I confess: I’ve been reading.
It started innocently enough. Just my monthly business trip. Usually I can contain my reading to the five days of travel. It’s generally easy enough. I know I can read three books per trip. One on Monday, the flight giving me uninterrupted time to get quite a ways through a book and the hours adjusting to an unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar room provide the time to finish. A second Tuesday through Wednesday, sometimes into Thursday morning. I spend most of my travel time, outside of working hours, huddled in my hotel room in the quiet solitude I need to regroup before the next day’s meetings catapult me into nonstop talking, listening, interacting…all space invaders that are exhausting to an introvert. The third I start on Thursday and finish about the time the plane lands back home. I turn off my Kindle and put it in my briefcase so I’ll have it for the next trip.
This time, however, I spent that Thursday evening buying entirely too many Monthly and Daily deals ($2.99 or less!) and so I wasn’t quite finished when I landed Friday afternoon. And so I finished Friday night. And started another one.
I devour books with a thirst rivaled only by a vampire coming out of solitary confinement.
I read The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos, These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf…and then moved on to Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens, When She Woke by Hillary Jordan, The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and Southern Cross The Dog by Bill Cheng. And then, finally, The Opening Line by Karl Wiggins and that’s what broke me. The opening line for The Opening Line is “The opening line of a book, or a short story for that matter, is possibly the most important but also the hardest line to write.” Blah blah blah puke. Seems Mr. Wiggins missed the point of his own book.
Eight and a half books in two and a half weeks. A half because I couldn’t stomach The Opening Line any longer. Had it been a paper book, I would have thrown it across the room. Instead, I deleted it. Even though it seems I have infinite space on my Kindle, I’m not going to waste any of it on a shit book.
And, yes, I prefer my Kindle to paper books. Argue what you will about the value of a paper book, I don’t miss them and I don’t intend to return to them. Kindle books are less expensive and don’t cost the rain forest either. I can borrow books with my Prime membership, and I can get library books. I can research from it, define words in it, highlight it, and search it. It doesn’t take up any more space no matter how many books I have on it. I can read it anywhere and everywhere. And I never have to worry about running out of material mid-trip just because I didn’t pack enough.
I cannot start a book without finishing it (crap like the Line book don’t count). One page, one chapter, it isn’t enough. My behavior with books is an addiction. Better books than bottles, but the behavior is comparable. Nothing else matters when I am reading a book. Not bills, not groceries, not work. Not cleaning or cooking. Not socializing or sleeping (until I pass out from exhaustion, or to gain strength to continue reading). Only running earns a book break, and that’s because I’m also addicted to my daily run. When I’m travelling I don’t run, so I read in its place. When I’m home I run, and I don’t read. When I travel I don’t have to make my own bed, or my own meals, and so there is time to read. When I am home, I have responsibilities, and I will ignore those if I am reading.
Which I have done for the last week and then some. I have read some great books, but I have got to get a handle on life again. I travel again in two weeks. That’s not much time until the cycle will threaten to start again.