Once again this summer I am taking on the “Book-a-day” Challenge. I am so excited to have time to read that I sometimes devour a book in one sitting. There are so many books and so many authors that I want to explore, the book-a-day challenge helps me to do that.
However, on my run this morning I was listening to a Fresh Air podcast. Terry Gross was interviewing Jacqueline Woodson. They were discussing Jackie’s difficulty with reading as a child. Terry asked, “So how did you fall in love with reading and writing if it was such an effort?”
I love Jackie’s response: “You know, I read stuff over and over, and it made deep sense. It – I think what happened was the language settled in me much deeper than it settled into people who just can read something once and absorb what they absorb of it. I feel like what I was absorbing was not by any means superficial, and I think I was – from a really young age, I was reading like a writer. I was reading for this deep understanding of the literature; not simply to hear the story but to understand how the author got the story on the page. And I didn’t know any of that. And my sister, you know, just kind of sailed through reading and read – consumed book after book after book. And here I was reading the same book very slowly, slowly coming to understand it. And looking back on it, I think it was part of what brought me here.”
I thought of myself as Jackie’s sister, sailing through book after book. It was like an epiphany, I want to take some time to read like a writer and understand how the author got the story on the page. I want to read like Jackie! Then I thought, Hey, I can do BOTH!
So now this summer I will continue my Book-a-Day challenge, but I am going to also going to treat myself to a “Page-a-Day” challenge. It might be a page from a book I am reading, a page from the newspaper, a page of poetry, a page from a book I know I “should” read but never will. I will closely read this page the way Jackie did..very slowly, slowly coming to understand it. I will try to understand how the author got the story on the page. I will read like a writer.
So I will take some time to savor those words that some author labored over. An author who played with ideas, revised for clarity, worked hard to make it “just right”. I want to take some time to notice, to appreciate, to enjoy. I encourage (challenge) you to do the same.
If you are up for the challenge, tweet out your page at #pageaday!
What’s On My Book Radar?
Jo Knowles introduces us to several characters whose lives revolve around a local high school. The story takes place in a single day, but the complex interactions and intersections of their lives make you feel as though you’ve known them all for a very long time. People are not always what we perceive them to be, we can find out more if we take time to read between the lines, I’m glad I did. This book also fits my theme this week of taking the time to slow down and notice. This YA novel was a quick read, but the characters are still lingering in my mind.