Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hello, my name is Katharine, and I am a bookworm...

When I was a kid, my mom and dad were once told at a parent-teacher conference, "We try to get everyone else to read more, but we have to try to get Katharine to read less!"  Even then, I was reading when I shouldn't be — in class, namely — and although most teachers in elementary school were pretty tolerant of it, as I got older they started getting less so.

I can remember in fourth (or was it fifth?) grade, when my teachers finally stopped letting me get by without doing my work.  Apparently I hadn't been doing my assignments all year, and when that information came out at a parent-teacher conference, I had to make up all the assignments I'd missed throughout the year.

After that, I learned that if I did the work and got good grades, most teachers just didn't know what to do with a kid who read in class instead of paying attention but was obviously still a good student.  If I had good grades, how could they justify telling me to put the book away?  Some still did, obviously, but I got away with it an awful lot.

Fast forward to today.  I've been reading a lot lately, more than in previous years.  In the past year, it's started to interfere with my work.  I'm more likely than I used to be to take an hour or an afternoon to finish a particularly engrossing book, and I'm finding that lately I've been reading so much that I'm finding it harder to do any research for my novel — even though I read all the time, very little of that time is spent on the books I've picked out for research.

Obviously, reading is a good thing.  Great writers are great readers, and all that.  But maybe it's time to admit that I might have a teeny little addiction.

One thing I'm trying to do differently is to change what I read while I eat lunch.  I used to take that time to read for pleasure, but I find that's often what gets me into trouble, because I don't want to put the book down and get back to work.  Lately, I've been using that time to read my current "research" book (in this case, Flapper).  I'm also trying to leave my Nook in another room while I work, but that isn't always successful.

It's funny, but that book on procrastination that I read talked about how TV is one of the biggest time-wasters that people use to procrastinate.  I never even think of turning on the TV during the day, so I was pretty pleased when I read that, but the truth is, reading IS my television!

What about you?  What do you love to do that tends to encroach into your workday if you don't watch it?  I don't mean browsing the Internet or checking email and Facebook, as I think those are fairly mindless time-wasters — you're not doing it because you love it, necessarily, but because you're on the computer and it's easy to get distracted.  I'm talking mainly about hobbies or other pastimes that refuse to stay in their own time and place.  What do you find the most difficult to limit during your workday?


Lori said...

Genealogy. I get those Ancestry hints and I'm gonen. Or the DSW shoe sale emails. Either way, I'm toast. :)

What are your favorite books, Katharine? At the moment, I'm reading four (yep - ADD) - Light in August by Faulkner, Little Dorrit by Dickens, The Boy With the Cuckoo-clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu, and Assumption of Right by Annabel Aiden/Devon Ellington.

LOVE Faulkner, Steinbeck, Toni Morrison....


Katharine Swan said...

Oh, it's so hard to pick favorites! I love them all. But I have a big love for the Bronte sisters, especially Anne's second book, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I haven't been reading many classics lately, but I've read some really great mainstream fiction. Check out The Last Child by John Hart -- that was one of the best ones I've read lately. The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry was also amazing, so good that I skimmed it a second time once I was finished -- there were a lot of things you don't pick up on until you find out the truth at the end. I also love YA -- both reading and writing it -- and I highly recommend Lauren Oliver's Delirium (she wrote Before I Fall, also an amazing book).


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