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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bookaholics Anonymous

Two things I should admit from the start:

1. I LOVE reading!

2. I read really slowly!!

I have gotten a lot better at putting down a book when something else needs to be done. That might not seem so difficult, but it is. Intellectually, I know the story will still be there later, and I won't "miss" anything. But I often don't want to wait to find out what happens... I want to know NOW.

Kids are one -- make that three -- of the major reasons that I do not read as much as I used to.

These days, I only become seriously obsessed by a book if it is really good or if I have to finish it in time for my book club. (you can read more about my book club here)

Well, this month my book club read The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. A book about time travel and a love story! I was hooked from the first page. I read it every free second I could find.

1. It is a LONG book
2. Reading makes me really tired
3. I have been really tired this past week, even without reading (For several nights running, I have been falling asleep before my kids!).

I really wanted to finish the book in time for our meeting.

In a determined effort to finish on time, I began intensely reading my book, to the exclusion of other obligations. I read several hundred pages in several days. I counted on spending a significant part of Wednesday finishing my book in time for the meeting that night. Of course, my daughter's visit to the emergency room put a bit of a damper on my plans. (Read about it here)

This unexpected turn of events made me realize that my principles and priorities had gotten all jumbled up. I mean, I was on the way to the emergency room and I wondered if this would prevent me from finishing my book!!

So, here is my dilemma: How much can a mother ignore her kids in order to finish a book?

For the past few days, I asked the kids to take care of their own dinner, solve their own fights, and basically leave me alone while I finish my book for my book club.

Even while in the emergency room, I tried to read my book at every moment. For a while there, we were a really cute mother and daughter team, both of us with our heads buried in our books. Then my daughter got bored of reading, but I did not want to stop -- I still had almost a hundred pages to go!

Eventually, I had to put down my book, because my daughter was just too miserable. But I did not really want to trade in my entertaining escape for the sadness and boredom that is inevitable after spending all day in the emergency room.

When we finally did get home, I announced to my kids that I was going to read for the last two hours that I had before my book club meeting. They cooperated at first, but, well, you know, all good things come to an end. Finally I just burst out "Call your father for help! Please leave me alone!" (Don't be deceived by the please.... I was not really asking)

I had 70 pages left to go... then 50... then 30...

In the end, I did finish my book, reading the last ten pages in the car on the way to the meeting. (Thanks OEP for picking me up and M for taking me home!!)

I read the last two pages, on a Nachla'ot sidewalk, from the light of someone's apartment, while my friends were trying to figure out how to find our host's home.

I arrived triumphant! I finished the book.... but not quite as smoothly as I had hoped. (Things never to work out quite as smoothly as we hope, do they?)

The discussion was dynamic! I was totally into it. I love analyzing books!!

The biggest advantage to finishing a book so close to our meeting?

The details are still fresh in my mind!


OK, now it is your turn! Please share your most outrageous story of ignoring your kids in order to finish a book!

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


rickismom said...

I can totally relate! I have lost HOURS of needed sleep over books. I usually fall asleep over them.....

Robin said...

I'm a fast reader but that's almost worse in a way, because if I get stuck into a good book I'll ignore EVERYTHING to do nothing but read until it's all over!

PS Look for a birthday letter from me soon. Things were too crazy around here the last few weeks to sit down and do it, but now that everything has thankfully resolved I'm feeling a lot lighter and less stretched.

PPS My word verification thingie for this post is "annizate". Is that not a cool word or what?

Anonymous said...

I have let the bath over-run and spill over the sides because I was reading Harry Potter!


Anonymous said...

no stories now, but i agree - that's a great book! it reminded me of a short story (maybe heinlen?) that i read a million years ago in a sci-fi collection. remind me to find it for you.
shabbat shalom

RivkA with a capital A said...

Na'amah -- glad I did not have to clean that one up!

BW -- I think you are thinking of "Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury. It is my favorite short story of all time!!

I can email it to you if you want.

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love that book. It's one of my favorites.

How can I find out what books are being discussed at the Barnard club? If it's a book I love so much I'll come?

Sarah B.

Anonymous said...

I wish I knew too about the book club - then maybe I'd read it faster - I keep getting confused about the dates and have to keep going back to try to put it into context - so far the book isn't a page turner for me, but my daughter said it all comes together in the end.

Kind of embarrasses me to read the sex parts knowing my daughter also read them (she's almost 24 but I'm still embarrassed). It's her book.

would be nice to talk about the book with others - otoh, I let too much slip by already - panicing about Pesach yet still not doing any major cleaning.