I really miss reading. Before I had my beautiful girls, I'd read 11-13 books a fortnight. Good books, bad books, long books, short books, brilliant books. I love to read. Always have. I read quickly. Always have. Buy them. Borrow them. Beg them. Whatever I had to do to have a book on the go was done.
I was a torch under the bed covers kind of kid. I was a read until I fell asleep kind of young adult. I read on public transport. I read on holidays. I read on planes. In cars. In cafes. On beaches. On walls. In parks.
I read when I was happy. I read when I was sad. I read to occupy myself if I went to dinner alone. Or with a glass of wine on a Sunday afternoon in a chair in the sun. Sometimes I would be so enamoured of a book, I would read it at lunchtimes claiming I was having 'lunch' with somebody. Well I was kind of.
When I went overseas in 2002, I put around 52 boxes of books in storage. I culled ruthlessly about18 months ago by donating them to a charity because we were about to move again and my book habit and our CD habit was fighting for wall space, but I kept the nucleus of each reading stage. The biographies, the crime, the chick-lit, the study, the travel, the children's books, the satire, the funny, the dramatic, the history, the personal, the educational, the eye-opening, the inspirational, the photo-essays, all of them. So many different genres representing different fascinations at different stages of my life.
I sit here in my office and I'm surrounded by book shelves. My daughters rooms have bookshelves stacked high too. It fills me with a heart thumping joy that they too love reading. I hope they don't lose that.
I have a kindle. It's practical especially now when minimising the amount of crap I haul around in my handbag is important. But I still buy paper versions of the books I loved best. Books make me feel good. I like to be surrounded by the knowledge, by all those words put together in so many different ways to tell so many brilliant stories.
I like the emotions stories evoke. I like the way even an innocuous light hearted story can make you think. Start a thought process which will spiral onwards, impacting you in a genuine way. I like to revisit favourites. I'm hopeless at remembering titles, but brilliant at what the book looks like. Better at authors generally than titles too strangely. I love the way a well written book nudges the imagination, allowing you to colour the characters, the scenery, the times in a way that works for you. I love the space that reading gives you to visualise people and times that you don't experience yourself.
But now, I don't read as much as I did. It feels selfish right now, smacks of stolen time when I could be, should be, doing more important things. I read sometimes, furtively, quickly. And I look forward to when reading doesn't look like an invitation for somebody to say "what are you doing?" or "Mama, can I have a biscuit please?" or that little voice in my head insisting "not time for dilly dallying - there's STUFF to do".
Books will wait for me, I know. And in the meantime, I write my lists of books to read and fit it in when I can. I fill in my obsession with words with newspapers, magazines in doctor's surgeries, blogs, favourite websites. I scrawl the names of books I need to come back to in diaries, on business cards, on old receipts. I wonder what the title might have been that I saved in notes before autocorrect kicked in. Curse myself for the haste.
And sometimes, I just get a book and read. Because I want to read.
Is reading one of your favourite things to do?
Or are you the kind of person that prefers your stimulation visual?
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