I've always considered myself a reader. You know, one of those people who have read everything, who other people go to for a recommendation. During the '80's I worked in a book store for several years while I was a struggling actress. I would have made more money waiting tables, but I loved that store, and got a great employee discount. I remember that feeling of standing in front of the literature section and accessing how many books I still hadn't read, and knowing that there just wasn't enough time to read them all.
I've usually averaged three books a month. Nothing crazy, but pretty avid. I even keep a book journal - I have probably 20 years of thoughts and impressions on every book I've read. Sometimes I'll write pages and pages about a book, other times only a sentence or two. Last night, I opened up this book journal and took a look...hmmm...
2001 - 36 books.
2002 - 34 books (but one of them was The Glory and the Dream, a 1700 page, two part history of America by William Manchester, so...).
2003 - 13 books. Hmm. That's quite a drop off. What could have happened...oh, that's right. That's the year Jude was born.
2004 - 10 books (but one was Atlas Shrugged, which, because of the mid-book 40 page diatribe on the history of capitalism, should count as 2).
2005 - 10 books (but one of them was Tatum O'Neal's autobiography, and shouldn't really count as a book).
2006 - 9 books.
2007 - 6 books (AAARRRRGGGHHH!!)
2008 - OH my God. Could this be true? 4 books (I hung my head in sorrow).
I was stunned and saddened. Is this what motherhood has done to me? Is it that I simply don't have time anymore? Is it that I'm so fried by the end of the day that I don't seem to have to brain power for anything more stimulating than watching America's Next Top Model and playing Farm Town on the computer? What has become of me???
Then I had a realization. I DO read. Every day. It's just that for the last six years, the books I read have been very short, and I read them out loud.
And Jude and I REALLY do read. Lots and lots of reading. It's one of our very favorite things to do together. And it's fun for me too. I can't describe the delight I feel when he loves a book that I grew up loving. Curious George. The Little Bear series. Ferdinand. Babar. These are guys I grew up with, and sharing them with him is such a joy!
And now we're finally to...chapter books! Woohoo! I'd been waiting for this. Over the last year we plowed through almost everything by Beverly Cleary, 36 Magic Tree House books, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (even better than I remembered), the first Harry Potter book...I've even enjoyed the first 5 books in the Captain Underpants series!
The other night we started...I hold my breath with glee...Stuart Little! Hehehehhe. I'm so excited. I've even pulled out my very own copy that I've saved since I was little. Next up? The Wind in the Willows. Then...drumroll...The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. AH, bliss.
So, I guess I am still a reader. I figure that as Jude starts reading more on his own, he'll want me to read to him less. Which will free up my time to read my own books. Which makes me really, really sad.