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On Leisure and Reading

May 6, 2014

I’m the kind of person who can’t just do stuff she’s been wanting to do forever. The time has to be right. There has to be a rhyme or a reason. It has to fit.  People who know me, know this very anal retentive thing about me.

If it’s something like reading, well, I can’t just read. I have to have the psychic space, the time, the capacity to read. Especially in the case of reading, the decks have to be cleared so I can kick back and absorb the moment fully without worrying that other stuff isn’t getting done. Those other things have to be done. I might even have to have a clean house or at least order around me. I have to have peace.. not literally, but peace in my head, an openness, a readiness.

I am a champion book collector. I buy so many books, it’s a little disturbing. I so love the idea of reading and the expectation that I am going to have the time, soon, to read, that I acquire books at an alarming rate. I have books stacked up everywhere–in baskets, on shelves, on end tables of various sorts. I read reviews (and then buy the book). I listen as other people rave about the book they’re reading (and then buy the book). I listen to stories about books on the radio with great enthusiasm (and then buy the book). I love receiving books.

And yet.

I never read. I have the intention, and, as I said, the expectation. But the time just hasn’t been right. Too much other stuff on my plate. Super, super important stuff, you guys. (Uh..)

I’m not even that bothered by any of this. It’s weird. I just know I will read when I am ready.

(I should mention here, I read a lot, but not books. I read articles, and essays, and Facebook, and online news stories. I even read a bit of the newspaper. It’s not like I don’t consume info. And, I should also clarify: I read other people’s draft novels.. in the last few years, I’ve proofread and/or edited four of these.. two non-fiction, two fiction… and I love that. But it’s not the for pleasure kind of reading I’ve been longing to have the time/space for.)

So… all that said… guess what!  I have started a book and I am now in the middle of it. I have had this [growing] definitive stack of “must reads” in my office, about twenty books all ready to go, but this particular book jumped to the top of the stack because Jim gave it to me for Christmas (2013) and I was too embarrassed not to make it my first.. since it was the latest and greatest acquisition (of the gift variety).  It’s gotten very impressive reviews and when I say I’m reading it, most people nod in recognition, or, in many cases, have already read it.

I feel so awesome when I’m in that club. Self esteem points way up.

I’ve always wanted to be that person sitting in a cafe with the leisure time and wherewithal to be reading. Right? Isn’t that just the best? And…. four or five times in the last two weeks, I’VE BEEN THAT PERSON! Me, at Mishka’s, drinking my au lait, eating my favorite muffin, listening to music, wearing my reading glasses, and reading my book. Sometimes my feet are up on an adjacent chair. It is very cool.

For Mother’s Day, I asked Jim to build me a post on which to string our hammock… because during the summer, I’m going to read there. Yup: newly re-landscaped backyard, hammock hanging between the play structure and the new post, shade, maybe some lemonade (or a beer!).  And a book.

Plenty more to say about this, about this leisure time of which I speak–what it means, what it represents, how I feel about being a 58 year old person who’s got so much of it. I am processing this. And I am a bit unsettled about the whole thing. So… more on that.  In the meantime, I am happy to be reading, because I’ve said I’ve wanted to for a very long time. I said I would have the time one of these days, and now I do. Took a while, but I finally got there.

This is what I’m reading.. Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. And that’s a table at Mishka’s.

So far, so good.

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4 Responses to “On Leisure and Reading”


  1. Awesome! I don’t have your “problem.” I can read anytime… even when I SHOULD be doing something else. Not necessarily a good thing….

    • Kari Says:

      I’m too OCD to do that. I just listened to a great story on the radio (while working out on the stair master and playing spider solitare) about priorities and being present to the moment, and using those moments for the best thing you can use it for in that moment! Work in progress.

  2. Elliot Margolies Says:

    I had a strong feeling it would be Goldfinch. What a read. I’m only 150 pgs in because I don’t carve out enough reading space and reading it during night-time wake up hours won’t allow my heart or brain to slow down and return to zzzzz’s.


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