On Reading

After I completed my undergrad degree in 2012, my reading habits fell by the wayside. I kept writing fairly regularly, but every time I tried to stop and sit down with a book I’d find myself distracted. I made my way through a few, but eventually I just stopped reading. It wasn’t a good thing, but it’s the truth.

It was a trend I’d noticed even before I went back to college. Over the course of a couple of years I transitioned from manual labor (janitor, warehouse, driving a donation truck) to sitting behind a desk. As my work life required more and more thought and less general labor, my need to let my brain relax and enjoy some mindless entertainment grew. I wasn’t craving time diving into the written word, writing as much, or even sketching like I used to do.

Fast forward to fall of 2016. My writing slump was beginning to really hit hard, and there were other personal issues going on. I just sort of zoned out, and buried myself in video games.

My lovely wife is a constant reader, and had just decided to pick up knitting around that time. She still wanted her reading time though, so she was listening to an audiobook decided to put it on while she worked on a blanket on the couch. The book was the second in the Diviners series by Libba Bray, called “Lair of Dreams.”

I played Minecraft and she knitted, and very quickly I became engaged by the book, even though I’d come into it about a third of the way into the second book in the series. We listened to it together, and then she got the first book on audio for me through her Audible account.

….and ever since, I have been audiobook crazy. I listen on my way to work, on lunch, on my way home, while running errands, while cleaning litter boxes, and when Pamela goes out with friends or travels for work, I listen pretty much all night.

I even jumped in on Goodreads’ 2017 Reading Challenge, and I’m pleased to report I’m currently on my 63rd book this year. I’ve read middle grade books, YA, adult fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoir, and everything in-between. I’ll burn through a series then pick up the next, and just keep going! I swear I’d die without Overdrive and all the wonderful libraries in the St. Louis area.

I also had my first true fanboy moment with an author, when I got to meet the amazing Leigh Bardugo and get my copies of the Six of Crows duology signed (Thank you St. Charles City-County Library and Main Street Books!). Love those books, and she was kind, funny, and just lovely in person.

Leigh Bardugo

[Leigh Bardugo at St. Charles City-County Library. Yes, I have a picture with her, but it’s blurry (dumb phone!), so you get this one.]

So really, while writing fell temporarily by the wayside, I at least feel like I’ve found myself as a reader again this year — and it’s a beautiful feeling.