“No matter how many house chores you complete, there are always more to do.” –African proverb
“No matter how many books you read, there are always more to read.” –Carol’s proverb
Adult life is rife with obstacles for a bookworm. Work life, parenthood, and housework sap all our time until we have only scraps of leftover minutes to chase our passion of reading. Even then, we must ignore the guilt of chores left undone and ignore the existence of dust bunnies under the refrigerator.
It’s time for readers to stand up and demand time to indulge their fantasies and dreams. Go on a reader retreat! Writers have writing retreats. Quilters have quilting retreats. Families have vacation retreats. Why not one for readers? We need quiet time meant solely for reading without interruptions or guilt. We need time to meet our reading needs.
This idea originated with my in-laws. For more than forty years, they spent a week or two in the same camp spot at the same campground by a lake. My father-in-law fished all day. My mother-in-law had her comfortable outdoor chair, a small table on one side with her can of diet Coke, and on the other side, a box full of paperback books she’d picked up at garage sales for a dime or a quarter. She’d read all day long. No one was allowed to bother her reading time. Biology breaks and taking time to slap together meat and bread were her only disruptions. A bookworm’s dream.
I joined her one summer and read nine books on my Kindle while we enjoyed the summer breezes off the lake. Even the chirping birds, squirrels, and chipmunks scrounging for dropped crumbs, and the occasional car driving by didn’t deter us from our concentration while reading.
My daughter and I continued the family tradition during a mother-daughter trip to Cancun. We paid a little more for an all-inclusive resort, but it was totally worth it. Our reading retreat was three days on the beach reading. Our only interruptions were times we couldn’t resist going into the warm ocean water, people coming by to ask if we wanted something to drink, and trips to get snacks. It was heaven!
Reading retreats don’t have to be fancy or overly organized. You don’t have to go to Cancun or the forest, but it’s nice if you can. It can be monthly mornings at a favorite coffee shop or a house rule stating no one bothers Mom or Dad for thirty minutes after supper. It can be a rotation at friends’ houses, or a gathering at a city park. Not much is needed to read, other than a comfortable chair, a handy drink, and quiet.
You can have private retreat or one with a group of reading friends. The group doesn’t have to read the same book. Trading and sharing are encouraged. Discussing what you’re reading over lunch, supper, or breakfast is interesting and provides ideas on what to read next.
The idea of a reading retreat is to have time to engage your mind in what it craves: an escape from life’s drudgery to other worlds, times, and people. Consider it as necessary, a form of therapy.
Most of all, show your children and grandchildren reading is a gift we can all have and enjoy. The wisdom of the ages is found in books in our local libraries, ready to be absorbed by readers of all ages. As Dr. Seuss said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”