I was reading this morning. I had started the book the other day, just the preview, bought it, and finally got around to reading, tucked into bed in the early morning dark, warm, listening to my companion breathing… It was a marvelous way to start my day.
I don’t get this often, there is too much to be done and lying in bed reading is a rare treat. But when I got up and started coffee, I was thinking about the solace of reading.
I’ve read since I was very young, and although with adulthood, I have slowed down considerably, I’ve never quite managed to stop reading. Not that I haven’t tried, mind you, although not for any good reason. But I need that solace, the escape into another world, with people who come to life in my head.
It’s gotten harder, over the years, to find books that can overcome my editorial back-brain as I have trained it to help with my own writing, and used it to dissect what I’m reading. Being able to see ‘how it works’ is useful for the writer, but spoils the experience for the reader, I’m afraid. But once in a while…
Once in a while I can lie there in the dark, reading, and feel the anchors to this weary world let slip, and glide off into the waters of an unknown world. There is no danger in it, for all that I tense with the thrill of the story at times, and occasionally shed a tear when one I have learned to be fond of is taken from the paper world the author built. I the reader am safe, and will come back to my own land relaxed and better for the time away.
Until the next journey, then!
And what is it about a book that can do this? I don’t think it’s quantifiable, entirely. One man’s trash is another’s treasure, to pull out a hoary chestnut. But cliches exist because they hold truth. Me the reader can find things in a book that you the reader might not. I have learned that reviews and critics are difficult measuring sticks to find a new book, because I may not feel the same way about a book they do. I know that there are some whose tastes align with mine, and I follow their recommendations with good success, mostly.
Each reader brings to the book their own unique perspective, and needs, and desires… even if it is for only a couple of hours of escape. These days, I read for two reasons. Professionally, which is often a chore and rarely, a delightful surprise. And for pleasure, which I accomplish too seldom.
There is more, isn’t there always more? But I need to accomplish breakfast, and I am still in a fey state of mind, half in the world and half… elsewhere. Still not quite landed from this last voyage.