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SHE READS TOO MUCH AND IT HAS TURNED HER BRAIN
Sitting in a brightly lit café, facing the window, watching the snow fall. Above it whips furiously past the coronaed streetlamps, below it floats whisper-quiet, plumping the pillows already prepared by earlier snow. The snow is bright white and it gleams in places, where the crystals catch the light and throw it back. Occasionally one of the flakes comes to rest just so; the light catches and reflects against a tiny crystal star.

Often, I feel about snow the same way I feel about traveling to the Antarctic. I'm fascinated by it, and could look at it endlessly (or read about it) but I don't want to be out it in it for very long. It's quite alright with me to have 3 panes of glass between me and the snow. To know that I can lie on the couch, put my book down, turn my head and stare at the flocked white velvet on the trees and still stay warm inside, with my books and my computer and the rest of the Christmas cookies. To be honest, I feel much the same way about traveling to, say, India. I'd rather read about it.

What things would you rather read about than do? I have lots, and I suspect most people do.

I'd rather read about spelunking, hot air balloon trips, long and arduous quests. I'd rather read about rites of passage, hard lessons learned, heroes.

I'd rather turn the pages breathlessly while someone else gets out of that tight spot, solves a mystery, lives through troubled times.

Reading may be for many reasons; one, of course, is education. We read in order to learn, to better ourselves, to gain useful information that we can apply to our own lives and circumstances. One is, obviously, pleasure. To lose yourself in another world, another time, another reality. To become someone else, if only for the short time we are lost in a book. To find out how we would react in the perilous or amusing or provocative situation our protagonist finds him or herself in.

Sometimes we just read for the pleasure of the writing, for the way words are put together, for the rhythm and the rightness that infuses each sentence. A description that brings something to life, as vividly seen as if it were in front of you. A metaphor that jolts an electric sparkle along your spine and leaves you breathless. An anecdote that leaves you smiling and nodding your head, or laughing so hard the page blurs before you.

We read to see if other people's ideas about the world and the way it works match up to ours. We read to inform our opinions. We read to block out daily life and procrastinate from that which desperately or not so desperately needs doing. Sometimes, perhaps, we read because we CANNOT do, and reading becomes our only way in or out into another perspective.

And sometimes, just maybe, we read because we CAN. What a marvel reading is! What a tribute to the abundance and LEISURE of our days. What a way to spend our time.

***

Glowing Candle, Frosting-Topped Birthday Wishes to courtesy!
 recumbent
mood: recumbent
music: Sissel Kyrkjebø—Der Er Ingenting i Verden Så Stille Som Sne


Comments

Drugs and artists are things I only experience through reading... Oh, and fashionable people. :)

I'd rather* lie in a hot bath and read about desert treks a la The English Patient or A Far Off Place (Yes, I use movies to provide better mental image. :). The sun beating down, the rationing of water, the dunes in every direction..and occasionally, the silken tents filled with cushions in the colors of all the jewels. It's all so wonderfully exotic that I wouldn't mind just standing and gazing at it in RL for just a few moments, before being whisked off again by a fully equipped, air conditioned helicopter. :)

But wouldn't you know...come the end of March, we'll be in Libya, and I'll get to see first hand roughly how it might be.




*And wouldn't you also know, what pops into my head, but "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than have to have a frontal lobotomy." Pshhht...I'm kooky!

for the rhythm and the rightness that infuses each sentence

Yup. Sometimes that is more than enough.

I agree, I am happy to join the hero at the rewards part, but some of those dangerous quest things where you may starve, or almost drown, or walk across barren deserts with leprous sores on your back, seem like things others can do... :)

It boggles my mind that I HATED reading when I was young (well, except for Seventeen magazine)...and even into adulthood. One of the biggest gifts of my sobriety was finding the joy in reading. For someone who considered herself a lazy slug even in my drinking days, I realize now I didn't have the patience for it. But it was more than that, I think...I didn't seem to have the capacity to be PRESENT in whatever I was doing. Reading became pleasurable for me when I finally learned to do that...to give myself fully over to the fiction, memoir, travel essay, self-help book. And oh, what a joy it was and is. Rarely a night goes by that doesn't include me saying to J, "I'm going to go read (in bed)." It doesn't matter if I make it through 3 paragraphs or 30 pages...it's quite simply my favorite way to end my day. :)

How lovely to discover the joy of reading so consciously :)

(Anonymous)

Wow, I must say. The opening to this entry was one of the most beautiful paragraphs I've ever read. You totally caught me off guard.

I feel the same way about snow. I like looking at it, I like the idea of it... but I don't like interacting with it. I can't help it, I'm originally from CA!


Kestrel (http://themutteringmuse.com)

The snow which is so very pretty to look at through 3 panes of glass is wonderful as long as I don´t have to go outside. The adventures, well I like to experience them. I have flown in a hot air balloon, and I would love to travel India and experience Russia. Reading about these adventures is like lurking me, daring me and taunting me to come...come...come play in our lands, come see what we have, you know you want to.

Thank you so much Liz! I had a lovely day :)

And I loved this post on reading :)

(Anonymous)

I adore reading about Britain during World War II, most of my favorite books take place in the middle of horrid food rationing, bombs in London, and long distance love...I wouldn't want to experience it, but I love reading about it all.

I've always said (or read somewhere, and repeated it) that we read to find out who we are...and when I was younger, and encountered books like The Book of Ruth, by Jane Hamilton, the UGLINESS of life took my breath away. It was shocking to my sheltered self, even though I read all the time.

I just know I can't live without reading. That my brain and my temperment goes all catawampus if I can't get away and feed my soul with words - with people that seem so real to me that I catch myself, weeks later, wondering how they are...

~samiam, also known as littlesambook:) But I see you changed the link in your sidebar! :)

I can't seem to decide what to call you in my head! So many know you now as "sunday school rebel" I thought it would make more sense to change the link, but now I think I might just put "sam" and leave it at that :)

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