Monday, July 13, 2009

I love having time to read

I read a lot.

I know, you are all shocked. Me, too.

When I am working, I spend approximately 70% of my reading time on professional stuff: professional journals like School Library Journal, American Libraries, Booklist and Publisher's Weekly; advanced reader's copies, review copies, picture books for storytimes, novels and nonfiction books for book talks, books that are challenged by patrons or that a coworker asks me to read.

Another 20% of my reading is what I like to call "practical" non-fiction: cookbooks, gardening books, self-help books (I'm a sucker for books on "Making Your Marriage work" or similar topics, sad I know!), religious books, etc.

Those of you who are good with math already know that means I have 10% of my reading time left to devote to: fiction and "not very practical" non-fiction (like this amazing book I once read on the history of string! Fascinating!). The amount of fiction versus non-fiction that makes up this 10% fluctuates pretty wildly from month to month.

Not having a job right now, I find that my ratios have changed pretty significantly. While I still read some of my professional journals, not having to make purchasing decisions cuts down on the amount of time I spend looking at reviews. I haven't read a picture book since the move. I've read some young adult stuff, but that was for fun, not for "work". I've gone from 70% professional stuff to about 10% professional stuff. And I've been making up for it in fun reading. I'm finally making a significant dent in my depressingly long list of books to read "someday". Well, someday is now, and I'm trying to plow through as much as I can.

I haven't read anything that has made me say "Oh, wow! This is my new favorite book!" but I have read quite a few books that are fun, interesting, and well written. This morning I finished The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz, a novel narrated by the fictional Empress of Japan. It tells the story of her movement from commoner to Crown Princess. It has a smooth pace and clean details. Another winner: Keep your mouth shut and wear beige by Kathleen Gilles Seidel, which is a mother-of-the-groom story. My own wedding was an act of theater that played out around me, so I always find wedding stories cathartic, and this one had a great angle: the problem is not the bride, or the mother-of-the-bride, but rather the new girlfriend of the groom's father. It had a unique perspective, and best of all, it dealt with blogging! The Martha Stewart-esque girlfriend is an avid blogger, and the narrator's reaction to reading the blog was the exact same one I would have if I were to meet some too-perfect-to-be-true Big Name Blogger in real life.

Thank you for listening to my book recommendations. When I'm working, I talk about books all day. I miss recommending them and discussing them, but it is nice to have more time to read them!

Also, any My Sister's Keeper fans out there? I love that book, and I enjoyed the movie, but...well. If you've read the book and seen the movie, you'll know why I felt betrayed. BETRAYED. And I am extremely non-judgemental about movie adaptations of books. Luckily, I have Harry Potter to look forward to this week.

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