New Hobbies · Reading

Reading Not-For-Pleasure (Or How I Aged 50 Years Overnight)

So I figured my first hobby post about reading would be about my newly-created (and still somewhat imaginary) book club. Unfortunately, even though we chose a book (and it’s sitting on my nightstand right now), I still haven’t quite mustered up the enthusiasm to dig into it. Don’t get me wrong – I love reading a good book. Or rather, I love the idea of reading a good book.

When I was a kid, I read anything. It didn’t matter if the book was considered a classic or quality literature – I read what I enjoyed. I found the act of reading itself fun and entertaining. As an adult, I like the idea of reading for fun. Even more than that, I like the idea of having read good books that I can then talk about so people will know I’m well-read and interesting – and that’s just not the way to make reading fun.

Anyway, this really isn’t the point of this post, but somehow it seemed kind of relevant. (Join me next week as we explore how little I’ve read of our book club and also my feelings of intellectual inadequacy!)

The 2 books I got for Hannukah. Yes - these are picture book versions of children's novels I have already read. #SuperIntellectual
The 2 books I got for Hannukah this year. Yes – these are picture book versions of children’s novels I have already read. #SuperIntellectual

This post is about a surprising new reading hobby and one I totally hadn’t even considered until last weekend. It starts with an online advertisement and ends with my inability to control my impulse spending – I subscribed to a newspaper! And not even an online one – a physical, black-and-white newspaper is now delivered to my door every Sunday morning. (Daily delivery wasn’t an option! I’m not cheap. I’m economical.) Instead, I have access to all their daily content online which I totally don’t read because I’m lazy. They do send me an email each morning with 2-sentence summaries of all the day’s important news. It reads almost like Buzzfeed article (because my generation has a 3-second attention span), but instead of cute kitten videos, it’s about people being mean and sad. Super uplifting way to start your day!

Basically, this is how it went down:

  1. See an Instagram advertisement that says you can subscribe to a full year of Vanity Fair for only $5. Remember that (politics incoming! Look away if you’re faint of heart…) Donald Trump hates Vanity Fair. Think “$5 is such a good deal – how can I not subscribe???” Click subscribe.
  2. Realize that getting fun mail that’s not bills (or old lady catalogs addressed to the woman who used to live in your house) is so much better! Decide you’re going to subscribe to more publications.
  3. (More politics. I’m so sorry.) Also remember that you hate fake news and people who don’t fact check their sources and the best way to combat this is to support quality media organizations. Decide to stop reading (stealing?) all their articles by browsing in incognito mode.
  4. Subscribe to the Atlantic because you read it in 10th grade English class so it has to be a credible magazine…right?
  5. Decide to ALSO subscribe to a newspaper. Pick the New York Times because they will deliver an actual paper to your door and you’re too lazy to read stuff online. (I got things to do people!)
  6. Realize you just spent $200+ over the course of the next year. Justify this to Adam by telling him it’s a small price to pay to feel intellectually superior to all your friends. Pretend he didn’t roll his eyes at you.

Believe it or not, I’m really enjoying this little venture, even if it is just the beginning. We got our first physical newspaper delivered yesterday morning (since the Times only delivers on Sundays in our area) and it was so incredibly relaxing. Starting your day with a cup of tea and a bathrobe and the paper was actually kind of awesome (in a comforting, grandfatherly sort of way).

For those of you who might not think a newspaper subscription is worth it or who are overwhelmed by the sheer weight of the Sunday New York Times – don’t be. I didn’t force myself to read every article, just the few that interested me. I skimmed the rest – reading headlines and the first few paragraphs (and then forced Adam to read the articles I found interesting because apparently I’m turning into my grandmother). The other great part about only getting the paper once a week is I can keep reading the articles throughout the week, making my way through each section as I have the time.

Adam and I were also somewhat caught off-guard by how easy the articles were to read. As Adam put it – it’s incredible what a difference a well-written article can make after seeing so much news passed around in the form of “like if you agree” memes on Facebook. A front-page article on re-homing Syrian refugees was somehow compelling, but in a way that wasn’t at all emotionally manipulative. It was like reading a well-researched, fact-based novel. (The New York Times is a quality news source? I am shocked. Shocked, I tell you!) After all the issues with fake news recently, a legitimate news source without the distraction of internet comments was actually really refreshing.

I can’t wait to get my newspaper delivered next weekend. Now I just need to go buy plaid slippers and yell at some kids to get off my lawn.



One thought on “Reading Not-For-Pleasure (Or How I Aged 50 Years Overnight)

  1. I usually get all my news from academics on Twitter (’cause I like whole ‘pick and choose what you want to hear about’ thing), but I totally get the appeal of physical newspapers/magazines. I’m that way with books. Ebooks are awesome, but holding a real book feels awesome(er).

    Liked by 1 person

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