Over the last 24 hours I have become increasingly concerned about the amount of time I am now spending reading.
This concern is endorsed by two of my cultural icons.
“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”
Matilda the Musical
“Somewhere on a show I heard / That a picture tells a thousand words / So telly, if you bothered to take a look / Is the equivalent, of like, lots of books!”
But my concern is less broadly philosophical than this. Because I wholeheartedly believe in the intrinsic value of books and reading, for the mind and (gag a little here, if you will) for the soul.
My disquiet is entirely more lowbrow and egocentric than that. I have become a little worried that I have become more focussed on the project timeline / being ahead of the curve than I am on the novels themselves, their content and well, enjoying the experience. I don’t want to look back at this summer and think “well, at least I was always ahead of my plan”. That seems to be missing the point somewhat.
So, after much soul searching I have decided to:
a) Scrap the ‘ahead of the curve’ graph, accepting that at the pace I am reading I will remain well ahead of the curve
b) Junk the daily reading targets (as above)
c) Focus on enjoying the experience of reading: grabbing a blanket, some ice cream, a gin and tonic, some sun or whatever else I feel like to really enjoy this incredibly pleasurable, decadent (and yes, somewhat self-absorbed) adventure.
So other elements of my life may suffer (notably health, if I consume gin and /or ice cream whenever I am reading), but damn it, I am going to thoroughly enjoy the process.