I’ve been wanting to read more non-fiction for a while, but I find it hard to get into. I start a book, but then get distracted by other reading and never return to it. Some time ago I had the idea that I should pick one non-fiction topic per year (or other appropriate time unit) to focus on. It seems like this might take the pressure off, and allow me to explore a topic without having to read things from start to finish without interrupting myself with other books.
Well, that was an excellent idea, but I didn’t get very far in actually picking a topic. It’s also difficult to read non-fiction during the school year, because I just want relaxing reading. So I thought maybe I could pick a topic just for the summer, and not worry about the school year.
Then in May this year, I had a sudden attack of ballet obsession—specifically the Royal Ballet in London. I came across a performance clip of theirs on facebook, and then discovered that they have a video of their full hour and a quarter morning class on youtube. I very quickly got sucked in. Last summer and over winter break I took a few adult ballet classes with my mom, taught by a friend of ours (through Scottish dance), and I was excited to recognize some of the names and movements from those classes.
The Royal Ballet has a lot of really excellent videos on youtube, and so I spent about a month watching all of them and finding a few favorite dancers and productions. At some point I realized that I was having an experience similar to reading an intense series of books, where the world and lives of a few fictional people take over my mind for a period of time—except these were real people! Shortly thereafter it occurred to me to make ballet my non-fiction topic for this summer, and I started looking for books about ballet. Even better, I can incorporate videos, news articles, DVDs (there are several ballets I really want to get on DVD!), and going to ballet class.
I did wait until the semester was over, but now I’ve read quite a few books about ballet (mostly children’s books, so they’re quick reads.) I’m intending to review them here, and I think this topic might just have to continue into the school year. On that note, starting topics at the beginning of summer seems a good way to do it. That way I am well invested in the topic by the time school starts, and can continue at a slower reading rate.