Fuck, I love reading.
I was raised by parents who were both voracious readers and avid book collectors (ask any of my friends about the antique libraries that were all over the house while I was growing up), and both habits have rubbed off on me. When I was a kid, half of my bed was always covered in books and comic collections, and as I grew up, they migrated to my night stand, in my purse, littering my car. I was always there when Reading Rainbow or Wishbone aired. But I wouldn’t call myself a book worm. In spite of a very short attention span that makes it hard for me to read quickly – I’m constantly re-reading because I find myself having read 3 pages with no idea what I just read – I just really love books.
Books have been a security blanket for really my whole life. When I was scared of falling asleep, or woke up from a nightmare, I would read until I passed out. I carried books around with me as an adult so I wouldn’t have to interact with people (oh yeah, totally before smart phones), or so I could fish for cool people (most of the friends I made in college I made because they commented on the book I was reading and we started a conversation from there). When I went through periods of depression, I tore through books – anything for a distraction. I’ve always felt better with books around, even if I haven’t read them. And picking and choosing a select handful of my books to bring with me to Sydney was heart wrenching.
Like basically everything else in my life, reading books fell by the way side this year, and all I’ve really read this year has been online magazine articles, blogs, or cheap, easy reads on Kindle. But I’m slowly getting back on that physical-hold-in-your-hand-book horse. For the past few weekends, I’ve been carving out time just for reading, and I really love it. Like, it kinda makes me miss being a depressed teenager with no social life who had nothing but time to sit in her room all day reading and watching movies. So I’ve been wrapping myself up in a blanket in bed on Sundays to read, and it’s basically been the best thing ever.
So, reading = awesome. Making time to read = more awesome. Time spent reading instead of watching the same shitty TV shows over and over while scrolling through the same Instagram feeds is making me feel less like a boiled sponge and more like a pre-packaged, new in the wrapper sponge. It’s taking irritatingly slow baby steps, but I’m slowly starting to feel like a real person again.
Coinciding with this newly rekindled love of reading, I found out this week that Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book, Here I Am, was released. Now, I love Jonathan Safran Foer. I bought Everything is Illuminated on a whim before I left for college back in the day, and it knocked my socks off. He’s brilliant at blending humor, heart break, and inventive language and formatting, and I’ve read everything he’s published. Shit, I’d read his grocery lists. So even though I have about 5 books I need to read, as well as being 1/3 of the way through a House of Leaves re-read, I decided to go out and actually buy the book – which kinda felt like a Big Deal because I’ve only bought books for other people in the last couple of years (I’ve fallen prey to the Kindle side, and yes I hate me too). So off to the haunts of my youth – ye olde book shoppe.
If I love books, then I’m obsessed with book stores. New books or used books, it doesn’t matter, books stores are my kryptonite. I love the smell, I love the book cases stacked from floor to ceiling, and I love that indescribable feeling you get while walking around – a mix between anticipation, gloriously overwhelmed, and I WANT EVERYTHING LET ME READ IT ALL. I worked at a few book stores in my retail days, and my book collection exploded and my savings account – well, that never happened.
Lucky for me, about 15 minutes away from us in ANY direction, there’s a book store. And after 10 minutes of walking through the first shop, I realised I had $160 worth of books in my hands. Annnd that’s not exactly budget friendly at the moment. So I reigned it in (despairingly, I might add), and left with my new Safran Foer, some coffee and a cupcake (you can’t call a chocolate cheese cake muffin a muffin – com on). I sat outside in the chilly rain under a slightly leaky umbrella and read for about an hour. It was glorious.
Today was perfect. All I could think was, this is what I want to do every day. Drink coffee and read. And eat delicious pastries. I mean, if it could be chilly and rainy forever that’d be tops, too. When I’m reading constantly, I feel like a better person. And I definitely write better the more I read. So it’s all around a win.
Also, that deserved smugness you get when you read the book before the movie/TV show/Netflix series comes out – priceless.
What’s everyone reading these days? How are you making time to read?
ps. One more Reading Rainbow nod, because this is hilarious