Confessions in reading

I have a serious and grim confession to make: I don’t read as much as I used to.

In a way, I find myself missing my long commutes in NYC. When I lived in Park Slope and worked in the Bronx (from 2002 until 2005), I commuted at least 90 minutes each way. I read a lot then, normally two average-sized books (300-400 pages) a week.

Working from home changed that. I can easily spend the day on the computer — from the time I get up until Jen gets home. For a while, I was good about taking a strict break from the computer at 5, going downstairs, and reading at the kitchen table until Jen got home, and then reading again while she made dinner (on the nights she cooked).

The new apartment means no downstairs and one fewer way to force myself away from the idiot box.

But things have changed again…

Reading while feeding

Three or four times a day, I need to bottle-feed the boy. I’ve tried a variety of ways to do it, but what works best now is to take the Boppy pillow over to the sofa, lay him on it, and feed him with my right hand. I can usually prop a book up next to him on the Boppy. He takes between 45 minutes and an hour to feed each time, so that’s a good chunk of time to spend with a book.

I don’t always read, I have to admit. Sometimes I play around with my phone, catching up on Google Reader, chatting with Jen, or — lately — playing Tiny Tower. But I try. I have the time now when I need to step away from this idiot box, so I spend at least one of those feedings with a book.

In this picture, I’m re-reading the Richard Rhodes book The Making of the Atomic Bomb. I first read it in 1994 or ’95, when my first wife and I visited friends in Los Alamos — he’s a nuclear physicist and recommended the book highly. The paragraphs mentioning Lloyd George, Balfour, and Churchill may seem surprising in such a book, but they’re in a passage about the chemist and politician Chaim Weizmann. Incidentally, this isn’t the first time I’ve tried re-reading this book, but it’s the first time I’ve gotten more than 20 pages into it.


3 thoughts on “Confessions in reading

  1. I found that Gibson liked when I read aloud to him. I read most of William Gibson’s last book aloud to him while he nursed or just sat with me. Enjoy your enforced downtime. Smartphones make everything better….

    I wish my friend’s husband (who is in a similar situation as you, he’s the stay at home dad who freelance writes, actually, i think he’s got a steady writing gig, regardless, he’s a work from home primary caregiver to a lovely now 2 year old girl) blogged about being a dad so i could introduce you two.

  2. Cool.

    I haven’t started reading aloud to Julian yet, but it’s a good idea. I’ll skip over the names of Hungarian physicists and chemical elements I don’t know how to pronounce.

    Julian loves when I sing to him. Which makes him the only person on the planet who likes my singing voice. I suppose I should enjoy that while I can.

  3. Generally babies just like the reassuring sound of their parents. I’m REALLY BAD at reading aloud, but Gibson didn’t mind. He also doesn’t mind my flatter than flat rendition of the Velvet Underground’s I’m Sticking With You. Reading aloud tends to slow me down, but it’s nice, things take on a little different emphasis, and again, babies like even the most monotone and dull manuscript readings, as long as they are close and snuggled into you.

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