When teaching, I used the following question for defining a reader with my students: The question is not “what have you read?” but “what are you going to read next?” After all, anyone can read a book, but that doesn’t make him a reader.
In fifth grade that’s a pretty good standard, and it kept my students on their toes. Now as I mother, I find using the same question on myself is deceptive.
Am I a reader because I have a list of books I want to read, or am I a reader when I actually find/make the time to read? I think we can all agree that it’s the latter and I’ll be the first to admit that aside from the litany of board books I read daily, I haven’t always been a reader myself. The books I read to the children, and the scriptures I read at night, don’t count in this equation.
Last fall our women’s association at church started a book group, and once they worked out the kinks and got in with the “book group to go” kits from the library, I joined. (Nope, buying a new book every month was just not in the budget.) I had been working for the past year to recreate interest in fiction, to add variety to my life but in no way detract from my love affair with non-fiction. (My first attempt, as many of my friends may recall, didn’t work out so well, but then, I had rashly decided to jump right into the pond with both feet.)
Now I am reading a novel every month, careful to chase them with my beloved non-fiction so as not to trigger the apocalypse. I have about 5 books on the go right now, and am content to describe myself as a reader for the first time in quite a while.
Now if you’ll excuse me, the boys are down and I must get back to my book. (Today: Parenting with Love and Logic.)