When I read, especially a good, riveting book, I become unaware of everything else around me. Drawn into the storyline, the characters and I become one - and I live their every moment, think their every thought and perform their every action in my mind. Time ceases to have any meaning and I've been known to let hours pass unknowingly while engrossed in a book.
As a child, I was allowed an hour between bedtime and 'lights out' to sit in bed and read. At the end of the hour, I used to flip my book over, pages down, and place it at the end of the bed. And then, as soon as my mother left the room, I would lie on my stomach down at the end of my bed, flip the book back over and read on. This was possible due to the very bright 'nightlight' that I insisted on having in my room. For some odd reason, I used to have a difficult time getting up in the mornings and staying awake all day at school. I can't imagine why... :)
My mother and brother sometimes would amuse themselves by sitting near me while I was reading at the kitchen table and the two of them would deliberately insult, tease and make fun of me just to see if they could provoke a reaction. Or even just to see if they could at least make me aware that they were there. Often, it wasn't until they broke out in howls of laughter over something they'd said that was so crazy or strange that I even noticed them. And that made them laugh even more - when I would tear my eyes away from the page I was reading and stare at them as if they were aliens from some other planet, wondering what the heck they found so funny.
At school, I was always known as the 'girl with her nose in a book'. I can't remember any single time up until I had kids where I didn't have a book that I was in the process of reading. I went from one to the other, and if I ran out of new ones to read, I would simply stand in front of my bookcases, deliberating intensely, until I decided which of the many, many books that I owned could hold me over until I was able to get to the bookstore or library. Sadly, I can recall that there were a few evenings while I was single (and honestly there were probably more than a few) where I arrived home from work, grabbed a snack to munch on while I snuggled into my comfy clothes and curled up on my couch - to read straight through until bedtime. Yes, I am admitting that I had no life. Or not a real one anyway. But the lives I lived inside my books were adventurous, thrilling, romantic and completely engrossing.
Part of me misses those days. Forced to live more in the 'real' world by responsibilities and commitments, I rarely have the time to sit down with a book anymore. And other activities (such as oh, blogging...) have taken over my spare time, such as it is. I find myself reluctant to open a new book when I know that I won't have an uninterrupted block of time in which to get thoroughly into the story. But I also realize that I don't necessarily need to escape into my mind and my books the way that I used to either. My life - all of the crazy, hectic, tiring and frantic moments of it - is more than enough to satisfy my thirst for adventure in most cases.
And in those times when it's not, my shelves of books still sit downstairs, patiently waiting for me to again open their pages for an escape to a world far away from my own.