Seems like not a whole lot of business gets done this final week of the year, even though you still may be on the job like me.  

Sure, my team at my romance-fiction blog is on “staycation” this week. But that doesn’t mean I’m not still hard at work, diligently reading as many novels as possible, nose-to-the-ink-stone intent on culling the best romances to share with you.

That I’m doing it sprawled on my couch doesn’t lessen the legitimacy of my work. I’ll have you know many folks believe pajamas not only qualify as business casual, but  aver the wearing of them continuously more than three days is an environmentally sound practice.

Yet a steady diet of reading has its downside, and I’ve often wondered whether other readers, bloggers and mods have similar issues. First, I read so many books so quickly, that I get titles, characters, settings, etc., confused. And like a kid who crams for tests, I forget everything almost immediately after “The End.” So I always look – or at least feel -- like an idiot when you have to fill in blanks for me after I ask, “What was that romance by that author with the hero and heroine who fall in love, but break up before they get together in the end?”

Next, I have a hard time finding a balance between writing/blogging-related work, family responsibilities and reading. With deadlines to meet – and coordination/editing of my own blog team – sometimes I’m absolutely crazed to read some romance because I haven’t had time to for an entire day or so.  Forget romance. Simply as a life-long, unabashedly bookish girl, that is entirely unacceptable.

Perhaps you’re thinking my work woes are laughable and you’d happily be tossed in my briar patch for no compensation. Yet maybe you love books so much – and take your reading so seriously – that you experience issues similar to mine.  So share with me, please:

How do you find balance between the necessity to read and real-life responsibilities?


by Author MonicaBurns on ‎12-29-2009 02:40 PM

First, I read so many books so quickly, that I get titles, characters, settings, etc., confused.


*snort*  Do NOT feel bad. I do that with my own books! LOL I can only focus on one project at a time and then I forget the past works. I have a table I keep with the characters and their books as a reference so I don't reuse names. *grin*


Actually, I totally empathize with your work woes. You sound like a writer if you ask me, trying to find the perfect balance between promotion, writing, home life and just private time to kick back and relax with a good romance. I don't get any time to read anymore. I'm always busy with writing-related activities. Don't get me wrong. I love what I do, but I do miss the days when I could pick up a romance, get swept away and not have to be interrupted for anything that I need or should be doing instead of enjoying a good book. *sigh*

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎12-30-2009 12:38 AM

I am terrible at remembering titles. I've been known to confuse authors who write in the same genre and whose names are similar (even though I would never confuse their books). The biggest problem with this is that I frequently buy books I've already bought -- and often, that I've already read.


It's hard because I want to read all the books by all of the authors featured on the Garden and Mystery book club boards, plus I want to read all the new romance releases, and all kinds of other books. I own -- and continue to buy -- more books than I'll ever be able to read. One of the great luxuries in my life is doing the "eenie-meenie-minie-moe" thing when I finish a book and have to choose a new one.


My biggest problem in recent years is deciding whether to read or write. I want to write all the time but occasionally -- like now, when I'm visiting with my daughter -- it's just not practical. I caught up with all my pressing deadlines before we headed south, and now I'll be eager to dive into writing when I get back. So right now it's easy: read, read, read. But once I'm in my normal routine, it will be such a hard choice. I'm called by books already written and the books that want to be written -- soooo hard to choose!

by 1lovealways on ‎12-30-2009 01:54 AM

Hi Everyone!


Now that I'm retired because of a disability, I have time on my hands.  I always wanted to have more time to read and do my needlework and now I have it.  I don't complain, because God gave me what I silently wished for.  Sometimes one takes over more than the other.  Right now reading has taken over.  Before being disabled I was laid off several times and missed reading tons of books, because I had no money to bury them.  Now that I do, I'm like a kid in a candy store.  I buy books every month and I don't plan to stop.


Without books in my life, I'd be lost!  I'm been reading ever since I was old enough to understand and appreciate the written word.  I don't have kids, but I have 3 nieces and a nephew and tons of kid cousins, who keep me active.  Although, I do have more time to read, I still have responsibilities around the house to take care of.  I clean and cook like everyone else, but at a slower pace.


I do have to have a cut off time when to stop reading.  There's been times when I've stayed up until the wee, wee hours of morning reading and never felt a pang.  My sister doesn't pay me any mind anymore.  She knows after all this time, that it's useless to comment, cause I'll just go on reading.  :smileyhappy:  



by Moderator dhaupt on ‎12-30-2009 09:39 AM

Oh Michele, I feel your pain. I read a lot of books too, more than 250/year right now and I just got another reviewing job (non-paying, but oh well) for Library Journal so I guess my pleasure reading will decrease a little bit. It's the rare thing that I remember everything about a book a long time after the last page is closed and those are the ones that I recommend. But never-the-less I still am addicted to reading, I love all the characters and the situations at the time I'm reading it and for a short time I'm engrossed in someone else's problems and solutions. I still get my work done, still fix the dinners and clean the house. So no it doesn't interfere too much with daily life. The escape the novels give me are priceless and I love being someone else for a small amount of time.

Happy New Year everyone!!!

by amyskf on ‎12-30-2009 12:55 PM

Where to start. I, too, feel pulled between writing and reading -- and then pulled between what I "have to" read and what I "want to" read. Don't get me wrong, all my "have to"s are really "want to"s, but sometimes I want to read a year old historical romance, but know I should read the hot new paranormal.


Don't even get me started on whether to read or every other dang thing that needs to be done. But, before I turn this into some kind of whine fest...I'll stop and just say, I'm way happy for reading. Yay reading!

by PrincessBumblebee on ‎12-30-2009 06:40 PM

Great post, QB! I know, I feel that way sometimes. Some of them you forget cause we read so many, but it's usually those that stay with us that end up being keepers, hehe.

Most books I read I remember, but it is hard to recall some of them. Usually, if I read the blurb it all comes back to me but remembering things like titles and names of characters doesn't always come easy.

Oh, I don't know how I find the time to read what with the new job. It seems I only get about 40 pages in before I have to call it quits cause I'm falling asleep. But, dont' get me wrong. I love every minute of reading! In fact, I wish I had more time to read and write, but that's for the future, hopefully! And places like this to chat, hehe!

Happy reading, everyone!

by Joan_P on ‎12-30-2009 10:11 PM

Ohhh, you all make my head spin! I thought I was doing great, reading 5 books in 6 weeks (and that's only because of the holidays) but, wow, dhaupt- 250/ year! You go girl!! You all do a heap of reading and that's awesome!!!! I hear and understand your woes and I really do admire you. Thumbs up to readers and writers every where! You help keep me going!!


by MalePerspectiveGuy on ‎12-31-2009 04:44 PM

Is it basically the same question if we replace books with television?  "How do you find balance between the necessity to (watch TV, mostly live sports) and real-life responsibilities?"    Hmmm, doesn't really have  the sale ring to it I suppose.  There is clearly a social bias (a completely reasonable one for sure) toward reading and against TV watching.  I figure if the kids are alive and fed and Michelle is reading happily, then it's okay for me to be watching the Somethin-Somethin Bowl on ESPN.


But then again, I'm just a guy.



by cardenor on ‎01-01-2010 02:08 PM

For a while, when my children were growing up, I had to quit reading books because I kept myself up too late. (I also have chronic fatigue.) Now that is still a problem. After I read several books, I have to "rest."  Years ago I read obsessively to avoid dealing with social situations.  (I was shy.)   Later I found that I could become engrossed in a book to such an extent, that it interfered with social interactions that I wanted to have. The obsessive pursuit of anything is problematic.  Mostly I dealt with obsessive reading by switching to magazines or short fiction.  Not entirely satisfactory, but it works.


My primary frustration with remembering what I have read involves literary "classics."  When I was in high school, I realized that if I was going to be what I considered "well read" I was going to have to do it myself.  So I proceeded to read the classics of western literature--and to educate myself about what they were anyway.  Now, other than the main character and the bare bones of the plot,  I can't remember them anyway.  Although I want to reread them, I haven't mustered the energy to, say, pick up 'War and Peace' again.

by M_Malloy on ‎01-03-2010 10:09 AM

I was caught between reading the classics for improvement, writing and working - basically in the same situation as you and I was sitting around outside for a break from this conflict of interest between reading and writing when I noticed that our all white Siamese cat was sitting around grooming himself, licking his back a little bit, then went to his chest for five licks, then his forepaws for seven licks, then his hunches for two licks and etc.  He then went for a small play hunt in the thick autumn leaves, lay down and rolled over in the dirt and then resumed his grooming. As I watched him it suddenly occurred to me that I'd never seen a speck of dirt on his pure white coat.  This to me is the writing/reading process - rather scattered and yet dynamic and I've been okay with things ever since I found this metaphor that I call it 'The Siamese Cat of Writing', for if a Siamese can be that pristine, well perhaps I will have time for it all, to groom up writing with well reading, to write when the ideas hit, for a few licks and perhaps even roll over in the dirt when I feel like it.

by RichardPapen on ‎01-06-2010 07:00 PM

I work 7 days a week (5 days in an outpatient clinic and two days in an emergency room), so "free time" to read is pretty scarce.  I carry a book (or two) in my bag to work each day and spend my lunch / break times reading.  I think I actually enjoy and appreciate reading MORE when I have less time to do it.  Reading becomes almost a sacred / meditative time for me.


Luckily I got the B&N Nook for Christmas and I've already loaded 22 books.  So now I can carry as many books as I want!  :smileyhappy:


I've set myself a goal to read at least 100 books this year.  I'm on book #3 so far.  Wish me luck!



by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-07-2010 09:20 AM

Happy New Year, Unabashed Book Lovers!  I must share that I spent the greater part of the winter break reading as much as possible, trying to keep the 'I should be doing something else' guilt at bay. It was difficult getting back to the regular work world! 

RichardP, so cool that you've got your nook, you lucky guy! We gave our son one for Christmas and it should arrive soon.  I'm hoping he'll let me load a few, you know, just to test it out and stuff...


Your thoughts about reading as sacred/meditative are identifiable, probably, by many readers. When I'm finally able to carve out reading time -- especially after particularly stressful period -- I feel like I sink into the book after a few paragraphs. It's very drug-like for me, and not to freak anyone out, but it's very similar to the moment when one takes pain medication and goes from ache to no ache.  TMI?  I think it's an endorphine thing, and I'm sure someone's studied the brain waves, endorphines, etc., of readers, no?  I think I've read something about that...

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-07-2010 09:44 AM

M_Malloy, being a servant of cats myself, I was mesmerized by your tale.  Some writers cannot read and lament it.  Yet writers are observers and, for you, the regular shifts in absorbing stimuli seem to inspire introspection and, I'm guessing, creativity.  I'm happy you've shared your thoughts on how you weave reading into your life and love/work.

Gosh, Cardenor, it takes too much energy even to heft a copy of "War and Peace," let alone read and study it twice! Many of us -- and by us I mean me -- have used reading to avoid social interaction, and have become obsessed w/it. However, we can be too hard on ourselves about that because a) it's a solitary pursuit; b) it's wicked comforting; c) many turn to it as kids because it's so enriching and enveloping when we can't find kids "like us."  But it can be a good excuse not to leave the house as we get older.  It's so cool that you love books so much that you taught yourself the classics.  Not all of us were lucky enough to learn them in grade or high school, though some of us like to act as if we do. : )



by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-07-2010 10:21 AM

The books=TV substitution might be valid depending upon whom you asked, MPG.  Like you, I believe there are tv productions every bit as enriching as novels. But again, that's an 'eye of the beholder' call, no? For instance, I thought PBS' "Teletubbies" was fab eye candy for our babies and taught them to be courteous and empathetic.  But others said it would ruin our kids' speech and mess w/their brains.


Yet if our query is whittled down to its essence, you're correct.  We're asking, "How do you find time among your responsibilities to enjoy the one activity/passtime which most relaxes/sooths/numbs/entertains you."


Joan_P, welcome to the Dark Side of hanging in the BN Book Clubs!  That's why we love having you here; you're so enthusiastic.


principessa, that's a great point about reading the cover copy!  Like you, I'm finding I can't read before bed anymore.  I was like that when my kids were young.  I hope it doesn't last, because I like to read at the end of the day when the house is totally silent. : )



by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-07-2010 10:40 AM

amyskf: yay reading, indeed! How vigorous and concise of you.  : )  You've brought up a most excellent subject, the one of need vs want.  I go through the same thing. There are the books I'm going to vet to write about. and that can be daunting. So my eye goes to the keeper shelf and I suddenly decide I just have to spend a weekend re-reading a fave author's backlist from the last 15 years.


And deb, you touch on the same thing, the decrease in enjoyment that comes when reading no longer is for pleasure.  Then you have a whole 'nuther dilemma: finding time to read outside of must-read time.  Then there's switching from the modes that come with each.  It's a happy problem, as my friend used to say.

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-07-2010 10:52 AM

Hi, 1la! Lucky you, reading w/out the guilt pang! Sounds like you deserve it with all the stuff you have to do.  But it's funny how as an adult, you mention how your sister reacts -- or doesn't anymore : ) -- about your reading.  And despite the changes you've had to make, you're really appreciative of the gift of more reading time.  I like when folks look around themselves and find what they can make happen out of whatever is tossed their way.


Oh, funny, Becke!  You have 3 dilemmas!  I'm laughing over the buying the same book, not remembering you have it already. How bout doing it even though you've read the synopsis?


It's always the "should" factor that trips us up, Monica, no?  Like deb was saying, once it becomes about work, the moral dilemma -- or as my son says about his vid games, the moral ambiguity, thanksverymuch -- is at hand.  It's almost l ike that game, "what would you rather," where you're given two equally horrid choices to make, usually involving kittens.  And, no, I don't think I'm overstating it. : ) we folks who like to write and read really do get torn between the two that greatly   Oh, let's give that another smilie. : )

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎01-07-2010 11:57 PM

Michelle - reading the synopsis doesn't always help, unfortunately. I read so many books, sometimes those blurbs sound awfully familiar.

by on ‎01-09-2010 01:36 AM

Heck sometimes the first 3 chapters sound awfully familiar.

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