Tuesday, July 22, 2014

THE MANY LIVES OF A READER


It is not true we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. –S. I. Hayakawa

 

I’ve always believed that reading was a doorway into other lives, other worlds, but I’m not sure I ever really considered the implications of that until my friend Marie entered a nursing home. Active all her life and still doing volunteer work at 90 some years old, Marie now has limited mobility. To many in her situation, this would mean a life, a world, defined, for the most part, by the four walls of her room.
 

But Marie is a reader. And that reading knocks down those four walls. With a book in her hands, Marie faces the perils of a Montana winter while homesteading, foils the raiders of a vast airship, or soars dragon-back to fight another insidious threadfall. She inhabits bodies that walk, that run, that jump from windows or out of the way of oncoming traffic. She lives in the present, the past, or the far distant future. Transported by reading, she can be anyone and travel anywhere. And that beats the hell out of where you can go with a wheelchair or a walker.
 
 
 

Friday, July 4, 2014

LOST IN READING?

Elend: I kind of lost track of time…

Breeze: For two hours?

Elend: There were books involved.

― from THE WELL OF ASCENSION by Brandon Sanderson



Two hours is nothing! Put a good book in this bookjunkie’s hands and I may not surface for days at a time. Well, except for things I can’t get out of—like work or sleep. Luckily, reading while eating is just bookjunkie efficiency in action. I do draw the line at taking a book into the shower or bathtub, but only because I haven’t discovered a good water-proofing method. I have heard of listening to audiobooks while sleeping, but I’m not convinced it’s as restful as true sleep. I like sleep.

I also like my job. So, tempting as it might be, I resist sneaking in a chapter when no one is looking. I’d end up like the character in the quote, losing track of time. Nor do I read that book on my breaks. Same reasons. Breaks are for books I don’t mind reading in bits and pieces. And remember, I work in a library. When not helping patrons with their various questions, I have collection development duties on the adult side plus duties on the children's side that include our weekly toddler/preschooler story time. In other words, between research, book reviews, and the books for story time, there’s very little work time when this bookjunkie isn’t reading. And while it’s not that good book I can’t wait to get lost in again, but it does take the edge off the craving. Kinda like nibbling on appetizers while you wait for the main course to be served.