When I’m Not Reading

Like last Sunday, this post is based on the writing prompts provided by Megan of Freckled Italian from the book Old Friend From Far Away. And, like last Sunday, it was meant to be posted on Sunday. If only it wasn’t polar vortexing and I could get myself out of the doldrums (any other Phantom Tollbooth fans out there?!).

Tell about periods you haven’t read. What were you doing? When and where do you read best?

I have never not identified myself as a reader until last year. Sadly enough last year will go down as the year without reading. I get embarrassed when I think back to how little time I made to pick up a book. I have always been a reader; I remember a moment in childhood when my mom proudly proclaimed that Kendall was a reader, akin to being a model or having the best grades. And I’ve always believed in reading as one of the single most important things you can do for yourself in terms of self-improvement and happiness.

So where did I go, what did I do when I wasn’t reading? I was becoming a teacher. What irony that I stopped reading at the same time that I was pushing students to read for thirty minutes every morning and every night. But being a first year teacher was overwhelming. There were papers to grade, lessons to plan, papers everywhere. I came home and practically sank into the couch, exhausted and in over my head. Times that I did read were filled with professional development books. It was a sad time. I stopped imagining and my writing suffered. I wasn’t inspired and I wasn’t thinking. I missed being a reader terribly.

This year will be the year of books. That sounds overly ambitious but I will at least try to get more reading done. Maybe a book or two a month sounds like a good rough estimate. To aide in this process I did something outside of my comfort zone: I joined a book club. With one meeting under my belt, I love the way it pushes me to read and think and imagine about the books I’m reading.

The perfect day in my reading life would be sunny with a slight breeze. I would have nothing on my plate: no work brought home, no errands to run, no obligations to anyone. I’d drag a big sack of library books outside in the sunshine, spread out my picnic blanket, and crack open a book. I’ve always associated sun and summer with voracious reading, but any little bit of sunshine will do. And as much as I love a new book, I’d love to turn the pages of some of my most beloved classics:

– A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

– The Help by Kathryn Stockett

– The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

– Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Jester

– The China Garden by Liz Berry

– The Love Season by Elin Hildebrand

– The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series by Ann Brashares

– The Last Summer (Of You and Me) by Ann Brashares

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