I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t reading a book. But I can remember all the times that reading a book got me through tough times, or to waste time, or further back in order to educate myself, maybe to divert myself.
So we could say because of that, the times when I am not reading could be the times when I am just getting on with the real world. But I know that next book is just waiting for me.
Even when I am not reading, hovering around me are the memories of all those narratives, those ambiences, those people in those books that I have read, that permeate themselves into everything around me.
So I walk through my bookless world and experience those memories. But I find as soon as I have, I walk out of those memories. If only I could stay there, between the book and me and whatever else is happening around me. Maybe that is why I reach for the next book.
As if I have to know when the next line comes, in which book, or which page I am going to turn to, or how many pages are left of that book. Until it is finished.
It’s like the book does not exist, what counts is the space-time dimension of the reading. Its like when we open the umbrella and protect ourselves from the rain, and walk our way to our destination. But we may prefer to walk unprotected, and not reading a book is like that for me.
Of course I am blessed to have the choice of whether or not I want to read something and a more or less free choice into what I want to read, and particular to my circumstances where and for how much time I decide to spend with my book, which incidentally is again a free choice. Needless to say I have my preferences.
So why on earth, with that free choice, would I not have an open book by my bedside. It would be like a cat scratching at the door for its owner, instead of using the cat-flap.
Thinking about it, the times when I am the cat scratching at that door, not reading, is for fear of my senses caused by the memories of a past book, which may have twinged a nerve, or frightened me into a visceral reaction. Is that crazy?
Maybe this creates what we can call a ‘reader’s block’ and maybe we can read into ‘reader’s block’; when I am not in the middle of a book I am instead spending ‘love me time’; but when I exhaust all my emotional reserves my reaction is to turn to a book. Do other people feel this way?
I get books from the library. I suppose that is where I go to when I need to return to an author, or search out new titles, or turn to a genre, or a classic. Always in the hope of discovery, and no matter if I have been through a ‘reader’s block’.
Answering the question: What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without reading a book (since learning how to read, of course)? Which book was it that helped break the dry spell?
I hope I have shown that the longest I have gone without reading a book is relative to the memory that a book leaves me. And the answer to ‘which book helped break the dry spell?’ is the next one.