I’m going to just come out and say it. I’m a much better reader when I don’t have to think too much. Perhaps that’s an oversimplification, but there’s no denying that I read nonfiction at an achingly slow pace, and because of my own personal (and also perhaps silly) preferences, I often find myself stalled in my reading. And it’s all Nonfiction’s fault.
When I’m reading a novel, especially one in which I feel some sort of kinship with the protagonist, I’m constantly looking for ways in which I can sneak off and grab a few minutes (or an hour) to read on my own. Sure kids, run around the yard, Mommy’s going to sit over here on the bench and read. I’ll stop and mend your bumped knees or soothe a sibling argument, but I’m going to let you be kids and let me be stolen away by a novel for a little while.
Even when I don’t have book in hand, my thoughts often find their way back to the story, or I begin wondering what the character is doing right this moment, as if she or he was actually a living, breathing person co-existing on the planet. I long to reunite with these characters, if only for a few minutes while I wait for the oven to heat up as I prepare to make dinner.
Then there’s nonfiction. Oh, the potential I see in nonfiction titles. When I first come upon one that seems to be perfect for a child-rearing issue at hand, or on a developmental topic that is of interest to my early childhood education professional self, I’m nothing but hopeful. THIS will be the book that helps find answers to the questions that plague me. THIS will be the book that I convince my husband to read as well, so that we can strengthen our parenting skills in sync. THIS will be the book that I actually finish in less than two months.
Then reality hits, and the reality is that I put way too much pressure on the poor nonfiction books. Unlike a novel that I pick up to escape, the nonfiction titles I select require hard work, deep introspection, and lots and lots of highlighter ink. When I’m prepping dinner, I’m more likely to pop in a Glee CD than pick up my nonfiction book, because I can’t spend just ten minutes with its words. I feel the need to be so fully present, highlighter in hand, ready to absorb each and every word.
As a result, I get stuck. That’s where I am as I write this. Not one, not two, but three nonfiction books are staring at me from the shelf across the room. I’ve already started two of them. A month ago. I’m no more than 50 pages in on either. The third book was recommended as a follow-up to one of the others, and I’ll be happy if I get to that one by year’s end. But, being the dork that I am, I feel obligated to finish these before moving on to another book, because once I start a new novel? Well, it’s obvious that these nonfiction books won’t stand a chance in the competition for my time and attention.
So, I’m off to push myself to read more about talking about sex with your children, and to explore the idea of the negative side to behavior management, and then to relate that idea specifically to parenting. Oh! I almost forgot that I’m also determined this summer to read about ways to help my son develop better organizational skills in light of his ADHD, and that has to be done before school starts again in August. Pressure!
See? So much potential in areas that are absolutely relevant to my life. I love nonfiction for all the support it can offer me, but I can’t help but hate how long the reading process takes me.
Dawn loves talking about reading and books (along with even more overly enthusiastic use of parentheses) on her blog, too, at my thoughts exactly.