Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Reading Life: Two Important Lessons

I didn't learn to put a book down until I was in college. An aggressive reader as far back as I can remember, I've always carried a book with me, read quickly, and consumed large quantities of books each year. When I was in college, I learned two important things: it's OK to read more than one book at a time, and it's OK to stop reading a book if you're not into it. Neither of these are particularly new concepts to those in the book blogging world, but I figured I'd share how I came to these realizations myself.

I needed to learn the first lesson to learn the second. In college, when I was reading a book or more each week for my English classes, on top of reading for other classes and keeping a novel going for fun, I realized I was reading multiple books at a time and it was just fine. Post-college, I realized different formats work better for me for different types of books: I've had trouble getting into non-fiction in print, but in e-book or audio I sail through it; I prefer literary books with long prose in print so I can savor the words on the page. As I expanded my formats, I settled comfortably into reading 4-5 books at a time: one in print, one in audio, one in e-book, and usually an extra in one format or another for a book club or that was due back at the library.

With this new-found flexibility, I realized how helpful it was to be able to switch books when something wasn't working. I could put a book down and return to it later when I was in the mood. I actually read books faster this way, since I wasn't slogging through a weighty literary tome when I really felt like a romance novel. Yet, there were some books I started and just never got back to. When I finally let them go, either returning them to my shelf or back to the library only half-read, I felt like I knew enough to discuss them (because they were usually new releases I got off the holds list before I was ready, or stalwarts of a genre of which I'm a fan) and make a decision about when I felt best about returning to them.

It's a strategy that's been working well for me. Perhaps most importantly, it's kept me actively reading throughout law school because I have the flexibility to read in a variety of formats, and give myself the opportunity to read whatever book sparks my interest at any moment. At the end of the day, as long as I'm still reading, I'm happy.

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