Find us on Surprisingly Special

As of 2016, this blog, Pancakes in Bed, is no longer active. Please come find us at!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mama is a Reader

Since the Mama Self-Care Retreat in May, one of my goals has been to read more books. I have always thought of myself as an avid reader, but I get derailed when I am busy - like when I first started teaching, when I was in graduate school, and each time I had a baby. At those times I looked back and realized it had been months since I'd actually read anything cover-to-cover.

This year I've been reading mostly parenting and self-help-y books. Not cover to cover, but sort of skimming chapters that seemed interesting or helpful. I really wanted to get back into reading novels just for enjoyment. I also wanted to let reading replace some of the other things I do to fill the tiny spaces of down time in my day (ha.) like playing Candy Crush, watching TV or browsing interweb distractions like Pinterest or Facebook. I think filling those spaces with reading will make those tiny bits of down time feel more satisfying.

So I looked through my Kindle app and found a few books that I'd either downloaded and never read or started but never finished. Over the past three weeks I've managed to read the Divergent series and the second half of And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini.

I like the Kindle app because it's so convenient to read on my phone. I always have my phone nearby so it's easy to read a few pages whenever I have a moment. And I like the instant gratification of being able to download new books as soon as I'm ready to start one.

So now, throughout the day, Calvin and Henry will occasionally see me reading on my phone. And it occurred to me - they can't tell I'm reading a book. For all they can tell, I might as well be texting or playing Candy Crush or watching Mickey Mouse without Calvin! The horror. 

And that bugs me. I remember seeing my parents reading all the time when I was growing up. Our house was always full of books. Shelves of books for them, shelves for me and my brother, and stacks of recently read books on end tables and the fireplace hearth. My mom took us to the library regularly and would get books for herself as well as for my brother and me. I always knew my parents were readers because I could see it every day. So it bugs me to think that Calvin doesn't know I read books for myself as well as reading books with him. I want him to know that I am a reader.

Then again, people read on phones and tablets more and more now. Calvin will grow up in a world where reading books does actually look like staring at a screen. It will be the norm for him. So maybe it doesn't matter if he sees me reading on a screen instead of ink on paper. Maybe I can just show him that there are words on the screen and not pictures or a video. And maybe that's fine. 

Or maybe I should let go of the convenience of an e-reader and go back to ink and paper books? It would feel more authentic to me - but then, I grew up in a world where that is what reading looked like. And I think I'd like to share that world of ink-and-paper books with Calvin and Henry. When they think of a book, I'd hope for them to think of bound paper and printed ink. There will be plenty of chances for them to use e-readers and become familiar with reading on a screen. And I think there are a lot of great things they can do with e-books. But for now, let's fill shelves and turn pages. Lets go to bookstores and the library. And I don't think it means I have to do anything drastic like uninstall my Kindle app - Gasp! But maybe my goal could be to consistently read ink-and-paper books, and then any e-books I read can just be a bonus :) 

I started reading this Isabel Allende novel while I was in grad school and never finished it. Time to give it another go!

E-book or paper book, I'm excited to be back in the habit of reading for enjoyment. What's on your summer reading list??


  1. What a good reminder! I listen to audio books while I clean, but I miss the satisfaction of turning pages and seeing the bookmark slowly creep towards the back cover. And reading parenting books doesn't feel like a break, it just feels like more work. Sagan never sees anyone reading books, except with him. I'm going to find myself some summer paperback fiction - real quick, before I have a baby ;)

    1. Reading parenting books totally feels like studying. Some light reads might be nice while you're resting with your little one!

  2. I just got a book called "Beyond the Beautiful Forevers" that I just started. If you'd like, I could lend it to you. I've been too busy to read these days.

    1. Sounds good. I mean, not the part about you being too busy. The part about the book ;) Hope you're having fun teaching, though!