How many books do you think you could read in, say, a year, if you had all the time you wanted to read? I’m thinking about this question right now because I’m on “summer vacation” and am not doing as much reading as I thought I might. I put summer vacation in quotation marks because I don’t want anyone to think I’m doing no work whatsoever — I have work-related writing projects to agonize over and a class to teach beginning very soon. But I do have extra time right now, and what I’m finding is that I read about the same amount as I did when the semester was in full swing and I was busy.
It seems that I read about the same amount year-round, maybe a bit more during the summer, but not as much as I expect. During the school year I look forward to the summer and eagerly anticipate all the books I’ll rip through, but when the time comes, I read just about the same amount as ever, and I spend any extra time I have on … I’m not sure what.
I’m beginning to think that there’s only so much I can read at any one time, only so many hours a day. That’s roughly true — there are always exceptions, like the times I can’t put a book down and will sit with it for hours. But generally, if I sit still with a book for too long I get antsy, and if I spend too many days in a row doing little but reading I get restless.
So — why do I look forward to vacation as a time I’ll get so, so much reading done? I’m not a binge reader, capable of doing enormous amounts of reading all at once. Better to think of myself as a slow and steady reader who can consistently read, say, four or five books a month and that’s it. And why do I wish I didn’t have to work so I could spend more time reading? Because I probably wouldn’t spend all that time reading. I’d still read 50 or 60 books a year and fill the extra time with something else.