I hadn’t realized how long it had been since I’d picked up a book until I finally did last week. I had ordered The Walking Dead Compendium, Volume 1, because I had become obsessed about knowing more about Michonne, a character that was introduced briefly in the season finale. Volume 1 contains the first 48 episodes of the comic, whereas the television show is only up to number 6, I believe. I wanted to know more. I ploughed through all 1,088 pages in three evenings (which is not that difficult to do when it’s a giant comic book – both because it was completely engrossing and because some pages have maybe 10 words) and that was all it took. Then, on Wednesday, I was home sick (as in an oogly tummy, as opposed to homesick) and wasn’t in the mood to watch television (because daytime tv is terrifying) or a movie (I’d probably seen them all already anyway), so I grabbed a book I’d started in the summer. I think I started it in the summer. May have been earlier than that. But I picked it up and immediately realized how much I missed it. The feel of paper in my hands, being able to curl up anywhere, getting lost in a whole different world for hours on end. Even the cramp I get in my pinkie finger thanks to the odd way I hold a book open. All of it. I missed all of it. And it just took a bunch of zombies to make me realize this.
And all the while, I forgot about the internet. I checked my email twice over the six days I was home this weekend. I don’t remember if I checked Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest. I didn’t check my blog stats or read anything from my feedreader. I didn’t even check the news. I made lunch for my kids, partook in a variety of Easter festivities, watched a few recorded television shows, and broke up a couple dozen fights between siblings, but every moment I could steal (and moments grew to hours), I was consumed by a story.
I am, by no means, a fast reader. My eyes wander, I’m constantly interrupted, I often get caught up in a thought, all of which impedes my progress. I’ve never understood how those who can speed read are able to completely absorb the story. How do you get lost in a world created by words if you’re sprinting through at break-neck speed? I need to take my time, to let every phrase sink deep, to pause and re-read that which grabs my attention, or to work through confusion. Not that I don’t believe that fast readers are also able to do that; it’s just that I do those things at a much more leisurely pace. It’s not a race. Unless it was, then I’d concede defeat.
My book shelf at home is full, with books neatly arranged in alphabetical order, by author, but I have so many that I’ve had to start piling them on top of the neat rows. I like to own the books I read, as opposed to borrowing from the library or other people, so they add up. There are 24 books that I have yet to read and they’ve been accumulating, thanks to the months I’ve gone without finishing a single one. This weekend I read The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon, Heart Of The Matter by Emily Giffin, and I’m on page 364 of The Book Of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. The middle book was disappointing, the first was positively enlightening, and I am absolutely engrossed in the third. I want to be reading it right now, actually, and I can’t wait for my lunch break when I can squeeze in a dozen or so pages.
I really, really missed reading and I vow to not neglect my books for so long ever again. That will probably mean more time away from the internet. However, that is something I am fully prepared to do.