Tag Archives: Reading

Reading My Way Out

I didn’t want to look back to see when I last blogged, but it felt like a long time ago. Too long. Seven months to be exact. (Ok, I looked.) My last post was just before the U.S. presidential election. Timing is everything. Within days, there was so much vitriol in social and mainstream media. Blame, accusation, shame, anger, name-calling, gloating. I didn’t identify with any of it. I didn’t want to be part of the discourse, and I didn’t want to be irrelevant. So I chose to disconnect. I became a virtual bookworm

I fed my vice. I read and I read and I read. I loaded up my Kindle and unpacked a box of hardcover books that had been following me around for years. When I told my son how much I loved The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven – a book he passed along to me during his first year in college — he said, “I thought you’d like it.” Pause. “It took you what? Five years to read?”

I read so many books these past several months that my husband blamed reading for my insomnia. True, reading kept me awake at night, but it also kept me up during the day. A mind filled with Lincoln in the Bardo, A Gentleman in Moscow, Ribbon of Sand, Amsterdam, Hillbilly Elegy, When Breath Becomes Air, The Matthews Men, A Man Called Ove, Bel Canto (to name the ones I can recall quickly) is constantly thinking about other places, other times, other cultures, other lives. While seven months absorbed in reading effectively limited my exposure to negativity, somewhere between Americanah and The Zookeeper’s Wife, I became helplessly lost, like Macaulay Culkin looking for the library’s exit in The Pagemaster. Lured away by Adventure, Fantasy and Horror, his journey helps him face his fears. Except I wasn’t looking for the exit or conquering fear; I was avoiding both.

Last night, I said to Alan (as my witness), “When I finish this book, I’m going to start writing again.”  Like Harold and the Purple Crayon, I am making my way home.

 

 

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When Reading Eats Away at Your Sleep

 

securedownloadPeople like me used to be called bookworms, beetle larvae that eat paper and glue. In the age of eReaders, we’re more like PacMen. Either way, I admit that I am addicted to reading. Here’s how I know:

I was reading Empty Mansions, the story of heiress Hugette Clark, and before I fell asleep, I finished it. I quickly scanned my Kindle “home” page and realized that I didn’t have another book in queue. It was nearly 1 a.m. Most people would have put down the Kindle or book and called it a night. Not me. I needed another book. I didn’t have one in mind, so I decided to peruse the online bookstore to find my next read – an Anna Quindlen book, Still Life with Bread Crumbs. The Pulitzer Prize winning The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt also caught my eye; I ordered that, too. Which one to read first? Anna Quindlen won. It beckoned me like an unopened present. One tap, and I was hooked. I kept reading until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any more.

I can’t remember how many years I have owned a Kindle, but the one I have now is my second. I thought I would miss the feel and smell of books; I don’t. I easily made the transition from turning paper pages to tapping a screen. I love the convenience, especially when I travel. It’s like carrying my bookshelf and a bookstore in my purse. The whole amazing concept didn’t hit me until I woke up that particular morning and confessed to my husband the real reason I didn’t get enough sleep.

As I replayed it in my head, it sounded like a dream: I went to the bookstore, looked over books that were recommended to me based on my reading history, read the reviews and made my purchases – in my pajamas, lying in bed next to my sleeping spouse.

As far as addiction goes, reading is a good one, except when it eats away at my sleep. Sometimes I wish someone would save me from myself, especially at 1 a.m., and with the timbre of authority shout, “Lights out!”