#sol 17 – The Joy of Reading

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-10-42-06-amI’ve rediscovered the joy of reading this past week.  Wait, does that mean I had forgotten how joyful reading can be???  No, no, it’s not that.  I know exactly how joyful reading is.  I just haven’t had the time – or better yet, made the time – to enjoy reading for myself.  

I do love reading.  I didn’t always love it.  It always felt like something I had to do for school.  It wasn’t until my mom’s friend, who was a high school English teacher, brought me a book (that I can’t remember at the moment) and said  “give this book a try, you might like it.”  I’m sure I rolled my eyes at her, but I ended up giving it a try, and that was it.  I had felt the joy and fell in love.  Now, I love everything about reading.  I love the feel of books in my hands.  I love their smell.  I love reading to my daughter and 1st graders.  I love picture books, and professional books, and fiction books – my most favorite genre. I’m not as adventurous with other genres as I’d like to be.  There’s always room for growth!

So if I love it so much, why don’t I make the time to read books I want to read?  Why don’t I make the time to get lost in books like I tell my daughter and my 1st graders to do?  I have no problem sitting with them, radiating my passion for reading, while saying “now go, go get lost in your books.”  The answer is simple – other things take precedence and are the priorities (even if they shouldn’t be).  Well, until now…

This past week has been a tough one for our family.  Our sweet, sweet dog, Lucy, gave up her fight and passed away and my husband’s uncle had a massive heart attack and the prognosis isn’t good.  I don’t deal well with any type of loss (or bad news for that matter)- especially since losing my dad 11 years ago.  My anxiety quickly makes its appearance known.  I don’t sleep well and my mind gets filled with thoughts that make my anxiety worse and worse.  I try to be mindful and stay present – let’s just say that’s still a work in progress for me.  

So what did I do?  I turned to reading.  It’s the one thing that has helped me “escape” my thoughts.  Reading for pleasure and fun – just sitting with a book and getting lost in it. Letting the story take me away to another place – even if only for a short while.  Smiling and being happy.  Just me and my book.  I let go of the idea that I wasn’t paying enough attention to my daughter.  She was perfectly content playing, creating, and sometimes even reading alongside of me – lost in her own world.  I didn’t think about the sad things that had happened.  I “escaped” with book in my lap and coffee in my hand.  Reading brought me the joy I needed, and now I’m hooked again.   I don’t think I realized how much I missed it and how much joy it brings me – hence the rediscovery!  I guess I’ll have to find the balance between doing what needs to be done and getting lost in my books.  It will just have to become one of my priorities!

I’ll gladly accept any fiction book recommendations – I’ve got the reading bug now!  

Thank you to the team of writers at Two Writing Teachers for this wonderful writing community.  A place for us to grow together as writers.  Join us for SOL Tuesdays!

8 thoughts on “#sol 17 – The Joy of Reading

  1. Years ago I read a book by Anna Quinlan called “How Reading Saved My Life.” it’s a slim volume in which she talks about different books serving different purposes for her. I find that true in my life. I had to take all of June off from writing and just read. I’m reading books that help me make sense of this crazy world, but I’m feeling a need for some light reading after a month of the heavy stuff. For example, I read “Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Race in America.” It clarified much and filled in some gaps in my historical knowledge.

    During the school year my reading life suffers as I reread novels I’m teaching and tons of news and current event stories. I teach speech and a college-level Communication class, as well as AP Lit.

    Often I think about how our jobs dictate our reading lives as we try to keep up w/ the books our students need. I wonder if elementary teachers struggle w/ the transition from short works to adult novels because the job demands so much.

    Good novels I’ve read recently: “Mudbound,” “The Underground Railroad,” “The Remains of the Day,” “Homegoing,” “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry,” and “The Hate U Give.”

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  2. I know what you mean about not giving yourself time to do what we ask our kiddos to do…get lost in a book. I tell myself every summer, I must continue this during the school year, but I just can’t seem to muster the ability to give myself the time like I do in summer. My current reads are Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (amazing!!!) and Uprooted by Albert Marrin (nonfiction middle school- also fascinating).

    I’m so sorry for your family trouble but glad you’ve found some solace in reading.

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  3. My heart is melting right now for so many reasons. First, I am so very sorry about your dog. I know that was/is painful. Also very sorry about your family member’s heart attack. Praying for recovery.

    Our lives parallel each other’s in an incredible way. Your reading journey is just like mine. My “gotcha” book was a Danielle Steele novel that I picked up at 19 years old. I then read everything Ms. Steele published until I realized that a steady diet of unrealistic romance novels was not good for my outlook on life. I gave up reading for awhile after that until I discovered that I could enjoy other genres.

    I’m glad that reading is able to help with your anxiety. My husband is currently hospitalized for severe depression and anxiety. I have tried to encourage him to read to escape the dooming thoughts that penetrate his mind. Although he pushes back, I hope he will allow me to read to him when he returns home this weekend. He is still learning how to practice the mindfulness that you spoke of. It sounds very difficult.

    Thanks so much for sharing!!!

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    • I love how you put it – “gotcha” book. That’s exactly what it was. After I posted I remembered the author – Nora Roberts, but can’t think of the title. I’m sure if I saw it I’d remember. My balance now seems to be sappy fiction and professional reading. Not totally balanced but better than I used to be. I’m sorry your husband is going through a tough time. Hopefully he does let you read to him to give him the escape. Mindfulness definitely takes practice. My mind wanders so quickly – especially lately. Sending prayers to you! Thanks for reading 😀

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