Summer Reading and the Nagging 'To Do'
There just never seems to be enough time to get lost in a good book.
I’ve noticed the top three things on my "to-do" list almost get finished each week. In fact, two of the three each week invariably get finished right on time. It’s that one item each week that refuses to bend to my will—or to my schedule. Amazingly, it’s the same item each week. It gets carried from week to week, mocking me.
It wouldn’t be such a big deal except that it is the item that keeps me from completing my to-do list and giving myself the treat of a good book. I have "American Pastoral" by Philip Roth nearly finished, a holdover from a week when I threw my to-do list to the winds. "Daniel Deronda" is sitting on my desk as I write this. I’ve read just enough to be swept away by Eliot’s prose.
Upstairs … Well, upstairs is a stack of books ranging from science to history to 19th century English novels and the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne. And that’s not even counting the mysteries. Or the books on my bookshelf. Or on my Kindle.
The truth is I love to read. I love to get lost in a book, lose all track of time, and read the book straight through. This is problematic when working, raising kids and trying to have some semblance of dinner on the table each night. But I’m not giving up!
This week I’m going to complete that recurring to-do item. When I do, the first thing I’m doing is a Happy Dance. The very next thing I’m doing is grabbing a book off my stack and heading for the family room. I find that when I settle down to read, my kids invariably come to join me with a book of their own. It’s a great relief to know it’s not only my bad habits they emulate!
Of course, there will be some other nagging "To Do" to take the place of this one. I’m not so naïve as to believe striking this one off the list will solve the problem. Still, I’m determined to have some time to kick back and engage in one of my favorite pastimes.
I’ve approached the problem of the nagging "To Do" with a thoroughness I usually reserve for far weightier matters. Why not? It’s important to me. I’ve examined it from multiple angles, weighed myriad approaches and possibilities …
It hit me last week. There really is only one solution to the vexing problem of the "To Do." I’m simply not going to have a to-do list for the rest of the summer.