Adventure 1: Read a Book (the recap)

I’ll confess, I thought it would be easy. I’m a bookworm, for Pete’s sake. Seriously, I am. Not only was I an honors English student throughout high school, college, and even graduate school, but I now spend my weekdays working for a publisher. . . of books.

I picked this “Adventure in Timeless Living” to be our first precisely so that we would have a painless time of it as we eased our way into this full-on baby-steps lifestyle revolution thing.

It should tell you how far gone I am into this whole new hyper-mediated way of life to know that I found reading a book, cover to cover, in a week to be actually pretty hard.

My adventure into Lilith began with a whimper (almost an audible one), as I reluctantly flipped down the lid on my laptop Sunday night. It was later than I had anticipated starting.

“Just a couple of chapters now,” I told myself. “Then I’ll reward myself with a quick Facebook check, swing over to Twitter for a few moments, and make myself read just a little more before bed.”

Yes, I was bribing myself to read with social media. Pathetic, no? I looked longingly at the computer, picked up the book, started to read, and almost immediately reasoned that the reading would be much more fun with a glass of wine on the end table next to me. Up I got, fetched the wine, and tried again.

Hardly a paragraph had passed before I began to notice the whir of my husband’s laptop fan across the room—and not in a good way, either. It irked me. I was reading, and he was, no doubt, playing a game or watching a movie—with his headphones on, no less, so that I wouldn’t even know what exactly he was up to. Totally not fair. Here I was, engaged in the virtuous act of reading, and there he was, frittering away his time on the luscious Internet and distracting me with his noisy old fan.

In a huff of self-righteousness, I packed up my book and my wine and retreated to the bedroom. I did finally manage to make it through a few chapters that night. I added a few more to my tally the night after. And I strolled through another one or two the night following that—though by this time my self-righteousness was quickly giving way to self-indulgence. My reading spells were getting shorter and my chillaxing spells were getting longer.

Meanwhile, our adventure with the kids and their assigned read-aloud, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was following roughly the same pattern. All was not well in Narnia. I read a chapter the first night and one the second night, mostly through sheer coercion and lots of interjected shouts of “Hey! Look! Check out this picture!” The third night, I took a much-needed break, tired of hearing my all-time favorite childhood book maligned and whined against by children who, increasingly, seem to rank entertainment media in the following way:

  1. Computer games
  2. Netflix movies
  3. PBS kids/Qubo/Sprout/any kind of kids TV
  4. “Grown up” TV
  5. Garfield/Calvin & Hobbes/Asterix comic books
  6. Book books

Even the finest book in the world would have trouble fighting its way to the top of that ladder.

Then, about the middle of the week, tragedy struck. We all got busy. Not busy reading—just busy. We had a family night on the town Tuesday. My birthday rolled around on Thursday, and my mother gave me the wonderful birthday gift of a date night out with my husband. Friday was a carnival at the kids’ school. Saturday we had one last outing to Lake Michigan to take full advantage of a beautiful Indian summer weekend.

I cobbled together a few more chapters here and there, but, truth be told, when Saturday evening came around, I wasn’t quite even halfway through Lilith, and we were still only three or four chapters into The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I have no idea how Paul through Mediterranean Eyes was coming along. Not well, I think.

It is at this point in my story that I must say how thankful I am for this blog. If it weren’t for the added accountability of all you untold multitudes out in the ether of the interwebz keeping tabs on me, I might very well have given up. Instead, I kicked it into high gear. (I am an English major, after all, though you wouldn’t guess it to look at me.) During the Rev. Mr. Ken’s semi-occasional Saturday night sermon marathon, I read. While the kids were playing puppets in the living room yesterday afternoon, I read. After they were tucked into their beds last night, I read. And read. And read.

‘Round about eleven p.m., I finished, and, flush with George MacDonald’s fantasy world and Ken’s good Japanese plum wine, I cranked out a quick victory note and crawled into bed to sleep it off. (The fantasy, not the wine. What were you thinking?)

Man, that was a good book. I’m glad I read it. I’m still not finished reading it, in some ways. The story, the characters, the words — they’re all still sploshing around in my head, coursing their way through my being. It’s a little eerie, actually, the way a good story can grab hold of your mind, hold tightly to it, and make you into a slightly different person before it finally lets you go (if it ever does let go).

But enough about that. I write plenty of book reviews, but this is not meant to be one of them.

Here, then, is a wrap up of the week in brief:

Rachel and Lilith: success. (Technically, if you’re being picky about it, the hourglass was empty before the book was finished).

Ken and Paul through Mediterranean Eyes: moderate success. (His eyes were a little bigger than his stomach on this adventure. Though he made it to approximately pp. 90, he’s still got a ways to go on the 560-page tome.)

Kids and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: massive success.

“What?” you may ask in shock. “Did she somehow manage to make those kids sit through fifteen chapters in a weekend?”

Nah. . . I’m no superwoman. We just finished chapter 9 of 17 this evening. It was when we finished chapter eight, though, that the entire week became a total knock-out victory in my book.

“So, what do you guys think?” I asked. “Do you want to read another chapter tonight?”

“Yeah!”

Sweet, sweet victory.

Are you keen to try reading a book in a week? Check out the introductory post for this adventure. 

Have you tried this adventure (or one like it)? Share your experience in the comments.

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3 thoughts on “Adventure 1: Read a Book (the recap)

  1. Pingback: Adventure 1: Read a Book | Life, Old Fashioned

  2. Congratulations! Though I’ve also been a bookworm since, oh, the second grade, I still have to discipline myself to read. I love it when I’m doing it, but when I’m looking at an hour or two or free time and trying to decide between a book, TV, or computer stuff, too often the other media sings a more seductive song. But when I make myself sit down and read, I always feel better for it. Healthier, if you will, and more joyful. (It helps if the book really is good, like Lilith.) Also helpful are much lunch breaks at work. Bringing a book to work ensures that I read at least once a day, and thus encourages me to read more often.

    • Thanks, David! It really was a wonderful book. And thanks for the encouragement to keep going. The battle to find the discipline to ignore the “seductive song” of more exciting media and to find time and motivation to read proper books continues — with varying degrees of success. I don’t plan on giving up the fight, though!

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