Tuesday, March 26, 2013

To Read Speckily

I haven't been taking my walk/run/thingy lately, preferring to stay indoors and jump rope.  So the bird watching has been limited to my front yard:  downy woodpeckers, juncos, tufted titmice.  The occasional bluebird that love the suet. 

I have way too many books.  Just yesterday, three books came in the mail and I'm expecting more.  I find myself having a difficult time reading through books or journals--although that's not completely true, but I do feel that right now, I'm trying to read/juggle read at least, what, four or five books simultaneously.  What happens is, a book is mentioned somewhere on the internet and I go to Amazon to take a peek.  If they have a "Look Inside!" I generally do and then decide if I need it.  If I have to have it.  Way too often, I think I do.  But then, the book comes in the mail, I open it, dive in so to speak and then another book comes along.

Today, for example, at work I'm trying to get through the introduction to Lisa Russ Spaar's The Hide-And-Seek Muse.  I love the things she is saying and there are poet in this anthology that I haven't spent time with and think I need to.  But:

I'm also trying to read Poetry As Survival by Gregory Orr.  This I do really feel I need to read...so why aren't I reading it?  Also, in my bag that I bring to work with my stuff, I found Uncanny Valley by Jon Woodward that I totally forgot I bought and that I'm really looking forward to reading because 1.  Jon was my former teacher and a very good one and 2.  I think this will be innovative poetry that hopefully will help mine.  But I haven't even cracked the book to peek inside. 

That's not even mentioning the books that I re-read at bedtime--last night, I was trying to read The Golden Compass, but I read a few paragraphs and plunked it down.

I feel like my reading habits are becoming specky, which isn't a word, I know, but feels right.  Like I'm picking at books like some bird at seeds.  I know that the internet is having a profound impact on the way I read or don't read or read speckily.  Rebecca Loudon asked this before on Facebook and I think it's true, that Facebook and the internet are interrupting the fundamental way in which I read.  Or don't read.   

For example, I think I'm able to access more books than I need or can possibly get through.  Amazon's one click makes it super easy to buy, rather than, say, stand in a long line at Borders and debate internally with myself whether I really need this journal.  The quick hit of Facebook or checking my email for the five hundredth time is an inter rupture  as well. 

But then again, I think that maybe the internet is helpful with finding these books, finding all these poets I want to read, all these journals.  For example, that yellow issue of Fairy Tale Review (you should get that) is fabulous and while I didn't read the complete issue, found amazing poems and got ideas about writing poetry that I never would have thought of on my own and even if I didn't read the complete issue, who cares?

Even if I'm reading sporadically, is it such a bad thing?   Or reading voraciously sporadically? 

What are your thoughts about how you read?  Have you found your reading habits changing?  Does the internet bother your reading skills? Do you read speckily, too?


  1. I have way too many books, too. I am reading some of them simultaneously, left in various rooms, taken with me in bags, etc. Interrupted by journals that arrive in the mail and by online reading. My brain is getting weird.

    1. Oh good. I just want to make sure it's not just me!!! My brain too is weird. Phew!


Heron Tree

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