Our Reading Lives

Irresponsible Reading and Why it is a Problem For Me

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When I was a kid, I used to zoom through books. I would pick up a book in the morning and be done with it by the end of the day. I thought that was an impressive feat considering I had homework and other extracurricular activities going on. Unfortunately, I can no longer pick up a book and devour it in one day. The only way I can do that is if the book is a graphic novel. I have become a historically irresponsible reader and it is a problem for me.

There are several reasons I can no longer accomplish amazing reading feats anymore but I have narrowed the reasons down to just two: I just do not have the time anymore because I have to be a responsible adult (sigh) and I have a nasty habit of being in between three to four books at the same time.

Speaking of the former, like most responsible adults, I have a full time job that eats up the bulk of my day. I am a public librarian but I still cannot find the time to squeeze in a few pages throughout my work day. Occasionally, I can read a bit during lunch, but then of course I become easily distracted with my phone and the plethora of notifications I forgot to check. By the time my work day is over, I go home and become the superhero dad that my son craves. When I get home, he greets me with two questions: “Daddy, can we play?” or “Daddy, can we fight?” I love spending time with him so we end up wrestling for the next hour. My wife and I then talk about our days, prepare dinner, and help our son with his homework. The day is then pretty much over! Just when I think I can finally read at least 30 pages of a book before bed, sleep takes over and puts me out for the night. Where did the day go?

I wish I could stick to reading just one book at a time but my mind does not function that way. I have a thirst for reading nonfiction, fiction, science fiction, pop culture, and a million other genres at the same time. If I am lucky, I will live to be maybe 80 or 90 years old. Life is just too short, in my opinion, to try and read only one book at a time. I have to be in between three or four and sometimes maybe even five books. This is very irresponsible, I know, but like I mentioned, it is a nasty habit I have. Maybe it is my Tourette Syndrome (a disorder I legit suffer from) or maybe I am just a weird dude. Either way it is a habit I cannot break away from. I am currently reading Ready Player One (again), The World’s Strongest Librarian, and The Dead and Those About to Die (for the third time). When will I be done with these books? I do not have an answer. Maybe sometime in the next three months.

It also does not help that I am a very slow reader. I can no longer read 100 pages from a book in one day. I just have to walk away after reading 30 to 40 pages. It is a great day when I actually read up to 50 pages, but that is a rare occurrence. Everybody I know can finish 500 page books in two to three days but it takes me two weeks to finish a 300 page book. This is a genuine problem for me because I would love to become a voracious reader again. The book gods need to help me!

Overall, I would say the main issue of my irresponsible reading stems from life just coming at me the way it did not when I was a child. There is nothing wrong with that but it can be annoying. I just yearn for the days when I can be a care-free reader again. Am I the only one who is an irresponsible reader? I don’t think I can be the only one.