Wednesday, June 02, 2004

A Once and Future Bibliophile

In my former (pre-child) life, I was an avid reader. A book a week or at least one book every two weeks kept my spirits up and my literary appetite relatively sated. I had my book club, my frequent trips to the library, my guilty purchases at In retrospect, quite a gluttony of book reading.

What a difference a few years and two kids makes.

Since Allison was born 8 months ago (8 months ago today as a matter of fact), I've read seven books. And three of those were about parenting.

Between working and taking care of the kids, the only time I have for reading is, of course, bedtime. And when it comes to the battle between reading and sleeping, guess which side inevitably wins? I start off with good intentions, but within about 7 minutes after I get in bed and begin reading, I fall asleep. Thunk! That's my book falling on the floor, awakening me and reminding me that I've once again read about three paragraphs.

I haven't given up the battle completely. I still read reviews and articles about books to keep myself somewhat up to date on the current literary scene. It's not quite the same as actually reading the books, but a cursory familiarity with what's being discussed on the Bookslut site and blog makes me feel a little bit more linked to my old life (and, yes, more than a little chastened at what I had thought was my wide but instead seems to be pitifully limited universe of authors).

I'm in the middle of reading Faulkner Fox's Dispatches from a Not-So-Perfect Life: Or How I Learned to Love the House, the Man, the Child. So far, I'm a little underwhelmed. I want to like the book, and the author, more than I currently do. I admire her verve, her forthrightness, her feminist ideals and activism and how she tries to balance them with her life as a mother and wife. Maybe the whining tone I've detected will dissipate as I get further along.

After this I should take a break from parenting books. Even someone (that would be me) with a pretty bottomless capacity for reading about child-raising and mothering needs to fling open the windows and let some other air in. One strong candidate is Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight; friends of mine whose opinion I trust have recommended it strongly. They assure me that despite its subject matter---a childhood spent in Rhodesia with white-supremacist parents---the book is, in fact, funny. Jeff would say the topic is right up my alley: depressing and probably guilt-inducing. I say, bring it on!