Reading and Writing

This month’s topic:811583493_2871931482_0
What is your favorite time and place to read? How about writing time? Do you have to make time?

Do you have a ritual or is your plan helter-skelter? I had a quilting teacher who followed the swiss cheese method to completing tasks: Make a hole here, and sometime later a hole there; keep repeating this until the whole thing is complete. What’s your method?

I am tempted to read anytime and anyplace, but my favorite time to read is in bed before I turn out the light and go to sleep.  I am an avid reader, and reading before bed relaxes me and helps me let go of my problems and anxieties. I enjoy reading all kinds of books, especially science fiction, fantasy, and romance {blush} as well as popular novels. I don’t enjoy reading horror but do like reading the occasional mystery. I have read all of Sherlock Holmes, many more than once. I love Alice in Wonderland, and used to reread it every exam time when I was in college. I had a copy of  The Annotated Alice, and this was the one I read and reread. In the commentary, it had a copy of Jabberwocky in French. What a trip that was.

I studied French in both high school and college, and I was (and am) fairly fluent, but, let me tell you, reading made-up words in a foreign language is tough. One summer I spent in the Netherlands doing work-study — I was assistant to a professor at one of the universities. I signed up at the local library. This was one of the first things I did — I needed to have access to a decent supply of books. They had one shelf of books in English, but fortunately a whole bookcase of volumes in French.

I read Fahrenheit 451 in French (fortunately, I’d already read it in English), as well as several other sci fi novels. I read some non-fiction, including one by a cancer surgeon that haunts me to this day. I also discovered George Simenon,and read every copy they had of the Inspecteur Maigret novels. My father was an attorney, so I was familiar with the difference between the French and English/American legal systems.

In case you’re not, it’s like this: In English and American legal systems, you’re innocent until proven guilty. In the French system, you’re guilty until proven innocent. This makes the stakes for Maigret, charged with investigating a crime and discovering the guilty party, that much higher. If he gets it wrong, an innocent person might suffer.

After I finished the Maigret novels, I started on the rest of their Simenon collection.

I haunt my local library. I begin to suffer from anxiety if I don’t have a stack of books to read. I prefer paper to ebooks, but I do read ebooks sometimes. Having access to them eases my book anxiety — I can pretty much always go online and find something else to read.

Check out what my fellow bloggers have to say:
A.J. Maguire
Geeta Kakade
Skye Taylor
Marci Baun
Fiona McGier
Connie Vines
Beverley Bateman
Rita Karnopp
Rachael Kosnski
Helena Fairfax
Heidi M. Thomas
Ginger Simpson
Rhobin Courtright

8 thoughts on “Reading and Writing

  1. Ken Hicks

    Hi Margaret, I first read Simenon when a law professor described him in a particularly interesting way. I wish I could read him in French. Alors!
    Nice blog on reading.


  2. Robin

    I’m impressed, French and English. Also love many of the English books you mentioned. I hadn’t thought about it, but yes reading relaxes me for sleep to come, and neither do I read horror.


  3. Beverley Bateman

    I envy you your fluency in English and French and being able to read books in French. I don’t usually read at bedtime because I read a lot of mystery and suspense and I can keep reading until it’s almost morning.


  4. Geeta

    How nice to be able to read in two languages. I read in English and used to read in Hindi and Marathi (second and third languages in school in India…the former was the national language and the latter the regional language.) Unfortunately learning a new regional language every new state my Dad was posted to, almost did me in!
    Interesting to see you read at bedtime…I used to but couldn’t stop till I got to the end of the book, so had to stop that!


  5. Fiona McGier

    I took French for 3 years in high school and 3 years in college. A counselor had told me in high school that it would be more useful to me than Spanish. Now I can’t even get interviews for English teacher jobs in some districts because I’m NOT able to speak Spanish. And my French is buried under years of memories, because I never traveled to France, and never even made it to Quebec, so I’ve never been in a situation where I had to use it. I used to be able to read and write in French. I envy you that you can still do that. I’ve heard the real proof of being bi-lingual is when you dream in both languages. I never achieved that level of proficiency.

    I can’t read before I go to sleep because I usually get so involved that I don’t get enough sleep. So I’ve switched to doing crosswords. That way when my eyes get heavy, I don’t mind tossing the clipboard over the side of the bed and going to sleep. Books feel like lovers, and I’d never just toss one aside so callously!


  6. Fiona McGier

    I hope this doesn’t put up my comments twice. I got an error message, so I’ll try to post again.

    I took French for 6 years in high school and college. I never went to France, never even went to Quebec. So it’s mostly buried under years of memories. A school counselor told me that French would be “more useful” in my future life. But there are school districts I can’t apply for a job teaching English at, because I’m not bi-lingual in Spanish. No one seems to care about French. BTW, they say the true test of whether or not you are bi-lingual is if you dream in both languages. I never got to that level of proficiency.

    I used to read before bed, but found it hard to stop…ever. Then I’d be wasted all the next day because I didn’t get enough sleep. Now I do crosswords until my eyes get heavy. Then I toss the clipboard over the side of the bed. Books feel like lovers, so I’d never toss one aside so callously!


  7. Marci Baun

    When I backpacked around Europe after college, I would buy books and keep them and carried them in my bottom zipper of my pack. I don’t remember how many I had, but my pack weighed around 65 lbs. HAHAHA Books were very dear over there, especially for someone on a very tight budget.

    Books are like old friends. No matter how long you’ve been away from them, when you pick them back up, you feel like you’ve known them all your life. 🙂



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