Happy Sunday to you! I'm feeling upbeat and happy right now because, thankfully, I'm getting through the grading I've been grumbling about for ages. It's been a slow process, but I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and should be finished with them later this coming week. In the midst of all the grading, I seem to be reading a lot more than usual. Reading has been my treat after a certain number of papers have been waded through! In fact, I've been able to escape into a good read much easier than ever before, which led me to question just what it is about myself that makes me so easily distracted, normally?
For as long as I can remember, I've always been a "distracted" reader. What do I mean by that? It basically means that you could walk past me, talk to me, or have a conversation with someone else and I would catch all of it. I've never been the type to escape to the degree that I can't be pulled out of a book, and that frustrates me.
Each semester or year, I give my high school students a survey to find out what kind of readers they are and have found out the my "big time" readers are what I call "Escape" readers. You would practically have to light them on fire to get their attention! One of my best friends is like this as well and I'm completely jealous. I don't know what it takes to be like that, but I have a feeling that it's just not in my DNA to become one.
Having said that, I still think I read quite a bit. However, here are the stipulations that I have to have in place to really read. See if these "Distracted" reader qualities fit you:
- I generally read a stack (7-12) books all at once. When I get bored/distracted with one, it's just because I'm thinking about another book I'm dying to nibble away at.
- The only exception to this is with what we call "Deconstructionist" texts that have so many fragmented story lines and narrators (i.e. Salman Rushdie) that I have to have a pen out to follow the story. (One of my graduate professors pointed this out to me, that having multiple story lines and narrators settled me into one book.)
- Although I carry books with me, everywhere I go, I can't necessarily settle into the book unless things are somewhat calm around me. Read in line outside a concert? Strangely, I can't unless I'm feeling a little down and disconnected from people. Otherwise, I'm people watching and don't want to slip into a book!
- Public places are difficult. I might read, but am painfully aware of what's going on around me. I've gotten used to the fact that I'm easily distracted, but it is annoying at times.
- Often times, it takes a little time to get into a book and hit that escape point. Maybe I've been working with teenagers for too long, since they are like this, but I find that I have to have a type of reading warm up. Once I'm warmed up and into the story though, I resent it when I have to stop.
- My environment has to be right. If I'm honest with myself, I will admit that I have to have it quiet to read. I can read with the TV on, but it has to be turned down, and I can't read with music on. Even reading with a person next to me, who could be doing the same thing, is too much of a distraction. I'm always aware of what's going on around me.
- Technology can be a HUGE distraction when I'm trying to read. Generally, my iPhone is by my side all the time, except the volume is off 99% of the time because of my job. When things get quiet and I'm ready to read, I find myself reaching for my phone to check email, twitter, and my RSS feeds.
- Strangely, I can escape pretty well if I take off and go for a walk with my book. Maybe it's that kinesthetic element? By moving, my brain allows me to slip off into what I'm reading?
- Sometimes when I'm bone tired or stressed out (as I've been the past several weeks), escaping is the easiest thing in the world. Essentially, if my brain is worn down, I can read forever and not get distracted.
Please share with me! I really want to know if you're what I call a "Distracted" reader or an "Escape" reader, and have you always been like that? If you're like me, what do you do to really escape?