English: Stack of books in Gould’s Book Arcade, Newtown, New South Wales (NSW), Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am your average post-apocalyptic/sci-fi/fantasy guy. When it comes to books, I look for a bit of escapism into another world, or a varied version of this one, but have never been into non-fiction. I deal with this reality on a daily basis, no need to rub it in with a book.
But, ever since kids entered the story of my life, the first thing they did away with was the time needed to read a book. Between the feedings, the diaper changes, the “entertain me or I will scream”-ings, and then time to spend with my wife being sure we have the time to connect as adult partners and not just as mommy and daddy…books have simply been removed from the list of priorities.
This is not to say that I have not been reading, in fact I now read approximately between 5 and 15 books a day…out loud none-the-less. Though these books tend to be geared for a much younger audience and often have rhyming schemes that my typical post-apocalyptical books leave out. When I was preparing to go to Myanmar in the summer of 2007, I began to keep a book journal simply to track the books and authors that I read. During the 22 months between my arrival in Myanmar and the birth of my first son, I read 38 novels. Not too impressive, but I was also living in a country with very limited book resources and having fun discovering a new country with my wife, etc. But, this equal out to roughly 1.7 books a month, and given that most of the books I read are in excess of 700 pages, I don’t think that is too bad. Well, since the arrival of K to this day, 42 months later, I have only been able to read 24 books (sans children books), which is about .6 books a month. Not cool.
Not cool…but that is the reality of having children. They are little time sucking machines, and the time they consume is coming from us the parents. So, priorities shift. And while I once would stay up well past midnight tearing through a book, I now know that come 5am, or 4:45 this morning, one of my boys will be up and demanding food, a diaper change, and entertainment. I have even tried reading my books out load to them, like it was one of their own…but, Stephen King does not quite sound like Julia Donaldson, no matter how much I try.
Speaking of staying up way late to read a book, something awesome happened here this past week. I busted K a good hour and half after lights out on his bed, headlamp turned on, “reading” his books. The kid is only 3.5 years but is already sneaking reading time into his routine after lights out. Now, I remember doing this quite a bit when I was a youth, but that would be late elementary, not preschool. I couldn’t help myself from smiling and being very proud of my son…even if I had to insist that he turns off his headlamp, put his books away, and go to sleep dammit!!
I recently read the blog post “Tomorrow has been 21 years in the making” on Puddintopia. The entry is about the bloggers relationship with a significant story line from the books I have been following for much of my mature life, the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. This is a 14 book long story, which after about book 8 or 9 I stopped following. But reading this entry convinced me that it was time to make reading a priority again, maybe not as high as a priority as changing diapers, feeding kids, and general entertainment services, but still a priority.
So I have downloaded the first few books to my Kindle and have been reading…and it is still great. I admit, it has taken some time away from my blogging duties and I get a bit frustrated when I have to stop mid-sentence at a climatic point do to the unexpected end to nap time, but it has been nice getting back to that reality. As a hemmapappa, a little escape from this reality goes a long way to keeping the batteries charged.
I would love to hear recommendations of the books you read for a bit of escapism as well, so please feel free to leave a comment.