Monday, December 31, 2012

So Many Books ...

... so little time," says the bookmark I got for Christmas from my parents this year.  So true and so fitting.

I've been a member of for several years now.  The past two years, I have taken part in the reading challenge they offer.  My goal each year was 52 books.  One per week.  In 2011, I read 58.  In 2012 I read almost 62.  Not bad.

Or is it?

I have an ambivalence toward this reading habit of mine.  On one hand, reading is good.  It expands my horizons, it engages my imagination, it keeps my vocabulary in decent shape.  On the other hand, I spend a lot of time reading when I should be being more productive.  I use reading as an escape.  It's a pretty benign escape behavior, to be sure, but I tend to drown myself in it all the same.  I feel like it's not always entirely healthy, my reading, and that makes me nervous.

I have had this discussion more than once with people, my concern for the amount of books I read when things get stressful.  And the side coming at me is generally the same:  "Hey, it could be so much worse.  It could be alcohol, it could be drugs or affairs.  Books are nothing to worry about."  While I see their point, I don't entirely agree.  Yes, it could be worse.  It could be something destructive.  Yes, yes, yes.  But.  That doesn't mean that it can't become obsessive or slightly unhealthy.  That I could be avoiding dealing with things I should be facing.  That some moderation might be called for.

This year, I am setting a different goal.  I really wish I could specify genres in my reading challenge goals.  I can't, so I'll have to leave it to myself to be honest.  My goal is 24 books.  That's it.  Two a month.  And the first one I read HAS to be non-fiction.  (I don't stomach non-fiction too well.  I lose interest about half way through nearly every time.)  I will in general be choosing books written by general authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the like.  I might even do a couple of political books.  But only after I have completed a non-fiction book can I read a novel. 

We'll see if it helps.  It may actually not matter much, because if I happen to get in to grad school this fall, well, any reading goal I set will be thrown out the window and replaced with text books.   And that will begin a whole other set of difficulties ...

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