I am a librarian. (It still makes me smile and giggle a little when I say that; wonder if it will ever get old?)
One would think that, as a librarian, I would be a "super-reader". You know, reading the latest bestseller in every spare moment, whizzing through inches-thick volumes in less than a week, books flying from my to-read pile to my done-and-shelve pile like snow from the blowers my northern friends are used to.
That image couldn't be farther from the truth. Not only am I a slow reader, but I'm a scanner, too. I tend to have two or three books in progress at the same time, usually of different genres, and usually in different rooms in my house. (Check out my blogpost referencing my mother to learn the origin of that habit.) It can take me months to finish a two-hundred page novel.
I don't say this with pride, and I wasn't always like this. As a kid, I was a voracious reader, spending hours on this favorite activity as well as snatching those moments of "reading on the fringe" that Donalyn Miller and Dr. Lesesne refer to in their books. I could totally immerse myself in a storyline, becoming insensitive to my surroundings until the slowest of plot progressions or the end of a book snapped me out of my reverie.
So what happened? The only thing I can think of is...life. Life that became work commutes (sorry, Dr. Lesesne, I'm just not an auditory reader!), lesson plans, family dinners, laundry piles, bills, paperwork. The never-ending to-do list and distractions that preempt most of my attempts to get lost in a book.
I am reading plenty, if you consider emails, blogposts, book reviews, magazines, Facebook feeds, Twitter, storytimes with my primary students, and the book club choices my fifth graders share with me.
But it seems the leisure of my youth is only replicated a few times a year, when I am able to forego the demands of adulthood and slip into a book coma. The conditions have to be just right: a fast-paced/ really interesting book and enough sleep the night before so that I don't start snoozing after fifteen minutes; no immediate family or work obligations; and more importantly, no guilt for plopping on the couch and leaving the world behind for hours on end.
Until that next opportunity arrives (hopefully over spring break next week), it's slow-going fringe reading for me. I'll add "improve my reading life" to my to-do list...right after the load of towels that needs to be washed.