Sunday, January 13, 2008

Between the book covers...

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.

This post was written as a submission for the January Write Away Contest over at Scribbit, on the topic of "The Great Escape".

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

10 wonderful people said...:

Eileen said...

I love reading, and like you, was the same way as a child. I read with a passion, and continue to do so today. It is so much harder now, with children, especially when they were younger. I am noticing that I am reading less books, since I started blogging. I am trying to balance that out a bit, because I have so many wondeful books (and I keep buying more) that are just waiting to be read.
Such a nice post, brought back so many good memories.
XOXOX

Tammy said...

I always had my nose in a book as a kid. I don't get much chance to read now, but I still really enjoy reading.

~Amber~ said...

Wow, we have alot in common! I was always known as the book geek, skipping outdoor time with my siblings to stay inside and read. I am still the same way...only, same as you, having children makes it difficult, if not impossible. When I do have time to read, I am so very tired I can't concentrate. I just keep looking ahead to when the kids are grown, we are retired and then poor old hubby of mine is going to lose me to books!

Expat Mom said...

My mom and sisters did the same thing to me when I was reading! Also, they would frequently laugh at me because I would gasp or yell, "NO!" while reading, since I got a little too into my books.

My punishment for reading after lights out was no books for a week. They only had to do that twice. I nearly died without being able to read for 7 days! And, like you, I now have very little time to read, but also very few books in English. Reading in your second language just isn´t quite as much fun, though it´ll do in a pinch!

Summer said...

This was what I had originally intended to write about for my submission but then I changed my mind. I still am the girl with her nose stuck in a book (or to the blog on the computer screen) :)

Scribbit said...

Oh I feel the same way about a good book--transports me right into fun and fantasy.

Kerry said...

I LOVE getting caught up in a really good book. The kind you don't want to put down! Now that I'm working I'm finding I have a lot more time for reading again. And when I'm home I'm starting to make time to do it. It's a good escape from reality!

Anna said...

I can totally relate! This is exactly how I have always felt about books. I did read more when my kids got a little older, and then I discovered blogging. Still, I always have at least one book going and can't visit the library without bringing home at least one, whether I need it or not.

Jennifer said...

I was just like you growing up. I'd even carry whatever I was reading to class with me in case I were to get a few free moments in class LOL!!
And I am still the same way. I don't blog everyday and often it's because I'm too caught up in a good book to make computer time, instead I'm reading. I read while cooking dinner, I read while putting the youngest to bed, while the hubby is watching some sporting thing on TV after the kids are in bed. If I don't have a book to read my mood reflects it AND I feel as if a part of me is missing!!

Daisy said...

My mom tells the story of the day I was reading as I walked home from school and I was so engrossed in the book that I walked right past our house. I can still lose myself in a book, although I don't do it as often as I'd like.