Farewell, Technoreading; Hello, Mindfulness

I am embarking on a reading project, and I think you should join me. Here's the deal: I'm going to read from a physical book every. day. for a full month. (The idea is that it'll continue long past that month, of course, but we all know that blogging conceits with arbitrary time constraints are more likely to be successful. At least mine are.) Here's why: I'm someone who reads a lot - a lot - but I've noticed that reading, at least for me, has stopped being a contemplatively quiet activity. It's still something I do purposefully - most of the time - but it's often something I do distractedly. I have the habit of reading while doing other things, and I've decided that's going to change.

I think my perception - as someone who reads a lot but feels like she reads very little - is skewed because I'm forever reading from a screen. If it's not my laptop, it's my iPad or my phone. So everything that I read, from mountains of email industry updates to the news to the really marvelous novella by Tove Jansson I'm currently reading on my phone, more or less blends together. The words get muddled and the best writing, the writing that I want to read - Jansson's poetic prose, for instance - gets lost amid all the prose I have to read. But more than that, reading on screens is downright distracting. It's easy to flip to Facebook or Instagram, which I admit I do far more often than I should. Emails and calendar invites display as push notifications and even though they don't actually require immediate action, I'll be honest: I stop what I'm doing and reply.

My iPhone is where I read fiction: I buy titles at whim from Amazon and can start reading practically instantaneously. I watch the little covers fill up my Kindle-for-iPhone shelves with satisfaction, a little parade of colorful titles that organize themselves. The books I want to read are always there, always exactly where I left them. If I'm in the mood to read something I haven't read in ages? There it is. I will concede that this aspect of technoreading is actually pretty magical. My iPhone also changes the page color for me, allowing me to read on a lightly sepia-tinted page that's easier on my eyes. (Now you know why the Creating Iris redesign is actually a pale shade of yellow, and not white!) Plus, my phone makes the font size bigger so I don't have to bother with my glasses. (This is actually, according to my ophthalmologist, not a good thing at all. Do not read without your glasses.)

Generally when I come up with some kind of blogging project, I always decide to wait for a certain 'best day' to start it. Maybe it's a Sunday, for the first day of the week - or better yet, Monday, for the first day of the work week. But why stop there? Better to wait for the first of the month. The problem, of course, is that in choosing to wait for a 'better' time, whatever it is I want to write about gets put off and, more often than not, entirely forgotten. So, today is a Tuesday, and who cares? I'm starting my project today. I have a meeting this afternoon, and the plan is to get to Starbucks a good half an hour early, and read a book the old-fashioned way. Who's in?

You can keep up with my blogging project over at my website, amandambennett.com. June is going to be a busy month for us, so while I'll check in here occasionally to report back, that's the best way to follow my reading adventures! You can also find me on GoodReads - I'm going to also try to be better about updating my shelves. Happy reading, and let me know if you're reading along with me!