There are three things, three constants, in my life that make each move, each transient year, each new school, new job, new life, more enjoyable. Last week I talked about church and my soaps.
My sister told me during my first year of college, when I was homesick and having a hard time adjusting, that each day you need to have something happy to look forward to.
11 years later, I've realized throughout every easy or hard time in my life, through the moves to Athens and Macon GA, Charlottesville VA, Auckland NZ, and now New York City, I've loved falling in love with the characters in books. With their stories, their happiness, the angst. Whether I want them to entertain me, make me fall in love with them, learn from them, discover history, books are so important in my life.
When Lilly was born and she had Down syndrome and we knew next to nothing about what that meant, I told my mom: go to Barnes and Noble and buy me every single book they have with the words "Down syndrome" in the description. And in the days following her birth, I bonded with my girl, reading these books, learning what to expect, and reading out loud to her from children's books as well to share my passion. (During those first few weeks I also read out loud to her from Soap Opera Digest, I swear. Why she didn't develop my love for soaps, is a sad mystery I hope to someday cure.)
I remember the first book I read all by myself: Go Dog Go. I still love it!
When we moved to Atlanta, I read Gone with the Wind for the first time. It changed my life, as I fell in love with the characters and the South.
In high school, I transferred to a new school Junior year and had a hard time adjusting; I subsequently read every Danielle Steel novel that year.
And in New Zealand, I read every book I could find, settling on the odd genre of American Civil War history. As the NZ libraries understandably had quite little in this subject, I ordered books from the US to satisfy my curiosity about what Abraham Lincoln was really like, and what happened during the last few months of the Civil War.
But this love of reading has a downside. I am the fastest reader ever; which means that once I open a book, I can't put it down.
I procrastinate everything. I read while eating, while watching TV, while taking a bath, while cooking, while hanging out with Lilly. I can finish a Danielle Steel book in under 24 hours. John Grisham takes about 48.
Once I start reading, I just don't want to stop. I just need to find out what happens next, and next, and next, until I finish the story. And so the house, and our lives, get put on hold.
So I try not to read. If it takes me a day or two to read a book, I'll only read one a month; otherwise nothing would get done.
Yesterday I bought the book "London" by Edward Rutherford. I had read his book "New York" a couple months ago and completely fell in love with this historical novel. It took me about 2 days to read and even then it was pushing it. I don't think I ate or slept.
So, armed with a new book that I'm dying to devour, I'm trying to regulate before it gets out of hand. Yesterday, I read chapter one. And today I read chapter two. Maybe if I can savour each word, each story, each character, I can take exception to my excessive compulsive reading and actually have a life in addition to becoming immersed in the character's lives.
Which is why I'm blogging at midnight. I just so want to open up chapter 3 and find out what happens next so instead I'm distracting myself...