When I go on a trip, I always amuse myself with how many books I feel is necessary to bring with me. For instance, when traveling alone to a conference one weekend, I took with me 5 books. One weekend. A fairly full schedule. No beach to just lounge in front of. And I thought I might need 5 books. Ridiculous. The funny thing about that quirk of mine is that I do not normally read more than one book at a time. OK. That's not exactly true. I'll sometimes have a collection of essays to dip in and out of while also reading a novel or a longer work of non-fiction, and then I've recently added the habit of reading a few poems from a collection many mornings. But, I consider myself a one-book woman because I remain focused on the one longer work at a time. So, when I take 5 books with me, it's not because I'm reading two or three of them simultaneously; rather, I delusionally think I might get through all 5.
The other night, I took this insanity to a whole new level: I went to bed early while my husband was out of town. I took with me three books. Plus, the advent readings I keep by my bedside. That's four books, folks. And everyone knows how much I love to sleep. So, what was I thinking? I have no idea, honestly. Because here's what happened:
I started with the advent reading. Check. Then, I opened the Nancie Atwell book In the Middle. I wanted to continue the rereading of this great resource (on reading and writing workshops) I had started earlier that day, but I knew it wasn't bedtime reading. I just wanted to be in bed while studying. Nothing wrong with that, right? My plan was to then move on to the Paul Auster I've been so enjoying lately. His The Invention of Solitude is so complete, so solid a piece of writing that I regularly feel my breath catch at a phrase or at the culmination of a paragraph. I also carried with me St. Athanasius' On the Incarnation, thinking I might choose to continue my advent study before the Auster. So, I'm reading the Atwell, sitting up tall in bed. Twenty minutes later, I wake up with my head at an unnatural angle on the top of the headboard. I had read about 5 pages of the Atwell. The Auster and the Athanasius lay untouched to my right. So much for getting a lot of reading done before bed.
As my semester winds down, I hope I will be more productive in my reading and studying. The 7 books I have out from 2 different libraries will get read. The Bishop will get begun, the Auster completed. Or I might just sleep more. Regardless of my progress, I hope your holidays are bright and that you either get the sleep or the reading you wish for.