How Wonderful It Is to Return to Reading
One week ago, something amazing happened. I read nearly an entire book in one afternoon. The book was V for Vendetta, and the date was the 2nd of November… just three days before Guy Fawkes Day. Wasn’t planned; coincidence is weird that way.
I even read the hardback edition, no less, straight from my husband’s collection of best-loved books: my first physical book read in a while—I do love my Kindle. At The Director’s insisting, I started V for Vendetta sometime within the last year, before things got really hectic, and just never got around to getting past the first fourth of it. If you haven’t read it yet—you must—so don’t assume the first fourth, the first page, is anything less than story perfection and completely entrancing.
So, last Sunday, I set out to show my husband that I do take his reading recommendations seriously. I was going to set aside time to continue reading it. Next thing I knew—once I’d given myself permission (because that’s really what it comes down to)—I was eager to uncover what V’s ultimate plan was, to see the evil bastards in charge realize their ineptitude and contribution to the destruction of individual thought and true freedom, to learn why Alan Moore wrote Evey as a woman absolutely resolved to not participate in murder for any reason and so darn whiney and unappreciative of V’s inherent mystery. I was post-it noting every brilliant quote from the story to type up later and forever keep as reference and even daring to shouting them out at The Director while he was deep in script rewrites. I couldn’t help it. And I wasn’t going to stop reading until I reached the very end.
I discovered all the answers and felt that crazy-good, almost forgotten feeling of having lived through something amazing myself all because someone else had written it and I had read it. And I was almost just as ecstatic to realize I’d just read nearly an entire book in one afternoon, just like I used to before I was an adult and before life got in the way. What a fantastic Sunday that was.
So, this Sunday, I decided to do it again. I’m speeding through Dean Koontz’s Intensity because I’d started it and never finished it. And because that’s just ridiculous.
Only this second Sunday, the second time granting myself permission to read for hours, did I realize how what I’m feeling—the childlike joy, the thrill, the fulfillment of wonder and curiosity, the tickle of discovering new ways of arranging words and how thought-provoking a new arrangement can be—is a “return to reading.” It’s been decades. Decades of my life have passed since I spent a weekend speeding through a book. How shameful that is.
It’s taken me all these years to come full circle, to take one thing that I loved through and through and viewed as one of the most wonderful things about being alive, and to do what I used to do as a kid: to indulge, to live more life through stories.
Reading is a real luxury. What could possibly feel more indulgent than lazing away hours of adult life (when there’s everything to do, that you should do, that you better do or the world around you just might collapse) just experiencing something outside your life and allowing your mind to wander and the sense of wonder belonging to your inner child bubble up and just play for a while?
Yeah, that’s the kind of life I want to have. It’s taken a while, but I’m officially returning to reading. I wanna play again. I’ve earned it.