Reading

I've been reading more. A lot more.

I've always been a reader. Whenever we move we end up carting along huge numbers of boxes filled with books. Our apartment has multiple bookcases including one Expedit that has books stacked two and three levels deep.

For the last couple of years I haven't been reading as many books as I usually do. Part of this has to do with the fact that I'm married now, and my wife and I will often go to events in the city, resulting in less time spent sitting around the house pawing through a book.

The other big reason is that Adrian was born nearly two years ago (!!!) and I spend much more of my free time parenting and pushing him on the swings. I would never think of trading that time for reading time, but I still miss it.

The real reason I'm reading less is that I lost my reading focus. Where I used to burn through books at the rate of one every couple of days, I realized in December that I had gotten to the point where I was in the middle of a dozen different books and I wasn't excited about reading any of them. Reading had become drudgery and something that I only did right before falling asleep.

The thing that has changed that for me is Facebook. Or, more precisely, I've been reading more. Living Social. It's not the greatest app in the world, and it can be extremely slow, but the way it tracks active reading queue keeps me on task and also gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Even though my queue usually has at least half a dozen books in it, I'm usually only a reading one of them at a time. When I'm done I get to check it off my list and think about the next thing to read. Sometimes I like to think about it as though I have a brand new video game called "Reading." Every time I finish a book I get a point. It doesn't have the constant adrenaline rush of TF2, but I'm learning a lot more playing it.

I'm also setting aside at least two hours a night to read, and sometimes more. Whereas, in the past I would put Adrian to bed and then browse the web for several hours, I'm brewing a cup of tea and sitting down in my comfy chair with my lastest find. Most of the books I've been reading are relatively short at two to three hundred pages, and if I'm enjoying the book and giving it the right level of attention I can burn through it in a single evening.

I also find that when I'm reading four or five books a week I have a different focus and expectation on what I'm doing. I don't assume that a given book is going to be part of my life for a long period of time. There's more freedom knowing that the next book is right around the corner and I'm happy to take a chance on something that's outside of my comfort zone.