Saturday, July 10, 2010

Why I never have enough time.....

It never fails.  I start off the day with little on my to-do list and grand expectations of reading for hours.  By the end of the evening I realize that I have read little more than fifty pages.  Why is that?  I don't remember being overwhelmed with daily tasks?  Well, let me tell you how I just spent the last thirty minutes and this will shed some light on the distractions of my life.

I sat down to start reading Susan Vreeland's collection of short stories, Life Studies.  (I must confess I am a little embarrassed to be seen carrying this book around due to the rather risque cover art, so it will probably be read only in the privacy of my nook).  After glancing through the table of contents, I turned the page to find the following quote:
The real question is:  To whom does the meaning of the art of the past properly belong?  To those who can apply it to their own lives, or to a cultural hierarchy of relic specialists? -- John Berger, Ways of Seeing, 1977
Ok -- let's count the number of words here:  35.  That means that I have read a whopping one word per minute!  Now why did it take me so long?  Well, it probably took me a matter of seconds to read the two sentences, but they really hit a chord with me so I decided to investigate the book online.  I went to Amazon and read the description.  It sounded good.  I scrolled further down and read the reviews, which were mixed but interesting.  I decided to see if my local library carried the book.  It did not - but it was easily ordered through our terrific inter-library system.

But then I was still curious, so I returned to the Amazon site and surfed through the list of books that were mentioned as other possible interests.  I found two or three that sounded worthy of further investigation, which led to reading more book reviews, searching the online library catalog, and requesting a hold.

And so, thirty minutes later I am once again sitting on my couch ready to start reading the first story in the collection.  That is, of course, until an interesting footnote leads me on another internet exploration. 

16 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I love books that make me think and do a little research like that!

Kaye said...

Serendipity! When I read The Guernsery Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I got so caught up in the settting that I spent literaly hours online looking at photos and travel tours etc. Same thing happened to me when I re-read Rebecca. Cornwall just intrigues me to no end. Yes, it is so easy to go off on these mental tangents I am surprised you could do all that in only a half an hour.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

LOL - I do the same exact thing! I also have a habit of heading online to investigate and then ending up "spoiling" the ending for myself...ha.

lifeonthecutoff said...

Molly, I am sitting here sheepishly grinning for I, too, start reading one thing and then a word or phrase or picture leads me to another site and before I know it, valuable time has passed. Here is the good thing, however. If you had gotten in your car, or walked, to your library it would have taken a while, hunt down books, information, etc. at the library, sit down to read a bit or make copies, back home, see where I'm going?

Now I feel better for the two hours I spent last night reading all about Harper Lee and Truman Capote, then Gregory . . .

lifeonthecutoff said...

Molly, I am sitting here sheepishly grinning for I, too, start reading one thing and then a word or phrase or picture leads me to another site and before I know it, valuable time has passed. Here is the good thing, however. If you had gotten in your car, or walked, to your library it would have taken a while, hunt down books, information, etc. at the library, sit down to read a bit or make copies, back home, see where I'm going?

Now I feel better for the two hours I spent last night reading all about Harper Lee and Truman Capote, then Gregory . . .

Inside A Book said...

I LOVE tangents in reading! Now I don't do so well with them when I clean, work in my classroom or try to get things done elsewhere, but reading; now that's just serendipity!!

What a great post!

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I think that my life is a series of tangents...one thought leading to others, and then, of course, to the web. It even happens in my sleep (or what passes for sleep with me!). I'll wake up and need to check something out that was triggered by a dream.

So it's only natural that reading would trigger little journeys of exploration!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Uh...I think you're in good company. See, I'm a true crime fan, and because it is always shocking and a TRUE STORY, I spend countless hours trying to find updates, pictures, interviews, etc. You don't even want to know how long I was on the Internet when I read Columbine. I will just flip this around to a positive...we are just curious little people, sponges soaking up information!

Sandra said...

I'm forever checking dictionaries, maps, the Bible, Shakespeare, bios, quotes, etc. while reading and it's half the fun.
You're in for a treat if you start reader John Berger. I've now purchased new and read nine of his books. Everyone knows I rarely pay full price for anything I can get at the library or swap for, but I wanted my own copies to read and love again. I didn't know what I was looking at when it came to art and he's the first person who could clue me in and made it a pure delight. Molly, your 35 minutes were well spent. Happy meandering.

Annie Joy said...

Personally, I believe that you should "flash" the cover! You may get somebody interested in reading the book -- which is a good thing.

Beth F said...

Usually that kind of think happens when I'm supposed to be writing my reviews -- I think I'll just look up a spelling or a fact or the name of a similar author . . . two hours later, I've written exactly 3 sentence. Sigh.

ds said...

Aha! You are a closet Swivel-Head; I am always looking up footnotes (when they exist) and like Beth above, will spend hours investigating spelling, peripheral facts and so forth when I'm supposed to be writing a review.
But now you get to read John Berger! What a delight!

Lisa said...

LOL--you definitely need to be reading far, far away from your computer!

Carolyn said...

Half the fun of reading is the peripheral research (the tangents) we take in the process. You're not alone! And surely the advent of computers/the internet within feet of our favorite reading chair fuels that activity.

Some years ago I met Susan Vreeland at a book event here in So. California. She was newly published (Girl in Hyacinth Blue) at the time. She wasn't the featured speaker, but attendees signed up to go to her little mini-seminar. I did. She shared the story of her bout with cancer. (She's a teacher in the San Diego school district - or at least she was then - see, I just went to her website to make sure of my facts - she retired from teaching in 2000.) I remember vividly her description of the risky chemo she went through (she had one of the really bad cancers, like leukemia), being hospitalized for 30+ days while they pumped her with poison. And how she surrounded herself with her favorite classical music albums (she felt she'd converted other patients to the joy of classical music because she played some of her favorites over and over). She also wrote some famous quotes (that inspired her, from novels and the Bible) and taped them to her hospital room windows (the kind of room where there were windows from each patient's room to the hallways, like intensive care) and many people came to talk to her because of the quotes. She survived, thank goodness, and has gone on to write some more. She's a very beautiful woman. I was so inspired by her humility, her faith. A few of us went up to meet and talk with her briefly after her talk.

christina said...

Haha! As you can see from all the other commenters you are not alone! I do the same thing. And then I think to myself: Christina, you can't even get through your tbr shelves why order me? LOL. Such is the readers' life.

J.T. Oldfield said...

I understand not wanting to carry around certain books. When I read L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad, I didn't want to be caught dead reading it!

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