To Read or Not To Read (What a Question!)

DSCN0294I love to read. I would rather read a book than do anything else. As you know from earlier posts I have lots of books, ebooks, and audio books that I have not read yet. However, I often like to read a book I have already read. I only keep books that I want to read over and over. It is like visiting old friends.

I have lots of other things in my life too, like a job and my writing, that take up time. If I am rereading a book I sometimes feel guilty that I should be doing something else. These old familiar stories are like a safe harbor to me and I know I use them to avoid uncomfortable situations. In otherwords, I procrastinate by rereading books.

I often want to use books as a reward for finishing something on my list but I find myself drawn to the book and unable to resist. I tell myself I’ll get back to my list as soon as I read just a little more. I know this is backwards but I cannot seem to stop. But stop I must.

To read or not to read? What a question! I think I need to cut back on my reading. Since I find it so enjoyable I wouldn’t want to get rid of it all together. That of course is the problem. Reading could be thought of as a good addiction. But any addiction needs to be dealt with. I simply have no solution.

Many years ago at my first Nanowrimo I boxed up my most tempting books and brought the box over to a friend’s house. She kept it for me so I couldn’t read when I should be writing. I can’t do that every day but it certainly worked then.

Most, but not all of the books I reread are on my iPod Touch. I could run the battery down, thus making it a worthless paperweight, or I could lock it up somewhere until I finish my list. The problem is I use it to check my email and Facebook when I am not at my computer. Keeping it in a different room apart from where I do my writing might keep me from reading but the temptation would still be there.

I feel like an addict. I want to solve my problem but not if I have to stop reading. I know I can read some each day but it really needs to be less. Perhaps I can decide that I will only read at certain times. The rest oft the time I would do other things. That might work if I stick Post-It notes around so I don’t forget.

I have one other drastic idea. In the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England the older books are locked in cages. You may use the books but you may not remove the books. Perhaps I could lock up the books on my shelves somehow, making them impossible to remove. I would leave the ones I hadn’t read alone so that I can read the new ones and not take up my  time rereading my favorites.

I may need to figure out how to make this work but I do like the idea of the cage. It feels very medieval.

“We don’t need a list of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts: we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.” — Philip Pullman