Adventures in speed reading

I read an entire book last week. I know that is not generally cause for celebration unless you are, say, a 5-year-old, but it was a milestone for me. Sadly I can count on one hand the number of books I have finished since my two-year-old was born. Emphasis on finished. I have started many books.

I used breastfeeding as an excuse to leave a room and binge-read the Hunger Games trilogy because nothing helps you lactate like a story about children who murder one another.

I also read Tina Fey’s book because it was Tina Fey.

Other than that my reading habits have spiraled into the abyss of kindergarten tales, board books and the occasional IKEA catalog. For me, reading has become another casualty of parenthood – right up there with getting a full night of sleep, having privacy in the bathroom, and sitting down while I eat. It just doesn’t happen anymore. I try when I finally get a chance at 10:00 pm, but I fall asleep within 5 minutes. Is book-induced narcolepsy a thing? If so, I have it.

But last week I overcame the odds and managed to read Gone Girl. I was racing to finish because I’m going to see the movie with a gal pal (my apologies for using the term ‘gal pal’). Nothing motivates me like the promise of buttery popcorn and time away from my family with a dear friend.

Now I’m hoping to sustain the momentum and get back on the reading train because a) I realized how much I miss it and enjoy it, and b) my 6-year-old has become a voracious reader and she suddenly no longer wants or needs me to read with her.

I’m not so sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I now have the opportunity to read for myself. Last week we sat in bed together each reading our own books. I loved it.

On the other hand, I withstood hours of BOB books, Fancy Nancy and Pete the Cat, only to be cast aside once she finally starts reading the good stuff. If she thinks she can read Harry Potter without me, she is mistaken.

Our neighbor's Little Free Library, which boosted my child's enthusiasm for books

Our neighbor’s Little Free Library, which boosted my child’s enthusiasm for books and turned reading into a competitive sport

Watching my kid learn to read has been one of my favorite milestones. I get giddy when I walk into a room and find her with her nose in a book. Of course at this pace, she will probably be reading more complex novels than I do by the third grade, so that will be fun and embarrassing for both of us.

In the meantime I need to find myself a new book. I don’t want to overreach and pick something too intellectually challenging. I need something easy. Something achievable. Let’s be honest, I need something that would appeal to an angst-ridden pre-teen who likes implausible story lines and then I *might* stand a chance of actually finishing it.

I’m coming for you, Harry.

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15 thoughts on “Adventures in speed reading

  1. Great post! My new favorite-to-recommend is: Eleanor and Park, by someone Rainbow. Don’t let the author’s last name scare you. It’s a great, fast, sweet read. You’ll find it in the YA section of your local library. You’ll also see that it’s beenbanned by a number of school districts. Which means it’s definitely worth reading.
    Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
    Thanks for your humorous and heartfelt writing…

  2. I go in reading spurts. I will read multiple books one month and none for the next two. My problem is that if I get into a book, I don’t do anything else until it is over.
    I would agree with the Eleanor and Park recommendation. I loved that book.
    And I loved Harry Potter.

  3. I’m always so excited when you write a new blog post, and I love book recommendations! Since Tim and I have become island hermits and only talk to each other, naturally we’ve started a book club with two members. We just finished The Boys in the Boat and loved it. It’s the perfect book to recommend to anyone, from my sister to my father-in-law. I’ve also just started reading straight-up children’s books, not even YA, pretending to myself that I’m prescreening them for the kids. A few I’ve read and enjoyed are Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I also liked The Fault in Our Stars and the Maze Runner Series. Right now I’m getting in the halloween spirit by reading a sweet little zombie book called The Girl With all the Gifts.

    • Awesome! More for my list. I am totally on board with reading kid’s books. I went to the book store today and spent all of my time in the kid’s section finding things I’d want to read. R’s teacher is reading Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library to her class – he says it’s a good one.

  4. I read less books as I read more blogs. Need to figure out how to balance that.
    I LOVED Gone Girl. Read the book last year, saw the movie last week. Read Gillian Flynn’s other two books. They are deeply disturbing and yet utterly fascinating reads. I do not particularly want to see either of them made into a movie….
    Oh, and I used to read in bed every night before I went to sleep, and I did it from the time I was old enough to lie in bed and read with a bedside lamp until about a year or so ago when I become bogged down by blog reading. When I DO read in bed, I always nod off a few times and drop the book on my nose.

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