Confession of a Binge Reader

During college an odd thing began to happen that I have termed “the college guilt.” Meaning you are doing something that gives you pleasure, but you know there is school work to be done so you stop doing that action.

While at school I would not read for fun. My major required between 200-400 pages of reading a week. Every time I would pick up a novel I enjoyed a guilty feeling would bubble up. I knew I had pages to read for class and I could not shake that from my mind. This turned the pleasure of reading into something uncomfortable and I quickly gave into the negative feelings. My book would sit on the shelf staring at me for weeks or months. I began to not even pick up a book that was not for school work. Why did this happen with reading? I know I waste time like everyone else yet I could not find 15 minutes a day to read? Something was wrong with this picture.

It took me a very long time to figure out a possible answer. At first I thought I was self-punishing myself by withholding something I love, which might be part of the answer. A much larger part is I had a very immature relationship with reading. This seems like an odd contradiction. I am reading so how could that possibly be immature? The way I read was the true issue. I would not open up a book for 20 or 30 minutes. No, instead I would binge read for hours! I remember sitting for three or seven hours reading when I was a teenager. At college I could not do that and part of me knew that I would have to come out of my mind theater within a short time frame. So, in a weird way since I would not be able to read for hours I simply didn’t read.

My reading habits were not flexible and in the end they were destructive. If I read 15 to 20 minutes a day for fun I could have read 50 to 80 books in the four years I was at college! Imagine what the ideas I would have been exposed to and all the pleasure I missed. I have worked hard to build a better relationship with my reading habits. I do sometimes read for hours at a time, but that is not what I require to enjoy a book. The important thing is I am doing something I love for a few minutes everyday. This lesson about healthy relationship with things or actions extends beyond books and one to think about.



The Formula for the Successful Reader

If you don’t like reading I won’t fault you, but what irritates me is when people say they don’t have time to read. If you have time to scroll through your Facebook feed you have time to read. You are choosing to allocate that time elsewhere. Admit it and move on or prioritize. (I will discuss this idea later on because I understand the drudgery of work and household chores).

My daily goal is to read for at least 30 minutes a day and 15-30 pages. The page count depends on the type and density of the book. My yearly goal is to read 20 books. Here is another way to think about reading.

The math:

20 (pages a day) x 365 (days in a year)= 7,300(pages in a year)

7,300 x 350 (possible average book length)= 20.9 (books a year)

I am proud that I am almost done with my 20th book and it is almost the start of September. I feel I have proven my formula for reading and can now safely recommend it without being a hypocrite. So stop feeling you have to binge read and start taking bites daily!


Book Dump: Reading challenge 2015

Back in January I decided to participate in the 2015 reading challenge on Goodreads. I challenged myself to read 20 books this year and so far I have completed 19 out of 20. At the present I do not want to go back and write a summary on the books I have read this year. Instead I will list them here:

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It by David Wong

So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell

 I know why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Saffy’s Angel by Hillary McKay

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Instead of a Letter: A Memoir by Diana Athill

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington

The links above connect to Goodreads summary so you can decide if you are interested or not in these books. Within a few days I will finish my 20th book this year, which proves my reading formula is right!


Ye Old Blog

This is my old blog for those brave (or kind) enough to glance at my earlier posts:*

I really liked the idea of doing “quests” to experience life, reviewing books (or anything with a good story), and discussing beer. For the time being I will put quests on the back burner.

The idea of quests was to always be pushing myself to experience something new and to keep expanding my understanding of the world. I did not want life to pass me by because I have encountered people who have and they are zombies. I wanted to focus 30-40 minutes a day to one thing for one to two months. (If you are a Waldorf student think of it like a main lesson book). Some ideas included (really) learning Spanish, playing the guitar and learning, reading Ulysses by James Joyce, learning to tango and to bake a pie. My second quest I was going to write about was on my effort to memorizing The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson while reading The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. This was to have a better understanding of women in the arthurian legends.

However, I am not able to do that at the present. I am going back to school and would not be able to bring to life what I have in mind. I do not want to feel like I have failed a second time on my blog. I think that is part of the reason I stopped writing on the blog. I will focus for the time being on books, beer and possibly any interesting ideas I happen to run into. I will stick with roughly the same style as my old blog when it comes to presenting books.


*Please excuse any errors

Almost a year… A Fresh Start?

Next month it will be a year since I last posted something of value. A great deal has happened to me since then. I have figured out what I want to do with my life, I am in the middle of discovering who I want to be as a person and what are my priorities. I think my twenty-third year of being tested me and I knew I could do better when the results came back.

So here I am again. At this point it seems not like round two or three, but round ten! However, I am a firm believe that if you keep going back and trying you will find some form of success (or at least an answer you can live with). I am in no rush to lay out all I have learned. That will come out in time.

You are probably wondering what I mean by again. I had another blog, however, I created a new email and a random password and have since forgotten both. (What an airhead, right?). I look at this as a fresh start. In my next post I will discuss ideas I have for this blog. Who knows in a year I might compare my ideas with the reality.