Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Salon: I am reading too many books (also my baby pouts adorably)

The Sunday Salon.comSome days, I spend hours and hours reading. Although it's been a few days since that happened. Not coincidentally, it's been a few days since Mr. Nomadreader went back to work (maternity leave is so much more fun with your husband home too) and since my in-laws went back to New York. Hawthorne and I are on our own for the most part, but we are surviving (if not necessarily thriving every day.) Hawthorne has developed an odd aversion to sleeping three hours at a time all day, every day (those were nice days, and I miss them.) Despite still having time to read, I am not in control of choosing when I have time to read each day. We are nowhere near a scheduled life around here, and it's a mystery to me each day how often Hawthorne wants to eat, have his diaper changed, sleep, and stay awake. If I could predict which naps would last ten minutes and which would last three hours, I'd be a very happy lady. Yesterday I was 0 for 5, which meant I attempted to nap with him many times when he woke us both up ten minutes later. It was not a day I did much reading because I was so very tired most of the day. (And my research on infant sleep habits and fussiness taught me it's only going to get worse until he's six weeks old, which is two and a half weeks away. Send help, baby sleep fairies!)

All of this minutiae of baby life is to say: I thought I was a moody reader while pregnant (and also quite tired, but in a very different way.) I am an even moodier reader while caring for an infant full-time. Here's the breakdown of what I'm currently reading, most of which are due to this adorable baby's influences on my ability to read different types of books at different times of day:

  • The books I started when I was pregnant and still haven't finished: I started two new books by two of my favorite authors before they were March (The Fever by Megan Abbott and The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear.) I am about half-way through both. I like them enough to not abandon them, but I do not, apparently, like them enough to ever actually pick them up. Yet Goodreads keeps reminding me I'm currently reading them. I really need to commit to finishing them this month...or officially abandon them.
  • The Booker longlist: With the shortlist announcement coming this week (hooray!), I'm still attempting to finish the longlist. Thanks to the Book Depository and publishers, I have a copy of each title on the longlist. I was making good progress and reading one a week, until I started The Wake the night before my water broke. It's written in Old English (or an approximation.) It's nearly impossible to read while sleep deprived or while also trying to pay attention to a baby. Each time I pick it up, I end up re-reading each paragraph multiple times. It is slow going for me. I'm also reading The Dog by Joseph O'Neill, which I'm quite enjoying so far, but it is dense enough that I cannot read it in the middle of the night when I'm up with Hawthorne (there are some exceptions to this rule when he allows me to get one four-hour block of sleep before requesting my services in the night.) So I spend as much daytime as I can with it. And it's also pretty short, and as I get farther into it, I can see myself being able to read it while very tired.
  • The nonfiction: I've been reading Educating Alice: Adventures of a Curious Woman by Alice Steinbach (I unsurprisingly adored her memoir Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman, which I read while traveling across Europe alone in 2004) since February. It was my bathtub paperback, which was great when I was pregnant and it was winter, and I took a bath every night. I need to transition it to my primary book, as I adore it, and I've been reading it too long. Although it is almost bath season again. I've also been enjoying re-reading Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier. It was a delight to pick up in the last weeks of pregnancy, as I am probably feeling more female than I ever have before. And it's good, but it is sometimes too dense and scientific for reading while tired, so I keep plugging away at it slowly. 
  • The Sparrow: Trish is hosting a read-along for The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell this month. It's a book I've been meaning to read for years because it seems to be universally adored. I haven't technically started it yet because I've reading so many other things, but I hope to start it soon. And finish it shortly thereafter. 
My mission: finish (or officially abandon) all of these seven books by the end of September. Wish me luck!

And I totally intended to insert book covers so this post is more visually appealing, but I've been writing it in ten-minute intervals while Hawthorne naps this week--and that seems to be today's theme too--so I'll leave you with this adorable picture of Hawthorne pouting instead of taking the time to insert book covers. Enjoy!


  1. I remember being disappointed when the 3 hour sleeps became a thing of the past too. Giles is 11 weeks now and I've learned to take each day as it comes and just focus on getting through one bit at a time.

  2. The schedule thing does iron itself out eventually, but so many things come into play in order to get there. It will happen. In the mean time, maybe audio books would work better. I used to listen with one ear pod in so I could still hear the baby if I had to go to him/her.

  3. Gosh, those first few weeks are hard (and wonderful)!

    Maybe you need to scatter your books in different places in the house so you always have one within arm's reach and it's like a surprise every time you find a spare few minutes! :)

  4. Hope things are going smoothly for you all -- I wish I could focus on reading more now but I feel so exhausted already (pre-baby!), I don't know when I'll get my reading mojo back again!

  5. Why yes indeed - Hawthorne definitely pouts adorably!

  6. I know this is an old post, but I applaud you for reading through these early weeks. I mostly watch crappy tv. I know that as the baby becomes more aware that will be a thing of the past, so reading will happen more and more I hope.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!