“How do you read so many books?” my boyfriend asked me recently. “You know, I never see you reading.”
I laughed initially, thinking about how that could be possible. I never leave home without a book, tucking my latest read into my purse or gym bag. Novels litter my trunk and the backseat of my car; they’re stacked precariously in piles around my office, taking up residence alongside my file folders and old newspapers. My bedroom boasts my white bookcase stuffed to the gills with books, now double-stacked and wedged into any available space.
My books are everywhere. And I’m always reading.
But Spencer is right. When together, we’re off taking photos, watching movies or playing Tetris. We’re baking or chatting or web surfing. I don’t read in front of him because, in my mind, that’s a solitary activity — something I do on my own. To unwind. And since Spencer prefers to read things like magazines and how-to manuals, if at all, it’s not something we can do together.
Most of my reading time comes late at night. My dad hung a little shelf above my headboard when I was little and, um? Best shelf ever. I’ve had a bright bedside lamp perched there for more than a decade (never the same one, unfortunately; only Target’s finest $8 desk lamps for me). At this point, I’m pretty sure it would be biologically impossible for me to fall asleep without a book in my hand. More often than not, I wake up in the morning to find my current read splayed on the floor with a bookmark discarded near by. I won’t even remember falling asleep.
When I’m too tired to make much progress in a book before I shut my little eyes, though, I depend greatly upon my lunch hours to get some serious reading done. I’m not averse to eating alone; in fact, I rather enjoy it. My local haunts include Panera, Einstein Bagels and Noodles & Company, my personal favorite, and I order my lunch, grab a small table and sit quietly with my paperbacks. It doesn’t take me long to rejoin the characters I’ve only recently left, and restaurant noise doesn’t bother me. I’m pretty good at tuning things out. On any given afternoon, I can cover 50-60 pages while downing some pasta or snacking on a sandwich.
Of course, sometimes I meet friends or family for lunch. Or I have errands to run. Or I’m too busy at work to take a break at all, in which case . . . well, no reading for me.
And that’s when I break out the big guns.
I read at home.
Sometimes I feel like I have wheels on my feet. Flitting from place to place, stop to stop; everything in motion, blurring and incandescent. It’s actually rare for me to sit on the couch for a prolonged period of time, and when I do? It’s because I’ve scheduled in TV watching time, especially on Thursdays. Who can beat that line up?! “The Office,” “Parks & Rec,” “30 Rock,” “The Big Bang Theory” . . . yeah, I’m all over that mess.
But when I force myself to sit still in the evenings, I can often devour a book in a few hours. Just make sure I have a mug of chai tea for company.
So Spencer may never see me reading . . . but I’m reading all the time. I can say, very honestly, that not a single day goes by without me flipping quite a few pages. It’s my passion, obsession, devotion; it’s my life. A big part of my life.
And so is he. And my family. And work. And my writing. So I twist and turn and make everything fit.