Pomp and Circumstance

Here’s something I’ve noticed, about both others and myself: we’re getting pretty snazzy about the whole reading thing. I mean this in the most loving sense, because I adore the fact that I can take pictures and pictures and pictures of my book collections and squeal over titles and covers with everyone, and I love that I can ask Twitter what they think of a book and have a decent idea within a relatively short time of if the book is likely to be one I want to get my hands on or not. But sometimes it feels a little…showy.

Sometimes I miss the days when I didn’t know nothing about nobody and – well, nothing. I would just waltz into the library, because I had no money to buy books, grab the first ten that looked interesting, and waltz back out, sinking into the couch for hours per day and soaking myself in words. I had no clue, didn’t even know there were clues to be had, about whether or not the stories were good, if the characters were developed, how well the plot flowed, and if the dialogue was natural or not. I suppose I liked some and didn’t like others, but aside from maybe two or three friends, I was the fastest, if not the only, reader I knew, so it was my solitary pleasure. I read for me and me only, and while it was sometimes lonely, there was zero pressure.

Now I feel a sense of wanting to read what everyone else is reading. Now there have been a MULTITUDE of times this has worked out well, because I have found a gabillion awesome books through others, and though sometimes the need to review books and have them done by certain times feels like unwanted stress, I know I sign myself up for that and I’ve been fortunate to read many amazing books through that avenue as well. But it’s a stress and pressure I would have never, ever associated with reading. Reading was my stronghold and my safe place, where I could tuck myself away when the world was too much, and emerge when I was prepared to deal again. Now it often feels as though the world has invaded my refuge.

Now, I’m not likely to stop taking pictures, tweeting, texting, and otherwise blabbing about my reading anywhere and everywhere. It’s just too fun. But I am making an effort to read what I want. To ignore what others are reading, unless I just really have to get my hands on it, and to set my electronics far away when I dive in. I want to get lost in the story. I want to forget what’s around me and be a part of that literary world again. When I come back out, I’ll light up the Internet with my findings. But I’m going to practice mindfully setting everything else aside in honor of the written word.

What do you think about all the fuss we writing and reading types make over books?

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