Monday, February 14, 2011

It Is Too Much! (A Day in the Life...)

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.
The Reese Chronological Bible

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
Our Mutual Friend (Everyman's Library)Daniel Deronda (Modern Library Classics)

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.
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.
Leavings: PoemsIf There is Something to Desire: One Hundred Poems

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).
A Kidnapping in Milan: The CIA on TrialVillette (Everyman's Library (Cloth))

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.
Dragon Spear (Dragon Slippers)

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.
Remarkable Creatures: A NovelAt Home: A Short History of Private Life

12. And that's not 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.
The Troll Garden and Others

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.  :)


  1. Wow - I am exhausted just reading about your reading! I would find it hard to keep everything straight and not have books blend into one another. Best of luck in bringing it down to a manageable number. I am a new blogger and have a "Book Blogger Round-up" where I post links to interesting tidbits from other blogs. This post will go there.

  2. Wow, that's one heck of a day! The cover of If There is Something to Desire is remarkable. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on that. Happy V-Day :)

  3. So much to read and so little time and such a very fine balance - yes? And oh my, don't forget all those fantastic book blogs that seem to grab my time! I enjoy your blog very much and it is because of your openness and honesty about your daily literary challenges. Thanks, Melody. Belle

  4. Having been there myself, this post actually made me laugh. Why do we take on SO much? I think you're onto something cutting back DailyLit, compulsory, etc. to one book each. Good luck...

  5. Do you sleep?? :) So many books, so little time.

  6. Josh's mom, thank you for adding me to your Book Blogger Round-up! I found a lot of interesting links there, and I've added you to my Google Reader. I can keep all the stories straight, (surprisingly,) I'm just not as hooked on each one (unfortunately.)

    Teacher/Learner, there have been some good poems in that one. They are all pretty short poems, which is right up my alley. :) The cover text is actually one of the poems in the book.

    Belle, Oh, the book blogs! I know I didn't even mention those. I love reading what everyone else is doing, reading, thinking. And as far as the balance goes, I keep thinking that by this point I'd have the whole gig figured out, obv. not!

    JoAnn, thanks for wishing me luck :) I find myself staring at my stack of books trying to decide which one to focus on first to get it off my list instead of actually reading them and moving on...what did I get myself into??

    Heidi--I know, right? Looking at this list I don't know how I'm doing anything else! I'm glad I have you guys to sympathize with me, my friends/family just raise their eyebrows and shake their heads. :)

  7. Wow, Melody! I know how you feel though.. last fall I was all about one book at a time and now I am reading four (not as many as you). How did that happen?! I get the feeling of wanting to read everything NOW though. While looking at your books, you have a heavy dose of classics don't you? Not that the Bible is Classic Lit, per say but the language is classic. Then you have your daily lit and Villette. I imagine all of these things make for a heavy day of reading. Not to mention teaching and mothering on top of it. My goodness, I'm just tired thinking about it! ;) Good luck!

  8. I justify it because the poetry, bible, and books I read to the kids don't take up mental memory space so much...but they do take up reading time. And the short stories I'm neglecting more than I'm reading. And the Daily Lit and Villette are on a nice scheduled pace. So it's really like I'm only reading 3 books, right? Yeah, maybe my problem is that I'm too good at justifying and dismissing my problems. :D

  9. Wow you have a really full day!! Great to hear about to home-schooling, I so admire mums that do that. Can't believe you manage to fit in so much reading, i really admire that.

  10. I've loved having my kiddos home with me the last couple of years, although I never would have imagined I'd be home-schooling and enjoying it! The funny thing is, I don't feel like I spend a lot of time reading...maybe I only consider my pleasure reading real reading?

  11. Dang! You surely qualify for a gold medal in reading variety! I thought i was doing well with 3 books; 1 fiction and 1 non fiction at home and an audio book in the car. sounds like your kids have a great reading example!

  12. Sometimes I feel like I only qualify for the loony bin! Since I posted I've managed to finish 2 of the books, which feels great, and yet I'm fighting the urge to add another to the pile. Not. Sane. I tell ya. ...But I do need to get my book club book read...(thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!)


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