, even though I don't always want to. My reward? I read while I run. Nerd? YES. But a running, reading nerd. I have to make time or I won't do it just like everyone else because it doesn't come as easy or fun for me as reading, but absolutely as beneficial. The reading is the perk, I suppose, that goes along with treadmill time.

    Some weeks I read more than others, but I'm always reading. I should note too that I will NOT do other things so that I can make sure that have enough time to read sometimes because it is basically my 'happy place' and a very cheap form of peace and therapy for me. If that makes any sense at all.

    Very good topic, Adam! It's good that you can read through a book slowly when life gets a bit hectic, especially one kind of on the lighter side like Cat Girl's Day Off, which is kind of light and fun and TALKING CATS and stuff. I suspect things would be a little different if you felt like you had to plug away at something more hardcore like Thirteen Reasons Why or something like that. Right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to get in the habit of doing what you're doing. I just lack the attention span to read in short spurts of time.

      Running and reading? I can't do it. I'm afraid I'd die.

      I am starting to pick back up on reading during my breaks at work and the such. Hopefully it becomes a habit again instead of just browsing FB on my phone.

      I need light books like I need a talking cat in my life. I am noticing that The House of the Scorpion (which is one I want to read right now) is a fairly heavy book. I might skip it in favor of something else light and airy. I can't really get bogged down with unhappy themes right now.

      Delete
    2. Running and reading is such a great thing for me, but I do have to be careful. I can't run as fast, but I can run longer. I find myself thinking OK I'LL RUN FOR JUST ONE MORE CHAPTER, but I do that for like five or six or more chapters and pretty soon I've run for like two or more hours. I sleep better, I'm less stressed, hopefully there's the health benefit, and I typically fly through a book.

      ONLY on a treadmill though. NEVER outside. That's for music only. And I can only do it because of the genius that is the Kindle with the left hand click option! It's glorious. You COULD do it if you were a treadmill runner. I never do it in the cold weather because I love running outside in the freezing cold.

      None of this has anything to do with your topic whatsoever. You'll get your reading back on track. Everybody goes through slumps! No big deal.

      Also, I highly recommend stashing something to read everywhere. Car, work, phone, kindle, everywhere. Even if it is just short stories or something.

      Delete
    3. Asheley, One day you're going to be running on your treadmill and reading and you're going to see me through your window WATCHING YOU. Because, seriously I cannot picture it logistically. Okay, that was super creepy sounding. Sorry. (Just to be clear, I would not really do that). But I even find listening to audio books on the treadmill to be potentially hazardous. Once I was laughing so hard at what I was listening to, that I almost fell of the machine. Do you have a kindle touch? I think that is sometimes even difficult to operate when sitting.

      And reading outside when it's cold is crazy talk. Come to New England where it can be 10 degrees in the winter. That will really get you moving outside.

      But YES. My motto in life is always something to read on hand!

      Delete
  6. Ahh, summer is my catch up on reading and TV time. I don't care to watch TV too much during the school year since I L-O-V-E going to bed early. So, my DVR fills up. I do still read during the school year, but it just takes longer to get through a book when I can't just sit and read all day. Darn job! :P

    I currently have a hefty stack of books that I borrowed from the Library, as well as loads that I've bought and haven't read. Library stack first, though! And hell, I need to stop putting books on hold if I ever want to tackle my own personal stack.

    I have been sitting here today with a book in front of me, but I've read only 2 pages. I've had a very spacey kind of day, so Twitter and texting have been more appealing. It happens from time to time. Reading tweets leads to reviews, which leads to Goodreads, which leads to... It's a never-ending cycle!

    Honestly, I think I go through the lack of reading by having too many choices readily available. I really do need to get my stuff caught up so I can just read whenever and whatever floats my boat. I pressure myself with due dates and overwhelming amounts.

    Sorry if this WTFF answer is incoherent. I'm ready for a nap!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hate technology sometimes. It seems like I'd rather be checking Facebook or Twitter instead of reading. Even if I've scrolled through it ten times this morning, I just go right back and do it again.

      I might have too many choices as well. Although, I am keeping to light reading right now. Hopefully my overtime hours will end soon and I can enjoy something hefty.

      Delete
  7. One of the things I've learned at the library is that reading is a much broader activity than we think. We do readers a disservice if we just keep a tally on how many books we read. My youngest brother reads a lot of magazines and one of my uncles and his son listen to books on CD and podcasts (which I consider audio magazine reading). I read approximately 8 billion critical articles for school. I read a lot of blogs and articles on things I find interesting (like this really great article on fancy sandwiches!), so I also think reading on the Internet "counts". But you're right, there are a lot of excuses and a lot of TV watching and that gives you some great clues as to what the person in question really values. And the fact that so many people come up with excuses as to why they don't read books says interesting things about the cultural value of Reading and the cultural value of Reading Books. I kinda think we should lighten up. I think if more people looked at the broader activities of reading instead of narrowly focusing on books (which are wonderful and I'd die without them).

    If I may ascend my soapbox a moment, I've seen this push of Reading Books over Reading in schools as really damaging to kids' ideas of themselves as readers. I dealt with it as a teacher and I see the fall out now as a librarian. I don't know if you're familiar with AR (Accelerated Reader)which assigns points and reading levels to books, and so many teachers stick kids to very narrow ranges that really puts a damper on kids' enthusiasm for books. I'll see these same kids furtively read Nintendo Power or National Geographic Kids or Highlights or Bop magazines and dismiss this as not real reading. So there's that. (Descends soapbox.)

    I guess that while I value, no, treasure books and the time I have with them, I'd like to see us as a culture value time spent with text in whatever form we encounter it. Just because we have a codex doesn't mean that text is more valuable than another form (I'm looking at you Nicholas Sparks, and I'll take my book blogs over you any day!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a great point Debra. We are all readers because of the internet. I tend to read a lot of articles as well, so does my sister, even though she doesn't read actual books. I tend to read a lot of science fiction short stories and the such without considering it reading. It had not crossed my mind that I was doing this until you pointed it out.

      Thank you for this post.

      Delete
    2. I feel I should also confess that I read very quickly, which lets me get a lot of books in (106 last year, despite grad school -- booyah!) AND enables my habit of mainlining crime dramas on DVD. I also watch a LOT of TV that way, though I multitask and crochet or sew while I watch.

      Delete
  8. I've noticed that being a Book Reader (primarily) does set me up with certain expectations, beyond what my job has given me. A woman came in looking for Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, but she couldn't remember the author. I had no trouble finding the book, even though I've never read it. Rebecca is a classic and my mother, also a Book Reader, has been hounding me to read it for years. Rebecca is a Classic (a sticky term on the best of days), so even without my ninja librarian skills, I'd know that book. But the patron was really impressed, like I was a magician or something, and sometimes, to Readers or even Non-Readers, Book Readers can come off as magical fonts of knowledge, and usually, MFoK are intimidating, even if, like me, they are chubby girls with cute smiles and totally non-threatening Calvin and Hobbes buttons on their lanyards. Which is something to think about when you encounter a Reader or Non-Reader in the wild.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debra- You should read Rebecca. That was my favorite book that I had to read in high school.

      Delete
    2. I love that book too! I re-read it recently and it was still good and creepy (and surprising, since I'd forgotten most of the plot).

      Debra, I love your comment on counting all types of reading.

      Delete
    3. Yeah, I probably should read it. I liked My Cousin Rachel well enough, but that sort of gothic lit is not my thing. And I can't let my Mom win this argument, can I? She already beats me at Scrabble more than I'd like. :-D

      Delete
  9. I read in spurts. one week I'll read a book a day and the next couple of weeks I won't read anything but magazines. Then sometimes I have so many different books to read that I don't know which one to pick. And I can't just read a few pages here and a few pages there. I like being able to read big chunks of a book in one sitting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's just soooo many choices, right? It can be overwhelming. It's why some things on my Netflix never get watched: I'm so overwhelmed by everything on it, that I never end up watching what I really want.

      Delete
  10. Everyone assumes I have all this time to read because I'm a librarian. Since I'm back at school my reading time has been cut back, I give myself an hour before bed and there are nights I'm just too tired to read. That being said, I go through periods where I want no contact with the outside world and lock myself away for a weekend and I can knock out 3-5 books.

    ReplyDelete
  11. i totally get this. people seem to think i have a lot of free time for my reading when, hello, i have the same amount of hours in my day as everyone else. it's true that i don't have children but i do have other responsibilities that take up my time, not to mention a life. but i read pretty much every day. even if it's just for 5 minutes, i can't go to sleep until i've read a little bit. people who say they don't have time have the time. they usually just choose to do something else with it, which is fine. it's true that if you love something, you'll make the time for it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Нellο, I want to subscribе for this web site
    tο taκе most up-tο-date
    uρdаtes, therefore where сan i ԁo іt plеase help.


    My homeρagе - payday loans

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your mеans of tellіng all in this paragraph is genuinely gooԁ, all
    cаn ѕimρly undеrstand it, Thаnκs a lot.



    Heгe is my pаge Instant Payday Loans

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...