What Is “Normal” Reading?

I was recently skimming the New York Times, as I am wont to do, and stumbled across this post: “What Is ‘Normal’ Eating?” The poster rightly points out that eating normal means different things to different people. Whenever our office goes out for a company lunch, a certain subset of the office gets large portions of red meat with a starchy accompaniment; others of us order whatever has no meat but lots of cheese; others go in for the simple, healthy options. Each of us is getting a dressed-up version of our normal.

Normal reading for me involves a heaping helping of young adult fantasy and sci-fi, one book at a time—my reading relationship is mostly, though not entirely, monogamous. Jason, our publisher, chews his way through a lot of biography. My coworker Hannah and I agree on many books, but contemporary fiction is a nutritious part of her complete book-breakfast.

The New York Times post quotes selected points from a dietitian’s universal definition of normal eating. With a little bit of modification, I think it works for reading, too:

  • Normal reading is picking up a book curious and reading until you are curious about something else.
  • Normal reading is being able to give some thought to your book selection so you get thought-provoking books, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on books that are just fun.
  • It is leaving some chapters unread because you know you can read some more tomorrow, or it is reading more now because the book is so wonderful.
  • Normal reading is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in reading. Like staying up till 3 AM to finish a book.
  • Normal reading takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life. Food is also important, after all.

One thought on “What Is “Normal” Reading?”

Comments are closed.