I get asked this question a whole lot: how do you read so much?
I answered in my vlog (vlog!), but it took me six minutes and it was just me talking and…boring. I don’t know anything about video, but that can’t be interesting. So, how do I read so much?
Second, the actual answer is super boring. It’s that I don’t have a lot of other hobbies. I don’t like to go out with friends too much. I am not a big talker. I like to bake, but there’s only so much baking I can do without making myself sick. I don’t like much television–I can’t take dramas or anything where anyone is in danger of any kind without feeling high amounts of anxiety (Gregg is the same way, and so are my kids), so that pretty much leaves documentaries (snoooooze) or shows like Community, which constantly get cancelled or turn terrible when Dan Harmon gets fired.
So. I read.
The more complex answer is: reading is a muscle. The more you read, the faster you get, and the easier your brain processes the information. This is not to say that slow readers are dumb. This is to say that it’s like running, or weight-lifting, or anything else. You wouldn’t expect someone who had been running every single day to be in the same shape as someone who only ran twice a week, no matter what. The more you run, the easier it is for your body to run (well, unless you injure yourself), and the more you want to run. Reading is the same way. I always have a book with me. (This is one of the reasons I love e-readers–then I can have MULTIPLE books in one purse.)
The first year I started reading for fun (I was not a reader growing up–I was a TV and movie lover) was in 2002, I think. I read 30 books and felt like a GENIUS. 30! The next year I read a few more, and the year after, a few more. I can’t remember what I read last year, but it hovered around 100. I think I’ll make it past that mark by September or October this year.
I say all of this with a caveat: I do not think reading is a morally superior pastime. Sometimes it’s really not a very good one (like when I’m reading many, many trashy things). I don’t think it’s better than movies or TV or talking on the phone or hanging out with friends. It’s simply better for me. Reading and writing have saved me, but that doesn’t mean they are good for everyone. Just like I’d really like to high-five Jesus, but I can see how you might not want to. (I do not have an evangelizing bone in my body. SORRY JESUS.) Jesus isn’t for everyone. Books aren’t for everyone. Blogs aren’t for everyone. It turns out people are individuals, and we have to find the right things for ourselves.
It’s just that I can connect with words on a page better than I can connect when people are talking, and I just feel better when I watch less TV. My anxiety is at a low simmer when I don’t have to worry about those victims on CSI: Indianapolis, or wherever. AND there are a bunch of books I cannot POSSIBLY delve into (mystery, Stieg Larrrrsssssonnn books, Tana French, anything where a child goes missing or is murdered as a key plot point).
So, a very large part of the Internet gave me many gifts, and I feel overwhelmed by love, and totally undeserving. It is not the gifts, because your emails and DMs and comments also make me feel undeserving. Your kindness and understanding and heartfelt LIKE of me makes me feel undeserving.
And I realized that I simply CANNOT deserve you people. There is no way. I am going to try my best to be a good person, and I think that’s all I can do, or be. I need to listen to the overwhelmingly large portion of humanity that is good, always, and see the smaller, less wonderful parts as just that: small. It’s easier to overcome darkness and hate when love and light are much bigger.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.