Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Character of Reading


The other day I spent most of the hours wrapped in a cozy blue chair reading a new book. It was a precious kind of day where no one expects you to be anywhere and no tasks call your name. You can slip into the oblivion of fiction, become wrapped tightly in the storyline, melting into the characteristics of the characters. It was the kind of day where after one hundred pages you find that you half expect the characters to be right there with you, asking you what to do on the next page, how to resolve the conflict that seems impossible to fix. When I finally left the cozy walls of the apartment it was only to realize that the movements of the novel had not sprung off the pages and the world was just as I had left it, moving on as nothing has changed. I wondered how I can get so entrapped in their lives, these people that exist only on paper. I had begun to hope with them, to dream with them. Perhaps I am just a hopeless romantic, believing that the truth of novels can be the truth of the world, or perhaps I never truly lost the vivid and wonderful imagination I had as a child. Whatever the reason, when the book finished I had the same feeling I have always had, when the last word is read and there is no more. It is a feeling of accomplishment, of satisfaction, stirred up with a slight twinge of sadness that the story can no longer draw you deep into its world. 

I once tried to date a boy who didn’t like to read. When reviewing the failure of this dating endeavor a good friend remarked matter-of-factly that part of the problem lay in this fact that I had dismissed as unimportant. Reading, she stated, is not just a thing to do. Being able to enjoy a good book is a character trait. As I lay down my book and return to the world that exists around me, I cherish that statement. 

And in final real news, school starts again tomorrow. Just three quarters left. I admit I am not looking forward to them, but like the little engine that could, I will just keep chugging. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. 

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