R is for Reading

I confess … I am a bookworm. I am the type of bookworm that people look at with deep, deep sympathy emblazoned in their eyes because I cannot get enough of books. I buy too many; so I can’t keep up with reading them all and it is my ambition to own a personal library. Yes, I am that person.
It is a very rare occurrence for me not to have a book (or twenty) on the go. It is even rarer for me to go a day without reading at least a few pages. I kind of view books as my version of therapy (in a way). Let me explain: I find it difficult to not get caught up in a fictional world – no matter how the world is presented (film, tv, book, short story, etc, etc) – and inevitably, I now and then find a character who understands how I am feeling or is going through something similar. They give me advice, somehow, on how I should handle my own situation – a what to/what not to do, if you will. And, though I don’t let my life be dictated by some fictional character that I wouldn’t really know fro Arthur, Martha, Ben or Jerry, it’s a comfort to know that I am not nearly as alone as I think.
The other day, I was tagged by one of my friends to do the “Ten books that have stayed with me” challenge which I thought I would do here …
1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2. At Home with the Templetons – Monica McInerney
3. The House of Memories – Monica McInerney (this one put me in deep existential crisis for a good week and a half)
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling
5. Sold – Patricia McCormick (confronting, but amazing)
6. Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell
7. Oranges are not the only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
8. The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
9. The Maze Runner – James Dashner
10. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

So … there you have it. That was super difficult. But I think there is a wide variety of genres and themes in there, which I am quite proud of.

Due to the sheer multitude of books that I own but have not read, I always find it difficult to choose the next book to read. I sit of floor in front of my shelf contemplating whether I actually want to read that book at that particular time in that particular mood. This ends up being a long process of unshelving and reshelving until a decision is made rashly because it really shouldn’t take that long to choose a book and I end up not wanting to read that one and choosing the first book I pulled off the shelf, anyway.
… And then my friend gave me, frankly, the most genius solution to my problem. She proposed “book roulette” whereby all the names of my unread books are put into a mug and mixed about. The name of the book to be read next is pulled out at random, thereby eliminating hours of contemplation. Genius? I think so.
Being around books, even if I’m not reading them, makes me feel calm. Sitting in a library between shelves and shelves of books instantly makes me feel better. This is why a bookshelf FULL of books is an imperative part of my room.
I don’t really know where my love of books came from. I have always loved them. But I guess this could be a possible origin: I remember one of my teachers (when I was about six or seven) giving me a book of Enid Blyton short stories called The Rabbit’s Whiskers and Other Stories. I think I would have read that book from cover to cover about ten to fifteen times. It was my favourite book and the first first novel length book I read on my own. So, I suppose, that was the beginning of the end for me.
… It’s all uphill from there!

The Heart of a Reader
Paper and ink – a pile of paper and ink. Who would have thought something so simple could be so powerful and compelling?
I have that for hours with my eyes running both enthusiastically and laboriously across each page. I have read each word – processed each meaning.
I have escaped into Hogwarts, Pan-Em, the Maze; battled Mr Wickham, WICKED and the Wicked Witch of the West. I have screamed at the likes of Delores Umbridge, too, though i doubt she heard me.
Each world has welcomed me. Each character has shared their story with me. And each time I pick up one of those piles of paper and ink, I fall in love.
I fall in love with the words, the dialogue, the little character quirks.
And, though, I know that these people cannot be communicated with – that they have no body for their souls – they are a support group in times of strife, hurt and confusion. They’re sometimes there when no one else is.

To me, that’s better than nothing, right?

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