Happiness Project: Reading

I’ve always been a reader. As a child growing up, summer vacation meant getting a new book to read while we were driving. The original in-car entertainment system was a book (well, and playing license plate bingo). In the seventh grade, I read Gone with the Wind in under a week. I love the Little House books. And Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins, Cherry Ames and any of the juvenile mysteries by Phyllis A. Whitney. From Whitney, I found Agatha Christie and a life long love of her work began.

As I got older (and as I began to spend more time on the Internet), reading frequently got pushed to the side. I was lucky that my mom always let us stay up thirty minutes later if we read in bed. Both my brother and I still read in bed each night.

Reading for pleasure is one of the greatest joys there is. You are both entertained and enlightened. I love reading Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and other old classics to get a glimpse into another time. That’s the same reason I love biographies too.

I once had a student claim that she had never read a book for pleasure. I spent the rest of the term finding a book that would appeal to her to read. And I did it. Can’t remember what it was, but she actually read it.

So, when I was setting up my goals for this year’s Happiness Project, adding reading to the list was a natural. In today’s world where “busy” is glorified, taking time to read for pleasure seems like a luxury. But, just like your body, your mind needs some down time. Like the old saying goes, all work and no play makes Jack (and Carla) a dull boy (or girl).

I joined GoodReads.com and welcome you to contact with me there. You’ll see that my book choices can be very eclectic. I have an Audible.com membership and will frequently be listening to one book there while reading another on my Kindle (or Kindle app). Here’s my current book list:

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
The Dangerous Animals Club by Stephen Tobolowsky
Animated Life: A Lifetime of Tips, Tricks, Techniques and Stories from an Animation Legend (Animation Masters) by Floyd Norman

I’m heavy on non-fiction right now, but I usually rotate between fiction and non-fiction. Recent books have included Over-the-Rhine: When Beer Was King by Michael Morgan, The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle, From Dreamer to Dreamfinder: A Life and Lessons Learned in 40 Years Behind a Name Tag by Ron Schneider, Kinsey and Me: Stories by Sue Grafton and How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston. Several of those were read on a recent vacation where both Tom and I read three books in about three days. Delicious!

I’m definitely back in the reading pattern, but I still feel the “I should be working on something else” guilt at times. I need to just block out time that’s designated for reading only. My life will be better for it.

— Carla