Reading has been my source of relaxation ever since I learned how to read. Of course, as a child, I didn’t realize that reading before bedtime was relaxing; it was just what I did. I made it a point to read for pleasure throughout college and grad school. I started 10 times more books than I ever finished during college and grad school. I just didn’t always or usually have the time to get lost in a book enough for it to grab me and not let me go. I still finished books, but not that many. It was pretty depressing and frustrating, to be honest.
I even read for pleasure throughout law school. I just needed something to take my mind off of all of the cases and crap that I just didn’t care about. One of my professors overheard me talking to a friend (also a reader) about reading such and such book. He said, “Wow! You guys are actually able to read outside of class reading?” Rather than saying, “Shit, I read instead of doing class reading!” I said that I had to read otherwise I’d kill people. That interaction stuck with me–just how rare it is for adults, even highly educated adults, to read for pleasure.
After law school was the bar exam. This entailed 8 to 10 to 12 hours of hell per day, six days a week (because I just wouldn’t do seven). But I still read some. There was actually an afternoon and a half where I said “Screw it; I need to read” and I read 3/4 of a John Grisham book, figuring that if I read about lawyers that might count a little bit.
Then came that wonderful day–March 1, 2018–the day after I had taken the bar exam. I didn’t have a job. I didn’t want to look for a job. I could have applied for an intermediate license to practice under the supervision of a licensed attorney during the waiting period, but I didn’t. I just wanted to read and day drink until bar results came out, then determine my fate. This was the most glorious time of my life. I didn’t even give a shit whether I passed. Occasionally, I’d think about what I’d do if I didn’t pass (which was not take the bar exam again and disappoint my family). But mostly I just read. And day drank.
I should have kept a better record of the books I read between March 1 and the day I got sworn-in (I did a book purge and got rid of some I knew I wouldn’t read again without writing down the ones I’ve finished). But I have a casual record of what I read during my 5 weeks of perfect freedom (which actually is kind of still on-going because I still don’t have a job…) . . .
August: Osage County
The Virgin Suicides
How to Get Your Shit Together
Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit
A Book of Common Prayer
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows
Sex and Rage
The Rules Do Not Apply
How Did You Get This Number
I Was Told There’d Be Cake
Play It as It Lays
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Tiny Beautiful Things
Little Fires Everywhere
The Wife Between Us
The 25 books that I can remember. I am quite confident that a few were donated and I just forgot about them. But I’m pretty happy with that number in 3 and a half months. Some of those had been plaguing me for ages! But I also donated without reading several that had plagued me for ages.
I also kind of have gone through a spell of reading about a third of a book and then setting it aside. I’ll tabulate that list another day. I think that a third is still a substantial amount of a book. And I’m not definitely never going to finish those books; I’m just not finishing them right now.