Last summer, my then-twelve-year-old daughter devoured The Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn. When she was finished, she moved on to Brandilyn & Amberly Collins' YA suspense series. After that, she read a few Amish books and now is in the middle of So Not Happening, the first in the Charmed Life series by Jenny B. Jones.
The point is, the girl can't turn pages fast enough. She loves to read! And this, of course, makes for one proud mama. I am thrilled at her love for reading and my smile gets bigger with every book she finishes.
She reminds me of myself when I was her age. The Bobbsey Twins, Ramona the Pest, The entire series of Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Little House on the Prairie. As a teenager, I couldn't get enough of the John Benton series (anyone remember those?).
Years ago, as a young wife and mom, I hungrily awaited every book in Sue Grafton's Alphabet mysteries. I read Sidney Sheldon, Mary Higgins Clark, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Patricia Cornwell. I then moved on to Christian fiction. Mindy Starns Clark, Terri Blackstock, Linda Hall, and Jerry B. Jenkins. I could spend hours reading and not come up for air.
Well, somewhere along the way, I lost my complete and utter enthusiasm for reading. Go ahead...get the gasp out of your system.
Don't get me wrong, I still love to read (as a writer, I'd better!) and I almost always have a book or two going at any given time, either to review or for enjoyment, but I just don't have that same passion I used to. I believe there are three reasons for this.
1. Time and energy. Okay, that's two. But time and energy just go together for me. Way back when, I had much more time to invest in curling up on the couch with a good book. Kids, work, and housework tend to sop up much of my time and energy. When I do get "free time," my brain has a hard time disconnecting from my busyness and relaxing long or thoroughly enough to get lost in a book. Which leads me to...
2. Workaholic Tendencies. My husband and kids will tell you that I am pretty much chained to my laptop. This is something I'm working on changing, but as a work-at-home freelancer, my brain is constantly thinking about what I should be doing. There are always emails to answer, articles to post, research to do, newsletters to write, and manuscripts to edit. If I let too much time elapse in between, do you realize how much time it will then take me to "catch up?" In my mind, it's best to keep up on everything so I'm not drowning later. And reading distracts me from my task. Which leads me to...
3. I'm a writer. You may be saying, "Uh...that should make you want to read more." Well, yes and no. Since really immersing myself in this writing business several years ago, I've found that I tend to read with a too-critical eye. I more easily catch mistakes, am tsk-tsking authors for "breaking the rules"(a great topic being discussed on the ACFW loop right now that I'll save for another day), and yes, even entertain ways the author could have made the story "better." In other words, again, I can't separate my writer brain from my reader brain and have trouble reading for pure enjoyment.
Of course there have been plenty of books I've enjoyed recently, including Sharlene MacLaren's The Long Journey Home, which I'm giving away HERE. But I want to rediscover my pure passion for reading. The same enthusiasm my daughter has when she races home from school to read the next chapter of her book. The passion I had years ago that made me include twenty books on my Christmas list - above a bike or the latest technical toy. I think the first step is figuring out how to sweep out the brain clutter long enough to get lost in the story.
Also...I'd love to know what book(s) you've read that you woke up thinking about or skipped an appointment for or picked up at stoplights because you had to know what happened next?