It's Valentine's Day...I should probably be talking about that, about love or something...maybe link you to my review of A Lover's Dictionary. But I've never really been a fan of Valentine's Day: it's pretty high up there on the Hallmark Holiday list, and that bugs me. So I'm going to talk about what I want to instead--a normal day of reading.
I swear it was just a few short weeks ago that I was thinking how nice it was to read a single book at a time (or as close to it as is feasible) and now I've gone and sunk myself in the exact opposite situation. True, there are very many books that I want to be reading right. now. True, I'm afraid some of them will end up on my perma-shelf if I don't read them right. now. Also true: I'm not finishing any books because I'm simply reading too many right now.
Why is it that as soon as I say that I'm going to aim to read books in a more singular fashion I pile them on all the thicker? Here's my typical day in reading right now:
1. In the midst of all my other personal challenges, I have made reading through the bible a top priority, partly because I have never read through the whole thing--I get bored in the middle of all the rules and rituals and I quit. So first thing in the morning is 25 pages (out of 1600) of the Reese Chronological Bible. The chronological part is a lot of fun, the King James Version, not so much. I'm a quarter through, so at this pace, I have 48 days left. It's a heavy daily dose, but it's getting me through it so much quicker.
2. and 3. Next, if I'm lucky, I fit in my Daily Lit installments before starting the day. So a smidge of Our Mutual Friend and a bit of Daniel Deronda.
4. Then kids are up, and school must begin. I'm homeschooling three of them this year, and the first thing we do is read poetry and some junior fiction. I don't count the kids poetry as my reading, but I do count the junior fiction I read aloud (simply because much of it is quality reading, and I'm spending 30-45 minutes a day reading it--what's not to count?) Right now I'm reading aloud Misty of Chincoteague.
5. and 6. During the school day I don't get much of anything done, including reading. There is way too much entailed in teaching three children academics as well as all the normal momma stuff. At the least, though, I'll be able to fit in a couple of poems in between helping with math and spelling etc. The current volumes are Leavings by Wendell Berry and If There is Something to Desire by Vera Pavlova.
7. and 8. If I'm lucky enough to be able to grab a couple of free minutes in the afternoon, I'm likely to do some compulsory reading, which right now means an ARC (currently A Kidnapping in Milan) or read-along book (currently Villette) but soon will need to be a book club book....the meeting date for Everything is Illuminated is getting closer and closer).
9. Evenings are crazy, filled with errands, exercise, chores, and dinner. At the tail end of this crazy hour is putting my girls to bed, which means more reading aloud. My 10-year-old daughter is loving Jessica Day George's Dragon Slippers series, so we are now on the third in the trilogy, Dragon Spear.
10. or 11. Finally, at night time, I'll get a chance to crack open one of the books that I'm wanting to read. It may be fiction (right now, Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier) or nonfiction (right now, At Home by Bill Bryson) but these are the books that I'm reading because I want to, not due to any obligation or challenge--this is simply down time.
12. And that's not it...as my eyes are involuntarily closing at the end of the day, they alight on a forlorn book on my nightstand: the collection of short stories: The Troll Garden. Oh, right, I want to be reading those too. Hmm, maybe tomorrow.
Looking at my day laid out, I can see where the main craziness is. It's having TWO Daily Lit installments, TWO volumes of poetry, TWO books I view as compulsory, TWO books I'm reading for fun, in addition to speed reading the whole entire bible and having a collection of short stories on the side. It's a little ridiculous. I need to focus on a couple of these books and whittle down the number I'm reading all at once to a manageable number. Wish me luck. :)