My Wife’s Reading Habits

2 Jan

I’m a lifelong reader, the kind of person who always has a book nearby, but I in 2017, my wife had me beat.

During the holidays, I overheard my wife talking to one of her friends. At one point, my wife mentioned that she had read about 52 books last year. That stopped me cold. Fifty-two? That’s a book a week. I thought back over the year and recalled what I saw every day. My wife always had a book with her at home. She isn’t one to read on her phone, and she rarely does an audiobook. But she ends each evening by reading a chapter or two of a book. Given enough days, obviously, she completes one and moves on to the next.

Now, my wife is also the type of reader who, when she discovers an author and said author has a nice back catalogue, settles in and plows through the author’s past works. Jodi Picoult was the author last year. My wife has now read every novel Picoult has written save the YA one. Impressive. Most impressive.

Lastly, my wife barely has a TBR pile, except, as in the previous example, she discovers an author. She doesn’t troll websites and blogs, reading reviews and collecting lists of authors and books to try. She’s an old-fashioned reader. When she’s needing a book, she’ll go to Half Price or Barnes and Noble and shop. She’ll also read the emails Barnes and Noble sends her. Every now and then, she’ll see a story on TV and want to follow up by reading the book.

Then there’s me. I’m the type of reader with a TBR pile, both virtual and real, stacked pretty high. I read a ton of blogs and many of the recommendations I see intrigue me. I’m also a bit of a distracted reader as well. If I start reading, say, a western and then I watch a really good mystery on TV or read a blog post about the latest SF novel, I’m apt to not only include the second book in my current reading, but also just as likely to stop reading the western because my interests have shifted. Reader ADD I suppose. The process can repeat itself over and over again. The end result is a bunch of half-finished books. Sometimes I can even come around to the year anniversary of discovering/buying a book and realize I never finished it.

Audio is different. When I download a book via Audible, I’m pretty much zeroed in on it until I’m done. Mostly.

If there’s a term for how my wife reads, it’s “mindfully.” She mindfully reads one book until she reaches “The End” and moves on. In that manner, she was able to read a book a month in 2017.

For me, 2018 will be a year of mindful reading. With a full-time job, a commute, and lots of writing to get done, I don’t presume to be able to read a book a month. But I will apply the simple rule of writing to reading: Read a book. Finish what you started. Then do it again. And try to avoid distractions as much as possible. When I assess my reading for 2018 in 363 days, I hope to have improved my reading habit. And I’m ready.

First up: the novel I received at Christmas: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.

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