Getting reacquainted with my mind’s eye.

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaena Rae has read 12 books toward her goal of 50 books.

So. First entry in a long while.

I constantly tell myself, “You will write again!” Never comes to fruition. I blame lack of time/commitment/skills/everything.

But! At least I’m reading again. I used to be a voracious reader, but I’ve slacked off the last couple of years. This year will be different. I’ve missed reading.

In a recent issue of American Libraries Magazine, I read an interview with Jeanette Winterson, a writer I randomly discovered two years ago.

I love what she says about books, and reading in general:

“When we learn to read, it’s a real product of civilization and a civilized society. It affects your brain. It affects the way you think, and it gives you that capacity for self-reflection that you simply do not have without the agency of books.

I learned that capacity for self-reflection very early, finding it through those wonderful interior monologues that books are so good at and that visual media is so bad at because it’s so boring—nothing’s happening. In a book, you can be inside the narrator’s head for 50 pages, and nothing needs to happen. Then you learn to be inside your own head without something needing to happen. It’s a very good antidote to a crazy, restless, “what’s next?” culture—that you can just be in your own head and nothing is happening except that this is a rich place. I love that.

I love the apparent quiet of reading a book. You sit there; you’re not really moving. It looks very solitary. It looks very boring, but actually it’s the most exciting place because it’s going on for you, and you’re in that relationship. In that sense, it’s like being with a lover. Nobody else can intrude on that space. It’s the two of you. It’s your own world. But from that private world, which is so rich, you go out into the wider world equipped with ways to think about it and ways to live in it. I don’t think there’s any better way to do that than through a book.”

The last paragraph up there. Yes, please. That is precisely what I’ve missed about reading. I also always felt that reading somehow makes me a better person. Perhaps that’s the capacity for self-reflection that Winterson mentions. I’ve been so dazzled and preoccupied by all the flash of the Web, particularly other people’s blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
It’s time to slow down and really recharge. With literature.
So. I’m on No. 13 of 50 books. I’m doing rather well. According to my Goodreads account, I only read 21 books last year. In 2009, I devoured about 43 books. Impressive, but I’ll likely beat that record this year. Next year I’ll aim for 75 books.


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