- in 20 minute intervals over the course of two weeks
- in the evenings after dinner
- with Matthew beside me
- at the dining table
- with a cup of tea
The second book, which I just finished five minutes ago, was read under the same circumstances, but it took me from mid-November until just now. That's about 7 weeks. You can't just rush a good book. I am an advocate for slow reading. I like to read every word. I really hate to skim read, and I am very bad at it; I almost never understand a text if I have only skimmed it. But also, when you are reading for pleasure, you owe it to yourself to read all the words, otherwise you are cheating yourself of the pleasure.
Other things which I believe about books, in no particular order
- If you get to page 100 and you are not enjoying it ("enjoying" is not quite the right word; maybe I more accurately mean "if it is not satisfying") then for heaven's sake put it aside and find a different book to read. There are only about eleventy billion books ever written, so find one that suits you better.
- Don't buy books, unless you really have to. I learned this the hard way. My parents' back shed in the Australian countryside is filled with boxes of my collected books, to which I probably still have some emotional attachment (although I should let that go, because I am sure some of those boxes have quite literally been chewed by rats by now). Books are free in libraries. And the best books, also free, come with recommendation from your friends' personal collections. Go ask your friend what is their favourite book.
- I don't have anything against e-readers, but since I don't have one, and there are so many free paper books all around me, I don't really want an e-reader ever. Also, what is the point of an e-reader when you can have a tablet?
So that book I so satisfyingly just closed the back cover on was an excellent non-fiction book, The Tiger, by local Vancouver author John Valliant. It is on loan (since June!!) from my uncle. It was so gripping, a true story about tiger attacks on human in Russia in the mid-nineties. I learned much about perestroika, poverty, and Armenian Radio (look it up!! you will be rewarded). And best of all, it has a compelling and eloquent eco-theme. About two years ago, I began searching for eco-themes in my pleasure reading, and I found Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, and Wild by Cheryl Strayed. But I want more, and I want eco-themes in my urban narratives too, not just in the so-called "wild".
When I was in undergrad, the year before I met Matthew, I read 50 novels in one year, outside my degree readings. I don't think I will ever have the leisure to do that again, but I would like to try for a few more books this year. I'm not sure whether measuring quality of reading experience by "how many" is the right way to go about it, but it couldn't hurt to seek out a few more and consciously mark weekly or daily time to actually ready them.
I am healing from the degree I just finished. It is a process. 2015: the year of reading rehabilitation?