Reader’s Woes


For many, getting back in the routine of school is hard because their summers were spent sleeping in and watching too much reality television. They complain for the first month of school about how much work they have and how they have no time to complete it.

I have similar complaints, but I’m not yearning to return to the tube to watch a marathon of Teen Mom. I want back all the books I was able to read, and the many that I still want to read.

I’m aware that this is very lame, seeing as most people look forward to the break as a time to take in as little knowledge as possible and absorb as much mindless trash TV as they can. I know how this makes me look – a creepy boy who spends his summers checking off books from his extensive reading list.

My sun kissed skin is the result of too many hours laying on a hammock in my backyard. My callused hands are not the product of a summer spent playing, but turning pages every minute or so. One might mistake me for actually having done something other than read this summer, but don’t be fooled.

I guess there’s something not socially conventional about restricting yourself from any contact with real people and staying home for hours on end just to finish some of your favorite literature? I don’t know. But to me, it is bliss. Just like some find pure enjoyment from a great conversation or some extra rest, I have a feeling of absolute happiness when I finish a good book. And I miss that feeling.

School has ironically enough restricted me from getting my reading done. Now back in a seven hour routine, I am no longer being rewarded for exploring literature outside of the class curriculum. In a way, I’m actually getting punished. I’m spending approximately 23 hours of the day working on homework, attempting to get anything more than five hours of sleep, and loathing the fact that I no longer have the free time I once so enjoyed.

I’m lucky enough to spend a few hours on weekends to return to my aloof state of confinement. I call it a break. I suppose that reading after a week of schoolwork isn’t that relaxing, but when you enjoy what you read, it’s pretty nice.

Others are out on their weekends eating dinner with friends, going to parties. You know, normal stuff. While they’re having their extravaganzas, I’m spending some time with my friends – Vonnegut, Sedaris, Franzen – some literary icons that I follow religiously. We too are talking, but it’s more just me listening to them, and I don’t think that’s very social.

Don’t get me wrong – I have somewhat of a life, right? It’s just that reading is… a hobby?

I’m going to stop writing about this before I embarrass myself any more. I hope you don’t think I’m completely insane, and I’ll think the same about you.

Photo: Flickr – Magic Madzik

This opinion column was originally in “The Epic” Issue 2.