Sunday, May 31, 2009

I am a Reader

I read voraciously. I read every single day. If I'm upset, or sad or confused, I'll sit down for a bit of a read to calm down. If I'm happy or excited or content---I'll do the same. I need books like I need food, and for those friends out there who are familiar with my metabolism, you know what I'm saying is significant.

My first memory of reading is of sitting up in bed, my back resting against my pink painted, wicker headboard with the big letter "E" on it. I must have been about six years old. I had a colorful illustrated book about undersea explorers propped up on my knees. The background was of deep turquoise water with all manner of fish, seaweed, and sealife depicted. I vividly remember the feeling of looking at that book and "reading" and being indescribably, in bed with my nightstand light on (also pink) and my book! It was a totally blissful moment.

Reading is very important to me. I never go without a book somewhere in my day. I need to read myself to sleep, as it is often the ONLY way to shut my mind up long enough to drift off. If I am getting towards the bottom of the stack of books, I make a trip to the library....I can't afford to run out of reading material----ever.

Image from which sports the quote:

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside a dog, it's too dark to read.

-Groucho Marx

I once had a boyfriend who, in a gesture of intimacy, asked me about my reading. I should've been awakened to the fact that our relationship was going sour by my immediate unwillingness to share my love of books with him. Reading was my business! My bastion of solitude. He didn't really care anyway, and given his vicious sarcastic bent, I just couldn't set up my love of books for his ever-seeking targeting system of insults. (I do remember once, with this same boyfriend, laying in bed reading before sleep. I was reading, "Conan the Defiant" and he was reading, "The Origin of Conciousness and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.)

The best book I have ever read in my entire life is "Housekeeping," by Marilynne Robinson. I read this when I was 18 and it was so beautiful, poetic and perfect. I cried when I finished reading it. I save it for special occasions.....and allow myself to read it only once every few years.

My sister and I once went on a 5 day, 32 mile mountain pass hiking trip. I had brought 3 paperbacks, feeling that they might get me through the week long trip. On the last night out on the trail....I was out of books. Lili had only gotten half way through her book (an Agatha Christie novel) and I begged her to give it to me. Of course she refused! I then reasoned with her; since she had already read half the book, she didn't need that first half, did she? and convinced her to tear the book in half so I could read the beginning.

I ususally keep an even balance of fiction to non-fiction. Once, I felt like perhaps I was spending too much time in other people's fantasies and decided I should go on a month-long "Fiction Fast." I thought long and hard about how I would get through a month like that and promptly got a really, really bad stomach ache. And bagged the whole idea.

My current reads:

Et tu?