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On reading

Sometimes I think about all the books I've read and the sheer amount of information I've ingested; the number of brilliant minds and different points of view and  that handful of really great books, and the ones that are perhaps not so great but have been much loved (and read, and reread, and reread again.)

I've read 1,500-2000ish books in the past twelve years (my early record keeping was, er, a bit faulty, and I didn't count rereads the first three years and there were a LOT of rereads), and "I have become a part of all that I have read", or rather, it has become a part of me.

Someone once asked me rather scornfully if I thought reading so much and so widely made me better than other people. Well, that's an awkward question, and one which you hopefully already know my answer to (that answer being "of course not"): but I can absolutely say that it made me a better person than I would have been otherwise.

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
elvenjaneite
Jan. 31st, 2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
"I have become a part of all that I have read", or rather, it has become a part of me.

Of course! Otherwise, what's the point, for author or reader?

I say this, of course, as a reader myself.
eattheolives
Feb. 1st, 2012 05:56 pm (UTC)
hear hear!
elvenjaneite
Feb. 2nd, 2012 12:22 pm (UTC)
Slightly random comment, displaced from my blog because it's public and this is a bit ranty.

Basically my TMI story is as follows: I was reading along, mildly annoyed with some things and then I got to a point where Jace quotes a line from Dante's Paradiso about love: "The Love which moves the sun and the other stars." And I got SO ANNOYED I couldn't finish the book. Which I realize is kind of ridiculous, but I took a medieval intellectual history class senior year and the last thing we read was the Paradiso, and I loved it and the whole POINT of that very important quote is that Love is not earthly love, not love for mother or father, or even beloved. It's GOD's love through which all other loves flow and have their being. And Jace is quoting it like the love referenced is his and Clary's. I COULDN'T TAKE IT. It summed up everything that bugged me about their relationship. So I stopped reading. But I really like Clockwork Prince! I don't know what the difference is, except that it seems less melodramatic and more self-aware.
eattheolives
Feb. 3rd, 2012 12:43 am (UTC)
I can't even articulate what happened for me. I LOVED the first book. Loved Jace, loved Clary, loved it all (even though the writing was, yanno.) By the second book, I was less enthusiastic. Third, even more so. The fourth I only finished because I couldn't stand to leave a series unfinished after I'd spent so much time on it. It just felt completely uninteresting to me.

The Clockwork books just seem a lot more ... I dunno. Less angsty, even though they ARE sometimes angsty. Mainly I think I just like Will and Jem. :D Will's sarcasm is priceless.
elvenjaneite
Feb. 3rd, 2012 01:09 am (UTC)
Yes! Same thing for me. And I think it's mostly because their LOVE is so consuming and unironic. I mean, Jace is LITERALLY SERIOUS when he quotes Dante. I can imagine Will being all, "Dude, you seriously need to chill out about this Clary girl." Except in Will-speak.

And yes, I agree about less angsty even though they are angsty. But the angst feels real rather than manufactured, maybe?

What really puzzles me is the fact that it's the same person writing both. Does not compute. Like I read Clockwork Angel and then going into the fourth book, I thought, "Well, I liked CA so much--maybe this one will be less annoying than the last two TMI books!" Nope.
melyndie
Jan. 31st, 2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
And it makes you a better librarian too!
eattheolives
Feb. 1st, 2012 05:57 pm (UTC)
VERY true!
belovedwarrior
Jan. 31st, 2012 09:18 pm (UTC)
How Beautiful, Marie!

I wish that I would have recorded all the books that I have read in my lifetime. I used to read more voraciously than I do now. In fourth grade, where I really hit my reading peak, I read at least a book a day, often hitting the three-a-day mark. It would depend on the length of the book because I would read (nearly) anything I could get my hands on from Shakespeare to The Saddle Club to Steinbeck to The Babysitter's Club. I often wonder if I read more books in that one year than I have since then. :) Definitely if you combine fourth, fifth and sixth grades.

But then, I had much more time. I live in a tiny town with no girls my own age within a reasonable distance when winter travel was impossible. In the summer, only ONE friend was close enough for me to ride my bike. So I read. I even snuck into the highschool (because my mother's bedroom was connect to the English classroom) and read their books.

I used to prop my book up inbetween the textbook and read while the teacher was reading. I read when I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner. I read when I walked. I read when I biked. I hated showering because it was the one thing I couldn't do when reading.

Oh, I was a real popular kid. ;)
eattheolives
Feb. 1st, 2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
I can't tell you how much I wish I'd started keeping reading lists earlier. And kept better records the first few years - I read VORACIOUSLY back around 2000, before I had a full time job. Seriously, I remember spending the majority of each afternoon lying in bed reading. And I was rereading my favorites a lot (Gone with the Wind six times in one year, if I recall), so I'm guessing I was easily reading double what I do now.

I used to prop my book up inbetween the textbook and read while the teacher was reading. I read when I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner. I read when I walked. I read when I biked. I hated showering because it was the one thing I couldn't do when reading.

Yep, that was pretty much me there for awhile! I have so many pictures of me hanging over the side of the bathtub so I could read. :D
belovedwarrior
Feb. 1st, 2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
I was not allowed to take baths because I fell asleep more than once and didn't easily wake up, even to the sound of my mother and brother pounding on the bathroom door. It wasn't until they were off finding tools to break the door down that I woke up. :)

Also, you can do the proper bathing part while reading, so I showered as quickly as possible. :)

Lately, my reading oodles of books in the elementary years has paid off greatly. I work with a lot of students who read well below grade level. Because they are such poor readers, they don't like to read and since they don't read, they are poor readers. The challenge is to break the cycle by finding the perfect book(s) that will hook them, give them success and make them into a reader. Since I've read a lot, I have a broader base.. and a lot of what I have read is YA. I am convinced I will hook people through the Graveyard Book. :D

I have heard, through the grapevine, that a gifted and talented teacher position is opening up in Fargo. I will apply. How odd it will be to work with students that love reading!
eattheolives
Feb. 3rd, 2012 12:44 am (UTC)
Oh, that's wonderful - putting all those years of reading to excellent use. :)
mandajanie
Feb. 1st, 2012 03:06 am (UTC)
I wish I kept book lists. Goodness knows how many I've read and, like you, I've done lots of re-reads as well. I <3 books!
eattheolives
Feb. 1st, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
I wish SO much I'd started keeping a list much sooner.
greyeyedpixie
Feb. 1st, 2012 01:49 pm (UTC)
I can absolutely say that it made me a better person than I would have been otherwise.

Excellent answer! :)
chestnutcurls
Feb. 1st, 2012 08:26 pm (UTC)
Well said!
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )