Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Picture Books Not Included

At the end of January, I was quite surprised to realize I had already read over 1,100 pages of books during 2008. (See here.) Well, 2008 is now halfway over, and while I cannot say that I’ve maintained the reading intensity that January offered, I’m pleased to report that I’ve now read 4,801 pages. And counting.

It’s interesting to look back at my monthly statistics. After a knockout first month of the year, you can see the numbers taking a steady dive. February, the shortest month of the year, still managed to accumulate 1,070 pages, but as we hit the midterm of the semester, everything changed. March came in with 833 pages, while April, the last full calendar month of the semester, churned out no more than 449 pages. It’s obvious that as the semester progresses, the time I have available for reading quickly dissipates. Instead, I find myself writing papers for the classes I’m taking while grading papers for the classes I’m teaching. It’s time-consuming.

I managed to read 628 pages in May, a respectable amount given that I had a baby at the beginning of the month and spent three weeks of the month teaching five days a week. Teaching so frequently probably helped me, really, because it meant I was spending roughly two hours per day on public transit. I think the fact that I am now finished with teaching and am working on a thesis almost exclusively from home explains why my numbers haven’t skyrocketed back up since school let out. June brought in an additional 700 pages, but surely it would have been more had I spent a few more days on the train.

This makes me question what will happen to my reading habits when I move to Tallahassee. No matter where I live in Tallahassee, I don’t expect my commute to school to be very lengthy. It’s sure to take a toll on the amount of reading I do, and oddly enough this almost makes me wish I could have a longer commute to look forward to. Of course, I could just invest that same amount of time into reading without being in transit. But somehow that’s not ever the way it works. When you’re on a bus or a train, you can’t help but have time to read. If it’s a matter of choice, though, reading for pleasure always gets low priority. Sad, but true.


  1. I actually quite enjoyed this post. I found it thought provoking :)
    I've been thinking lately of things like this... making time for what you really want to be doing and making your life what you want it to be. I think it's something we need to do more of and insist on... like making life fit our schedule rather than the other way around.
    Of course, being me, I always get hard on myself when I don't/can't do those things. Your pointing out that a small thing like your commute has such a great effect on your reading goal is quite interesting. On the one hand, maybe we need to "arrange" our life to have more commuting time if that's what helps us reach other goals. On the other hand, recognizing that the neccessities of life do get in the way, we can not be so hard on ourselves and/or readjust our goals to deal with reality. Hmm...

  2. Holy. I read wrong and at first thought you said you read 1,100 BOOKS. I was like with two babes and teaching! Then I read it again and felt much better. I used to collect books, and read literally everyday. I used to consume books like food. Now however, since I read and write for a FT living, I don't read hardly at all. That sort of sucks, because reading for me was major stress relief. On the upside, now I exercise for stress relief, so it's a healthier habit than books, but I do miss just vegging out with my books sometimes.

  3. it boggles my mind that you are keeping track of the pages.....maybe that's how higher education affects you, eh?