My reading life (continued): Sticking to my resolution and finding the time to read!

Dear Reader:

I’m two weeks into this blog and my resolution (I want to make up a new word, like blogolution for these “year of” blog-resolutions) to not beg, borrow, or buy more than 20 new books this year (free or otherwise).  My primary goal is to focus on reading my existing paper and kindle library.  A secondary goal is to read carefully, or at least thoughtfully in order to be able to write cogently about the work I’m reading.

So far, I’ve done well, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been tempted!!!!!  You can relate – so many of you have commented on sharing a desire to make headway through your To Be Read (TBR) piles… funny that these piles are so pervasive that the book blogging world has an acronym for them.

My temptations – or how I tiptoed up the the line of breaking my blogolution and didn’t cross it…

Ohhhh, I find it so trying to stick with things!  I read that Bowen loved Proust and I have to dig up her essay on him from one of my books.  I’m afraid it sounds pretentious, but I enjoy Proust also and have the ambition of reading Remembrance of Time Past this year.  Not that I finish her essay, no, because I have to zip off with my kindle and computer figuring out what Proust biographies are out there (if I’m going to read him, I need a decent biography!).

I download many samples of Proust-related books to my kindle and scan them….  I add them to my Amazon wish list….  I “manage” my Amazon RECOMMENDATIONS! pages – why?  God forbid a silly book should wander into the recommendations pages (when did they become an extension of my identity?).  My recommendations pages are 150 BOOKS long!  And that’s not even my WISH LIST (I don’t know, maybe 60 books long)…

I can hear my british grandfather, always a good one for cunning turn of the century british aphorisms, saying “Your eyes are bigger than…” well, I guess, my eyes, or my time, or something.

I have decided that downloading samples to my kindle doesn’t count toward my 20 books this year, but it doesn’t exactly make it easier to go on working my way through Bowen, much less Henning Mankell.

I fought an internal battle with myself yesterday when I had to go to a city which has an excellent bookstore Snowbound Books.  I love supporting them and I haven’t been there in awhile – they have an excellent literary fiction selection – (and children’s section) and I could justify it as just needing another Bowen book or Pym book or what have you.  Mind you, I know, my resolution is no more than 20 books, but I figure I should be able to go at least 2 weeks without buying anything if I’m going to make it through the year….

Zitkala-Sa

Time to read?

So far, no new books.  And, although this blog is taking quite a lot of time (I don’t expect I’ll make it through the year writing this much as often), I’ve enjoyed meeting you, dear reader(s), and it certainly is helping me to focus.  I love the fact that I’ll have a record of my thoughts while reading these books.

I don’t know if you have this problem, but as a book fiend, I find that I get focused on dashing through books, sucking down the plot, and trying to get done, rather than reading slowly and enjoying the experience and getting something memorable out of them.  This blog is helping me slow down!

I’m also thinking about my time differently.  I have a demanding profession and 3 dogs and 1 cat…  The dogs always seem to need to go out for a pee break (I work at home usually).  My young golden retriever is currently guarding my living room from neighborhood children and poodles, so he needs to get cued to “leave it” and rewarded for responding well.  There’s Gus the golden training (4 hours of driving once a week plus daily training sessions).  There’s watching a bit of tv on Hulu plus on my Roku box.  And playing Flowers on my ipad (I have cut that down).  And walking and playing with the dogs….  And, did I mention, managing my Amazon recommendations page (is it just me or is that recommendations software kind of dumb?).  And writing and managing this blog… And meanwhile the minutes of immersed, focused reading time are trickling away.

I AM getting more conscious of my time because of this blog and all my reading ambitions related to it.  But it takes work, like all good things.

How about you?  What kinds of book purchases tempt you?  How do you carve out the time to read?  How do you stay focused on what you’re reading?  What do you think of Amazon’s recommendations page?

Happy Reading!  Ruby

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