Deficiency

My Books
by Jenn Calder

I have to admit that I am a terrible reader.  When I was a kid, I read a lot more.  These days, if I get through three or four books a year, that’s sort of a lot.  I’m pretty embarrassed to say so, and it makes me feel guilty on multiple levels.

First, as someone who claims to “write,” reading a lot of words sort of goes hand-in-hand with that activity.  When you are digesting a lot of words off the page, your brain works better when forming your own.  Someone like me, consequently, should probably be reading a lot more.

It also feels like a slight betrayal of the kid I used to be that had loads of books and nearly always carried one around in school.  I don’t think 13-year-old me would have predicted such a precipitous drop in reading.

One of the things that I’ve noticed about myself and reading, relative to others in my social circles, is that I am an EXTREMELY slow reader.  I can’t really explain it.  The way that I read, there is a performance of the material going on my head — different characters have different voices, the settings and conditions are completely fleshed out in my mind’s eye, and I pore over each word very carefully.  I’ve tried to speed myself up at times, but it doesn’t seem to work.  I don’t really know how to read faster.

Another issue that I’ve run into, particularly in the last 5-10 years, is that reading for any length of time seems to work like a sleeping pill on me.  The best chance I have to stay completely conscious while reading is to walk at the same time.  Every now and then, I do just that during lunch breaks at work.  But sit me down in a chair, even in the middle of a sunny day after I’ve had my regular compliment of coffee, and I will doze off within 20 or 30 minutes.  It’s hard to make a lot of progress in a book that way.

Is there some way that I can force myself to at least read more, if not better?  I sure do succomb to distraction easily, so I’d have to severely cut back on other available stimuli in order to make books the most appealing activity at my disposal.  Maybe audiobooks are the answer.  Some people feel like listening to books is not the same thing as reading them, but I figure if you’re absorbing the information, it’s all the same.

How long did it take you to read this?

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