Is dividing up reading time and material too orgranized?

Published 11:12 pm Saturday, April 21, 2007

I noticed years ago that if I wasn’t careful, I would let some things I wanted to read get away from me and thus began an effort to organize that pleasurable pastime.

As time has passed, I have had to reorganize my reading several times. The schedule now calls for reading magazines just before lunch when I go home and take Nola out for her break. I read my current non-fiction book at lunch and keep it in the car to take in with me if I have to go to an office where I know I’m going to have to sit and wait. I read my latest book of fiction, usually a murder mystery, for the last hour or so before I fall to sleep at night.

Now that’s organization. I’m not rigid about it, though. Sometimes I will put down whatever I’m reading and pick something else. Good books require thought, and sometimes that requirement is immediate, hence putting down one thing and picking up another.

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I do my best thinking about my serious reading when I’m reading something else. I don’t know why that it is, but it happens. I wonder if this is what they call “multi-tasking.”

I doubt it. Folks who multi-task seem to be very active in doing several things, such as talking on the cell phone, working on a computer and somehow managing to take notes with pen or pencil and paper or on another computer. At least that’s one recent example I have witnessed of what I have heard people call “multi-tasking.”

Actually, I think the most recent example might be the person I saw talking on the cell phone and eating a sandwich while driving a car. That person kept picking up a paper of some sort off the passenger seat, so he or she — the sex was uncertain through the car windows, especially while trying to stay out of the way of the other car — may also have been reading. Frankly, I find that sort of multi-tasking frightening.

My method of getting all my reading done, to get back to the original subject, apparently isn’t unusual. I have talked to several people who have more than one book going at the same time.

I notice that we all tend to read light fiction while watching television, or sort of watching it. I missed nearly all of the CMT awards show Monday night because I became so engrossed in the book I was reading, and the television was on right in front of me. I guess I’m a failure as a multi-tasker.

Speaking of driving and reading, though, I wish there was some way I could read while mowing the yard. No, I don’t have a riding mower. I need the exercise. My doctor told me so.

Usually, I just push the mower along — no, it’s not self-propelled either — and solve all the world’s problems in my head.

I don’t think President Bush or Prime Minister Blair would appreciate my solutions. I don’t think the premier of France or the chancellor of Germany or any of the other world leaders would appreciate them either. Sorry, I don’t remember the latter two’s names of the leaders of France or Germany, or even of Ireland, right off hand and I’m too lazy right now to crank up the Internet. It’s one of those non-multi-tasking things, a mood I get into every once in a while.

Back to my desire to try to read while mowing. Sometimes I get tired of solving all the world’s problems. This is especially true because I know darned well the world’s leaders won’t listen. They never do; they never have and they never will listen to anyone other than themselves. Of course, I can sympathize with that. Like most folks, I prefer my own solutions to someone else’s.

I have had several ideas for reading while mowing so that I wouldn’t have to go through the thankless task of solving all the world’s problems, but frankly, I know as I dream them up that none of the devices I design in my head will work.

Yes, I have thought of hanging something around my neck to place a book on the same way a harmonica player hangs a second harmonica around his neck, or a singer or instrument player who also plays the harmonica. Turning the pages is one of the difficulties and the book is too close to the eyes to comfortably focus on the words, and it gets in the way of my seeing where I’m pushing the mower.

I have thought of building a platform on the handle on which to place the book, but there remains the problem of turning the pages, and now the eye relief is too long.

There have been numerous other ideas, but none that I think will work.

That’s the problem with solving all the world’s problems; I don’t have the time to solve one of my own, not even one as important as trying to find a way to build in to my life a little more time for reading.