You never really appreciate the simple pleasures afforded to you until those pleasures are stripped away.
Growing up, I loved reading. I would read and reread my favorite books multiple times, literally wearing out the spine on a select few (my copy of Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon came out of my 7th grade year a collection of mostly loose pages, honestly). I loved age appropriate stories, but I also loved scouring my parents’s shelves for anything the looked intriguing, and probably wound up reading way more Stephen King and Dean Koontz way earlier than I should have (I was definitely about eleven the first time I started in on The Gunslinger, the first of the Dark Tower books).
I didn’t do well with mandated reading; it was hit or miss if I’d get the book read on time, depending on whether or not I liked it (I sped through The Things They Carried, for instance, and A Prayer for Owen Meany; I barely cracked the spine on The Natural or My Antonia), but I still read quite a bit outside of class. By the time I hit college, I was going through between thirty and fifty books a year. Not record-setting, by any means, but I was in a good groove.
Then I graduated, and cue the meandering apathy of the gap year. Some people thrive in that situation – finally away from the pressures of academia, but not yet hurled headfirst into the responsibilities of full adulthood. But for me, that year meant an even more erratic sleep schedule, a slight existential crisis, and the desire to do nothing but play video games, watch The Venture Brothers, and web surf. While I wasn’t doing much in particular, those things I was engaging in were fairly mindless and didn’t really require anything even vaguely resembling sustained concentration. Aside from Harry Potter (which I had gotten into while still in school, and which was a go-to comfort when I was feeling down), I don’t know that I read a single book that year.
It’s been up and down since then. Sometimes I’ll find myself with an unexpectedly slow week at work that coincides with a week where my son decides to actually take naps, and I’ll eek out two books that week; sometimes, I’ll be on my feet and running around like crazy all day, and my son will need endless attention when I get home, and I won’t read a word for weeks on end.
Frankly, I’m a little baffled as to how any parents of young kids get to read anything other than picture and board books until their child is, oh, school aged, honestly. We’ve begun weekly trips to the library, because my son loves doing the puzzles and playing with the educational toys there, and we always come home with a stack of books for him. Only recently have I really started taking out books for myself again, as well. I’ve actually managed two books in the last two weeks (astounding!), and I’ve currently got five others out on loan. I’m working me way through two of them right now.
I’m syncing up my Goodreads to this blog, so that I can share reviews or recommends with you all if I ever actually get through the damn things.
I yearn for the day when Bear can sit beside me and read his book while I read mine. Until then, it’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs for the ten-millionth time and squeezing in a few pages of a grown-up book before I collapse for the night. Sigh.