I love reading; I thirst for books as I imagine others crave sex. When I’m not involved in a book I feel lonely and exposed. Fortunately I have been involved with reading books ever since I was a child thus I am only rarely lonely and seldom exposed.
I do try to be a good wife, when I start a book and decide to commit to it (you know after flirting with it by checking out the cover, reading the back flap, reading random pages) I do try to remain steadfast. In best case scenarios I read a book from beginning to end. Sometimes when I am wildly enamored I can’t put the book down thus like any wildly in love heroine I meet the book in various locales seldom noticing that spring has turned into summer, summer has slipped into fall, and now fall is developing a wintery chill. I leave these books with a certain sadness knowing that my thirst to know all of their secrets has been quenched after I gobble the last page. I also experience a bit of jealousy knowing that someone soon will happen upon the same book, which may set them upon a similar romance with it that I once had – well, at least this book and I will always have Paris.
Perhaps it isn’t the norm, but with such epic romance there are times that I find that despite my best intentions I just can’t commit to a book the way I have to others. I admit that sometimes what sounds good on paper (or short synopsis) doesn’t pan out in terms of my passion for the written word. I find my mind drifting while it is trying to describe a complicated theory or a plotline that just isn’t working and then another book comes along and like Eve I just can’t resist taking a bite from the delicious fruit of knowledge and not so naively making a leap into the great unknown. Thus I leave the book that took me to the party and set up housekeeping with the handsome novel that caught my eye. Oh sure, most of the time I return to the book that I abandoned because I really don’t like to leave a bookmark trapped somewhere amongst unfriendly pages but then there are times…. Yes, I have kicked books to the curb. Sometimes the writing was so appalling that to do less endangers me to start using bad verb usage, other times when I can’t stomach the sexism, and then there are times (I’m looking at you historic classic novels) where the font is so small that I wonder if the intention of the current publisher is to insure readers will develop eye strain and headaches. Then there are books where I have ended my relationship with them abruptly and without apology.
Once upon a time I read Stephen King’s novel ‘It’ with such passion that I took it everywhere including a bar where social obligations forced me to meet others for drinks. I couldn’t put this book down. I think I even managed to read some pages at red stoplights. I had to know how Pennywise was going to be defeated. My God, Pennywise started as a clown in a sewer to then becoming a spider of all things! For whatever reason a group of adults had returned to their small town in Maine (it’s always Maine with Stephen King, except when it is the Overlook Hotel in Colorado) where they all had forgotten chunks of their childhoods. I don’t remember now how it happened but somehow they become children, early adolescents really, all over again and must face down Pennywise in one last battle to the death. I was riveted. King’s humorous creepy narrative had me hooked on the book like a heroin addict combing the streets of some nameless city for my next fix. Thus I set the scene; me in a bar reading the book that was coming to the end and then…THE DISAPPOINTMENT. King had the kids have sex with the only female in the group which proved in some narrative twisted way the love between the group – WTF? Never have I felt so betrayed by a book. Well I needed to show that book who was boss so I threw it to the other side of the bar where I assume someone else picked it up to only have their reading heart broken into a million Pennywise pieces. How could a book be so good from the beginning, middle and near the end turn out to have such a God awful conclusion? I was so angry at King that I would have willingly gone all ‘Misery’ on him. To tell the truth, after all of these years, I’m still slightly miffed at him. Oh no Mr. King, you are going to have to do slightly better than a dozen roses and a gift certificate to Red Lobster; my reading libido took a while to repair itself.
Of course one of the greatest joys in life after going through chemo, which made my eyesight all wonky and left me with the concentration of a three-year-old hopped up on gummy bears, was when I could finally read. It was the Mother’s Day weekend and the full extent of the chemo hit me from the achy joints to just plain being exhausted. My dear papa asked if there was anything that I needed and I told him that I would like to read the then just released Barbara Walters autobiography ‘Audition’ and without any protest he went out in heavy traffic across the small town in which he lives to go to Borders and bought me a hardback copy of the book. Here’s the rub, I’m not even a Walters fan, yet I knew enough that the book sounded intriguing…and you know what? It was intriguing. I think I read the first 500 pages on the first day and read the rest the following. Although I was tired and drawn out the experience proved that I was still capability of participating in one of the things I loved doing best.
By the time autumn came around I was reading all of Charlaine Harris’ ‘Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries’ one after the other. There is nothing more refreshing than reading a series of books that you like (granted Harris’ books they aren’t earth shattering novels but they are enjoyable) one after the other. I then devoured the ‘Twilight’ novels and topped them off by starting to read various young adult books (hey, they are cheaper and get right to the point of a story) including the ‘House of Night’ series, ‘Blue Bloods’ and my favorite of the genre, ‘The Vampire Academy’ novels. Although I did read more adult themed novels, there is something very appealing and freeing about reading books that are all about pure escapism, thus perhaps the reason why not only myself, but most of what seems like the population of the world, is now reading some form of a vampire/supernatural based novel series.
Oh yes as you can see, novels appear to be my first love, but I’ve had my fair share of affairs with non-fiction books. Perhaps I didn’t fall in love with some of them to the degree that I couldn’t stop reading, but I have fallen under their seduction. Often they are the ones that I remember most fondly and more likely to talk about when dinner chit-chat is in order. They are my patient nurturing lovers who serve to educate me and long after whatever novel I’m wild about at the moment is sold to a second hand bookstore, they will remain on my bookshelves enticing me to take a peek between their covers once again.
Now I fear that I must take my leave of all of you dear readers. You see, I have a date with a book and I do not want to be tardy.