confessions of an avid reader
Welcome to the home of The Novel Cat!
I’m Jennifer: reader, bibliophile, cat lady, and founder of this online space where we can all take a deep breath, slow down, relax in a cozy corner, and unlock the magic of books.
I’ve been an avid reader and book nerd for longer than I can remember, having first learned to read when I was about three and never stopped. And now I live with my husband and our three cats in Lexington, Kentucky, in basically what was always my dream house: a 1920s bungalow with several cozy reading nooks and at least one bookcase in every room (well, except the bathroom).
Confession #1: I’m not a fan of traditional book clubs.
Long gone are the days of checking out stacks of books from the school library on Friday and spending the entire weekend reading them. Nowadays, of course, there’s laundry, dishes, and errands and chores … and time spent in our beloved gardens, or cooking, or even just relaxing, all competing for their share of days and evenings.
With limited time to devote to books, I’d much rather read what I want, when I want.
Confession #2: Although I consider myself an avid reader, I don’t keep track of how many books I’ve read over the course of a month, or a year. And, to be perfectly honest, it’s really not that many.
If I were to tally up the number of books I’ve read in a given year, that number would fall squarely in the middle between “barely reads at all” and some impossible-sounding total.
Confession #3: I’ve always been a slow reader.
When necessary, I can certainly keep up with the best speed readers and skimmers. But if I’m enjoying a book, I prefer to take my time … savor the images conjured by the words on the page, or the poetry of the words themselves.
Clearly, I’m not keeping up with the book-club-attendees and list-makers who are reading stacks of books each month.
But you know what? I refuse to feel guilty or unhappy about any of these “failings.”
The goal shouldn’t be to read the biggest pile of books in the least amount of time, but to get the most — relaxation, inspiration, beauty, knowledge, contentment — out of the books you do read, right?
Confession #4: I’m all about calm relaxation — finding it; creating it; encouraging others to believe in its importance.
My not-so-secret wish? To enjoy life at a cat’s pace: lots of quiet time, naps, cozy comfort, contentment. A pile of beautifully written, interesting books nearby … and, of course, an actual cat on my lap.
As you can see, I’ve been both a reader and a cat fan since way, way back. :)
Over the course of all the many intervening years, I’ve finally learned how to nurture — and maintain — a healthy balance between a busy life and the peaceful, calm, quiet time I need each day, whether that’s with a book or not.
I may not be able to devote too many entire weekends to reading anymore, but I’m also not racing to finish a book for any particular reason. I’m not attending book club meetings, or needing to tick the latest title off a list.
Thankfully, I’m now able to find as much contentment in reading a few well-written pages each day as I used to get, all those years ago, from falling asleep while reading in bed on Friday or Saturday night and then diving back into my book as soon as I woke up the next morning, with no plans for the day besides reading.
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“The only important thing in a book is the meaning it has for you.”
W. Somerset Maugham
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.”
“Standing there, staring at the long shelves crammed with books, I felt myself relax and was suddenly at peace.”
“What a happy woman I am, living in a garden, with books … birds, and flowers, and plenty of leisure to enjoy them!”
Elizabeth von Arnim
“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”
“The art of reading is … an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us; when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
“When I … looked round at the familiar bookshelves, and could hear no sounds but sounds of peace, and knew that here I might read or dream or idle exactly as I chose with never a creature to disturb me, how grateful I felt to the kindly Fate that has brought me here and given me a heart to understand my own blessedness.”
Elizabeth von Arnim