It used to be that I equated reading with recreation. Picking up a book was something I did a lot, but I did it for fun, and I certainly didn’t do it during working hours. With the advent of 60second Recap, though, all that changed. Suddenly, there weren’t enough hours in the day for reading. And I’m not just talking about the classics. Kind publishers bestowed on me piles of tween and YA titles, which I was only too happy to read, and then feature as Picks of the Week. Hundreds of thousands of pages later, I can say that I’ve been fortunate to make my way through a lot of really terrific literature, and the occasional dud.
But part of me has forgotten what it’s like to read for fun.
Oh, sure, I still enjoy the books that I read. But let’s face it: Sometimes all the reading I have to get through can feel like running a marathon over and over. So what’s a girl, who used to read to relax, to do?
That’s where my faintly oxymoronic question comes in: What do you read when you’re not reading? Are you a person who buys trashy magazines and devours them? (Come on, now: Fess up. We’re among friends.) Or maybe you’re an avid blog follower/consumer.
Or maybe you’re like me, and when you’re not reading for work, you’re still reading—because you’ve discovered the joys of reading a cookbook like a novel. I admit that this may be a strange habit, especially since I will happily consume recipe headnotes, ingredient lists, and pages of detailed directions—even if I have no plans to ever make the dish. There aren’t enough hours in the day for reading, and there certainly aren’t enough hours for making braised octopus (not that I would anyway) from the new cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig.
And yet, late at night, when I’m too tired to plow my way through one more Pick of the Week, I eagerly read about Chef April Bloomfield’s recipe techniques, her dinners with famous foodies, and her memories of growing up in the land of trifles and bubble & squeak (otherwise known as England). There are stories in cookbooks, yes there are. And imagination.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s the main reason why I read cookbooks when I’m not reading: To some degree, I get a break from all those words.
Perhaps I should start looking into picture books…