Finding Balance

So I’ve been away from reading for a long long time which has been clearly shown by the lack of activity on this blog. I’ve read six books this year – one of these took me five months. About a year ago I wrote about a reading slump caused by Don DeLillo’s Unterworld The Book that Defeated Meand how I thought I was back to reading regularly again – but I wasn’t.

I thought I would always prioritize reading but I haven’t. And when I think about it, it really annoys me because now is the wrong time to not be reading. I have a daughter in the first grade who is learning to read right now and research (Paul Kropp: How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life (review)) shows that one of the things that helps kids learn to read, is to see their parents read and having reading be an important part of the entire family’s life. So I feel like I have been letting her down by choosing other things over reading.

Because that’s what I have been doing. I have been caught up in other activities than reading. I have a full-time job, I have two young children, a boyfriend, a dog, four bunnies … I have a lot going on each day that I have to take care of and that means that I have a limited time for other activities.

Hobonichi & Midori

Hobonichi & Midori

Back in February, I bought a Nintendo 3DS and started playing a game called Fantasy Life and loved it. I played Animal Crossing and loved it. And then I fell back in love with journaling, memory keeping and story telling. I used to be a scrapbooker and last year I started writing daily in a Moleskine and this year in a Hobonichi as well as I fell in love with Midori Traveler’s Notebook. And then recently Project Life.

All this is great and I have been enjoying it all. I’m the type of person who goes all in when I get a new interest. I spend all my time doing that thing and I talk about nothing else. For years, my main interest was reading, books, literature and minting this blog about it. For the last year or so I have been drifting through interests and I have enjoyed them all. I still want to play Nintendo games, I want to journal every day and tell mine and my family’s story and keep our memories. I want to get back into crocheting. I want to do all these things – but I also want to read.

So what I guess I’m striving for, is balance. I’m trying to find ways to fit in reading into my life and maybe accepting that I don’t need to go all in every time but need to find a way to fit everything into my life. I guess it’s all about prioritizing.

I guess you’ll be able to track my progress in my efforts to achieve balance in my life by following this blog. If it fades into nothing, you’ll know I failed.
I guess if I start posting every day, I’ve failed too.
This is not going to be easy.

Balance!

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The Book That Defeated Me

So. My last post was three months ago. In those three months, I haven’t read a single book. I have tried to read one but in three months, I have been reading the same book. Or rather, I have had the same book lying on my night table next to me and then I have been ignoring it for three months.
I managed 214 pages of it and then … nothing more. And the strange thing is, that I didn’t dislike it. I liked it. I liked it when I was reading it. But I forgot about it when not reading it and if you ask me now, I wouldn’t be able to tell you precisely what it was about. That may be because it was a 800+ pages book and I haven’t reached the part where it all comes together and starts making sense – it might also be because this is not a book for me.
And that bugs me.
Because I want to like this book. I want to like this author.
mdT2qD0PAy_ect1IYhvl5gQ-2The book I’m talking about, the book that has completely destroyed me and made a deserted wasteland of this blog, is Don DeLillo’s magnum opus Underworld. And there are parts of it I really, really like. I have written down quotes and impressions and they are all positive and things I enjoyed. But not enough to keep reading apparently. And then I stopped reading for the first time in 7 years.
When I have read other bloggers write about reading slumps and how to defeat them, I have to admit I have felt a bit superior. A reading slump couldn’t positively happen to me, I thought. I love reading too much, I thought. Reading slumps are for others who just don’t care about books the way I do, I snickered.
Watch me cover in shame!
Reading slumps can happen to everybody, I know now. I should have known earlier, of course, since when I started using Goodreads back in ’07, I was just coming out of a slump caused by too much studying. This was a time when I felt guilty whenever I read something that wasn’t related directly to my master’s thesis.
From this slump, I have learned two things. The first one is also going to sound arrogant, just like my idea that I was immune against reading slumps. A non-reader is just a person who hasn’t met the right book yet. I’m back to reading and I’m just loving it. I’m completely engulfed in this book and am enjoying myself so so much.
The second thing I’ve learned is, that my way back to reading, is fantasy literature. Last thing, I used DragonLance novels mostly and loved it. This time I’m reading urban fantasy – the Jim Dresden novels. I read the first two last year – and I almost finished the third one last night but the World Cup kind of distracted me.
Still, even though the last months have been filled with distractions – I started crocheting, I started trying to journal more in my moleskine and I discovered smash books – I’m hoping that I’m back to my normal dose of reading daily. And with that, I’m hoping I’m back to blogging and I’m hoping that there’s still someone out there reading…