As a child, I loved reading. And not necessarily in a cute, normal way. A regular kid might steal off to a sunny corner with a good book on the rare occasion. I went to that corner every day. At the expense of other activities, like cartoons, and sugar. (Well, sometimes, at least.)
Over time, my growing tendency to read any and everywhere at the expense of all else simply became more and more pronounced.
In grade school, it was a good thing. As I plowed through books like it was my job, my parents heard about how “advanced” of a reader I was. She reads at an 8th grade level! She reads at a 10th grade level! She reads like a college student!
In high school, the busiest time of my life until that point so far, reading (sadly) took more a back seat than I wanted. I slept little, did homework all the time, ran ragged at sports practices, and on the rare occasion I had a free moment I spent it obsessing over college. But on vacations – oh on vacations! We’d go away for a week and I’d tear through ten books. This is what I was meant to be doing, I’d sigh! And then I’d be back in real life, where we read ten pages a week in the crappy English class at my crappy public high school.
In college, I had more free time than in high school (something about not having to be in class for ten hours a day helped that), and reading for pleasure and personal knowledge came back into my life. A bit. I still had four or five classes a quarter, many of which required a book a week of reading, though, so my personal consumption was necessarily still limited.
In the years after college, though, my world opened again, like it had as a child. Suddenly, I had so many more hours in the way where I could read! Sure there was work, and family, and friends, and all the regular sorts of life commitments we sign up for by the sheer nature of becoming adults, but – more or less – I owned my time more than I did in the past.
And it was in this era, when I felt I owned my time almost as much as I did as a child, that I realize that not everyone read like I did.
See Part 2 tomorrow…