Sunday, November 21, 2010

Guilty Reading

The week before last, I made three separate train trips to medinat el-ba7r, and it looks like I'll be doing the same again this week, including a trip on my favorite late night train. Depending on how many stops the particular train makes, it's a 2.5-3 hour ride, not bad, and the trains are nice.  But three trips in a week is tiresome, particularly as I often take the train early in the morning or late at night, and am tired.  Unfortunately, sleeping on the train is pretty uncomfortable, and always ends up making me feel worse than if I hadn't slept at all.  So mostly, I read fiction.

Reading fiction has been my hands-down favorite activity since I was about five years old, so in some ways, having an extra twelve or so hours to read a week is fantastic.  In fact, writing this down, I'm thinking wow, how can I continue this trend in my future life? However, I always feel somewhat guilty that I am not doing academic work, or at least reading in loghatelba7th.  I would actually quite like to read in loghatelba7th on the train, particularly as I am reading a good book right now.  Unfortunately this latter activity invariably ends up with my (male) seat mate wanting to talk to me the whole train ride and asking for my phone number as we arrive at the station, which makes me less thrilled.  So, loghatelba7th books are not an option.  I could work on my computer, but it's just so much easier to read a book.

Realistically, I know I shouldn't feel that bad for reading fiction, as this isn't even my dissertation writing year (that's next year).  But when my entire academic life is centered around one project, and this project is my first real project in the area I'm most interested in, it's hard to not feel guilty when I know I'm not putting in all of the hours that I could.

1 comment:

  1. I have a 45-minute each way subway commute, whenever I go to campus (which, with my current committee work, is nearly daily, sigh). Usually, I think of that time as "whee! productivity! class prep! reading for this %#@$ chapter I should be writing!" But lately I've been books. At least on the ride home, when I can justifiably say I've put in a long day of work and deserve a reward. The amount of difference it's made in my psychological well-being is astounding.

    We do convince ourselves we should be working on our dissertations 24/7, don't we? Any moment off is somehow slacking, somehow traitorous.

    Anyway. Books can be very good for a person. Hooray books.