An Affair with Reading

Hi, my name is (the)Nik, and I was once a voracious reader.

reading moment

My affair with reading didn’t start as a very young child. It came a little later, that first summer I spent in Maine with my grandparents. That first rainy day, trapped indoors with two grandparents who had their noses stuck in novels… On that day, we completely immersed ourselves in the far away place of the written word. I was eight years old. It was the first time I’d been away from mother. All the way on the other side of the country no less, and it was the first time I’d been given free reign over what to do with my time. I sat curled up next to my grandmother, whom I’m pretty sure I already idolized, with a very old first edition copy (that’s all they had) of something from their bookcase. I am sad that I can’t recall what book it was, but I’m pretty sure it was a Hardy Boys mystery. They had a big open room downstairs next to the kitchen, with a couch that had more broken springs than not, and an old wood burning stove in the middle of the room to take the chill out of the air. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the kind of place that dreams were made of. Summers in Maine were idyllic.

As the years passed, I looked forward most to those rainy summer days cooped up in my grandparents’ summer house. I’d actually hope for a few rainy days. I usually brought five books or so with me in my suitcase from California, and sometimes I’d even have to make my way into “town”, Blue Hill, to a tiny bookstore (thus the inception of my love for quaint independent bookstores). The way we all cozied up quietly immersed in whatever story we were reading, it could only lend to a great affair with reading and books. Of all my memories with my grandparents, those days with such remote conversation are my most cherished.

bookstore love

I’d come home from Maine exhausted every summer. I’d stay up way too late reading, and I was up early with the sun because I didn’t want my grandparents to feel I was lazy. There were no clocks in their summer home. There were books stacked up in every room, though. I can still close my eyes and smell those old musty books they’d acquired while antiquing every summer.

But lately, since having a child…I read far, far less. Last year, in fact—confession time—I only logged six books completely read. I’m embarrassed for myself, and I want to get back into my groove (as I’ve said every year since his birth).

So this year, I’m pledging to double that to 12 books. Not necessarily one book a month, because some months won’t allow for that and some books might be read much more quickly than a month. I figure it’s a good challenge, though, and maybe one I’ll even surpass. I just need to get back to double digits. I might even do a few audio books on the road trips we have planned cross-county. I’ve never done an audio book, but since some of my favorite living voracious readers today do them, there must be no shame in them! So, I’ll give them try. Anything to rekindle my affair with reading, really.

I’m currently really quite enjoying A Visit from the Good Squad.  I’ve been under the weather the last couple days, and I’ve used every spare moment to rest with this book. It’s that good.

So, I ask you, what are you reading currently? What’s on your nightstand to be read? Who is your favorite author? Let’s jive about books.

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14 thoughts on “An Affair with Reading

  1. Mmmmmmmmm, what a cozy, happy post.

    I wish we could Summer in Maine together and hope for rainy days.

    Right now, I’m finishing up Shogun (audiobook!) and it’s really excellent. But it’s so long, I’m really looking forward to reading something fun and short after it’s over to cleanse my palate.

    Hard copy books, I’ve recently returned to an old love of fantasy. Not like, swords and dragons and stuff. Though that’s good stuff, too. Stuff that just has an element of fantasy, and is sometimes more young adult lit. Like Ocean at the End of the Lane (by Neil Gaiman), Tamsin (by Peter S. Beagle), and Enchantment (by Orson Scott Card). They all have an element of folk lore woven in to the stories, and that’s something I totally dig.

    I’m so excited to see what you dig in to this year! Read read read!

    • Oh goodness, who says we won’t summer together one year. I’ll hope for it! Heck yes.

      I wish I could fully appreciate fantasy and folk lore…really, I do! I’ve read some Gaiman and liked his writing, but that’s just not thing. Hey look, some thing we don’t have in common. ;)

      I have a few things on the nightstand that need to be read, and some of them have been there for a while. A little non-fiction, some more short stories (always), and that new Sedaris is screaming at me.

  2. I am about to admit even worse, publicly. Just you wait!! I don’t want to set a reading quota goal this year, but I do want to think about what I need to give up to make the time for my beloved books…

  3. At the moment I have “Lullaby” by Palahniuk sitting on my nightstand. I usually do a book a month but lately I’ve been falling out of my routine of reading before bed. The past few weeks I’ve been listening to music. I go through phases, I guess.

  4. I can totally relate to the dwindling number of books I’ve read over the last year or two. (Only ten in 2013 – that’s so sad to me – I don’t have a kid, there’s no excuse! There were years when I read at least a book a week.)

    I love, love, love reading – I keep a list of every book I complete and have been doing so for a number of years (nerd alert) but depression is the number one thing that keeps from reading regularly. It’s just entirely too hard to concentrate or even feel motivated to pick up a book, and if I’m having a particularly awful bout with that fucker, my to-read pile goes untouched for way, way too long. (This is where I’m at right now and it’s been rough.)

    All that being said (ew, I hate that phrase), I’m picking up two books from the library tomorrow, one about Pennsylvania ghosts stories and another one about the first wave of MTV VJs (I know, I know). Also, I was about to start reading Cat Daddy by good ol’ Jackson Galaxy, who is quite obviously a fucking cat himself, but due to yesterday’s events, I don’t think I can handle reading about cats right now.

    Let me know how you like A Visit From The Goon Squad. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

    xo

    • I blame the child, but it’s more likely to say that it’s just LIFE that gets in the way. Or my brain (ie. anxiety) from letting me fully wrap myself up in a book anymore. Still, I’m hoping to change back!

      Man, I’m really digging AVFTGS. I’m already like a 1/3 of the way through it this week. That’s saying something. I can see that you have enjoyed it. Let me know about that MTV VJs book. I’m intrigued!

      I remember when I use to fly through a book in a weeks time. Maybe that’s why I’m so annoyed with myself currently. Maybe that will come back…before retirement. Hah!

      XO

  5. I am a reading fiend as you well know. I am grateful for my commute because that is where I get the predominance of my reading done. In fact, it is cheaper to drive but I can’t give up my peace time.

    My bedside table (ie my reader) currently contains Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, The Ladies Paradise by Emile Zola, and a handful of others in the queue.

    My fave author is Jane Austen, but I love so many. You’ll get back into the hang of reading. I find, even with my extra time, I sometimes go days without reading much. But I am an addict, so I can’t go much longer than that. Lol

    • I do know this about you. I’m jealous of commutes and don’t question a moment it being worth it mentally to pay a little more.

      Man, I wish I love Jane Austen. Sure, I like her alright…but I don’t love her like so many ladies do. I’m more a F.Scott girl. I adore that man and he’s for sure my favorite of all time. Don’t see that ever changes. Old dude could string a sentence together.

      • I love Fitz too! And Dickens. And Thomas Hardy. And right now, I have a mad crush on John Green. He’s contemporary and AMAZING. If you can read The Fault in Our Stars before the movie comes out , do. It is short (YA). Ms. Gizabeth recommended it to me and it is wonderful. I am ready for a reread.

  6. Pingback: Reading Mojo: UNLOCKED. | the nik blogs

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