I like to devour novels the way I devour vats of chunky peanut butter: with fervor, passion, and above all, habitual occurrence. Commitment to the point of regularity is the only way I’ve learned to incorporate something important to me into my life; without it, things tend to fall by the wayside, even your genuine interests. Perhaps it’s because I got into the pattern of sleeping until noon in college. When one sleeps until noon, it can be hard to fit much more into the day beyond work, class, and eating. Now that I’ve entered the work force and must rise along with the sun, I ironically have time for the things I actually enjoy doing in life, and one of them is reading. I am one of a dying breed of New Yorkers that still carries actual books onto the subway, lugging Steinbeck or worse (the Russian giants), along with me to work. Although I’ve always read and it has remained a consistent force in my life, even during the hibernation pattern of college I adopted, I find that the past year or so I have really begun to harness the interest. It’s said that a person can be addicted to anything: gambling, TV, sex, drugs, crunchy peanut butter, etc. I feel almost an addictive high when I read, and I’m going to take that as a good thing, because this means I am spending my days thinking and learning rather than solely absorbing 200 calories per two tablespoons of The PB.
The way I’ve developed my reading schedule centers around a few main concepts. The first being that currently, I choose what books to read based on what I’m embarrassed that I have not yet read already. Right now I am reading my first John Irving novel, for example, and this is a fact that embarrasses me. The book is “A Widow for One Year,” which my aunt told me was her favorite book and handed me her copy. So far, as predicted, it is rather incredible. The other concept that I use to organize my reading is based on the fact that I love both poetry and fiction. Therefore, the past year I concurrently read a fiction book with the collected works of a poet I’m interested in. I find this works well for me. There are some nights when I simply don’t have time after work, the gym, shower, and dinner, to read a 45-page chapter. Poetry you can take slowly and just read a few at a time, without having to stop in the middle of a scene. I like reading the collected works; it’s a commitment, especially for the bigger names, but I find it much too daunting to pick out just one short collection by a poet when I don’t know much about it.
Anyway, this was a very nerdy thing to write, but it’s 11:09pm and I got all giddy about the next Irving chapter and clearly had to share it with a virtual space. Hopefully not only the voracious English Lit hounds will relate to what I’m talking about.