My Reading Dysfunction

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So about a year ago I set an ambitious goal: to become a “real” reader. (Kind of like Pinocchio wanting to be a real boy.) It’s not that I couldn’t read. It’s more that I only read out of compulsion to better myself, but not usually enjoying it. So I decided that being a grown up meant learning to appreciate reading. Well, last year was a banner year in “Camp-We-Like-Reading”. I read several great books, and discovered some authors I really enjoy but still found myself stuck with one major reading dysfunction: Binge Reading. This is a little known syndrome where a person begins reading at a usual bedtime, but finds herself unable to stop until the book is finished, purely because she needs to know the book is done. As in “whew! glad that book is done!” You can see where this would be a problem: a grown up also has to get kids up for school and go to work herself and this is near impossible when going to bed at 4 am after finally finishing A Voice in the Wind.

So, after a year of trying to be a reader, and binging till 4 am one time too many I gave myself a little “talking to”:

“Okay Debi, c’mon- you can do this. Just read a couple of chapters. For crying out loud- use a little self control! Do I need to make you read Boundaries all over again? All right then- suck it up and read like a grown up.”

So, this year I shaped up my reading patterns and have discovered what I believe the problem was: I didn’t love the books. It turns out my binge reading was a symptom of a different problem: I don’t feel quite okay about not finishing a book once I start it. So if I start a book, but don’t love it, I just want to get it over with as quickly as possible so I can be done with it. Now, a real reader, I’m assuming, just puts the book down and starts a new one- but I have not progressed to that level of “real” yet. So, I no longer buy any books until I’ve read a chapter or so in the book store or a preview on my Kindle. Meanwhile, a friend told me about a wonderful website, http://www.whatshouldIreadnext.com that allows you to put in the title of a book you liked and it will give you suggestions of other books to read. Brilliant! So here is my 2012 “Camp-We-Like-Reading” list so far:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (loved, loved, loved!! totally fun and WWII aspect)
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (good and sweet and addresses mental illness, which I found interesting)
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (good, well written, also historical but I don’t love tragic and it has a bit of that)
Milkshake (a book about breastfeeding- kind of funny, light reading- not my favorite)
Hunger Games (you’ve seen the movie- you know it’s good)

So my theme so far this year apparently is fictional novels. (Aside from my Counseling the Sick and Terminally Ill book I finished for my Master’s course- which I count as a read, but not really.) And I am happy to report that other than a slight 2 am relapse on Milkshake, I did not binge at all!

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One response »

  1. If I start a book and don't like it, I skip pages. Just read every other or every so many-then I "finish" it much faster. Right now I'm reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I really like it because it's geared toward food nerds. I am definitely a food dork. We grow our own food and drink unpasteurized milk. Go figure. Happy reading!

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