#Nerdlution — On Being Consumed by Story: A Total Indulgence

nerdlution-button-tiny-01-1Today is a day for reading fiction — for me. Long before I started teaching I thought there was no way I could teach simply because I’d have to give up the books I love to read kid lit.

In some ways that scenario did come to pass. My reading of novels has declined, in fact disappeared during the school year, and has been replaced by kit lit. I don’t read the New Yorker cover to cover anymore, although it piles up in baskets waiting for me. In book stores, I don’t go to the adult section I head to children’s literature.

Not that I am complaining. I LOVE kid lit. ( I think I’m a level T reader.) Professional literature, be it blogs or books, fuel my teaching which is my passion. I’m not unhappy about my reading life.

Due to #nerdlution, I have chosen to rekindle the reading of books — for me, a little earlier than summer break. The question/fear that lurks is: can I do this?

I started in on Company of Liars by Karen Maitland. It’s been on my to be read pile since the summer. I can’t remember why I bought this, but it was probably because of my passion for all things medieval, English and a tad gruesome.

Initially I had to fight the tendency to think like a teacher and just be a reader. I was honestly concerned that I could get into a book without having the world of teaching or the desire to check my twitter feed sneak into my thoughts.  About five pages into the book, I was lost in the world of 1348, filled with pestilence, superstitions, and fear. It is book of story and story tellers. Ah, to be lost in story for no other reason than to enjoy it. You know that feeling. It doesn’t come from anything else.

I read for an hour, and I plan to resume right after I finish this post. What an indulgence. Sort of like eating a box of carmel covered chocolate. This is why I don’t read books like this till summer break. They consume me. But then again, just a little bite couldn’t hurt. I don’t have to eat the whole box. I can enjoy a little and put it down. Right? Working on that.

#Nerdlution continues and life is good.

4 thoughts on “#Nerdlution — On Being Consumed by Story: A Total Indulgence

  1. Julieanne
    This line really resonated with me: “Initially I had to fight the tendency to think like a teacher and just be a reader.”
    I think it struck a chord because we do wear that hat of educator whenever we open a book, and it interferes with the reading at times, doesn’t it? We tend to over-analyze character, notice the foreshadowing (ever point it out and no one in your house is looking?) and pay attention to tone. We deconstruct books and stories. (OK. So I use “we” and maybe I just mean “me” as I write here.)
    So much so, that we often suck the fun right out of reading, right? And if we are doing that for ourselves, what we are doing to our students?
    I don’t mean this as a critique of you, but of myself and of the role that teaching explicit reading skills has in our classrooms. It’s important. Don’t get me wrong. But sometimes putting the novelist and their words on the couch as we the readers act like Dr. Shrink takes away the pure love of reading for reading’s sake. We lose immersion for the sake of criticism.
    I’m glad that you are finding time to read for yourself, for the love of the story. Thanks for sharing! Keep reading.
    Peace,
    Kevin
    PS – you are another stop in my own #nerdlution of 50 comments on 50 blogs in 50 days. Thanks for being part of the community.

    • Kevin,
      Oh I have those same thoughts about sucking the fun out of reading. So often when I read I’m thinking about how it feels to be the reader and what I’m expecting of my students. Would I expect it of myself? Is it fair? How to balance explicit instruction with that immersion/joy piece — that is the question. Right now Read Aloud provides a huge dose of ‘book love.’ Student recommendations and choice provide student voice. I’m looking for explicit instruction to transfer that ability to love and understand books independently. That’s a constant challenge! Thanks so much for your thoughts. It really helps sift through what matters. And thanks for the support with #nerdlution! It really helps!!

  2. Julieanne,
    “Making time” to read for pleasure is almost a guilty pleasure and I have to make sure that I don’t view it as “time stolen from others!” I love historical texts because I have so many questions about what life was really like in those days and a book fills my soul better than a movie that I cannot savor by re-reading or even “speed up” through the slow spots!

    I can honestly say that this “indulgence” if you will is genetic. I can remember during my younger days that when my mom was reading a book, the entire world was put on hold – no cooking or cleaning, and reasonable requests to occupy ourselves were usually granted with not questions asked. “Just let me read for five more minutes!”

    • Fran,
      Love how you said, books fill the soul. Absolutely, especially literature. I can’t help that prejudice. I just think that story is an important part of being human!

      The pull and passion associated with books is genetic. But I also think the development of this is genetic. My mom was reading at age four. Yet my brother and I didn’t take to it as young kids. Drove her crazy. I guess it took time for our brains to be ready for what reading takes. So I have hope for my students who don’t love reading, yet. If we keep showing up with wonderful books, pushing and engaging, I think (hope) they will come to in time.

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