Why I read

It’s been a while since I fell into a good book.

My reading of late has been consistent, and I’ve picked up some amazing novels and non-fiction accounts.

But there is something distinctly separate – the business of enjoying a good book, even getting engrossed and forgetting the passage of time as you flip pages, and the business of tumbling down the rabbit hole and emerging in a different world.

On Saturday I decided against making progress in 28:Stories of AIDS in Africa and picked up Catching Fire. Ever since I read The Hunger Games in November, I wanted to finish the trilogy. However, the library’s long wait list and my disinclination to spend money necessitated the practice of delayed gratification. When the library notified me that the third installment, Mockingjay was waiting for me, I rolled my eyes and bought the 2nd (and 3rd books). I’ve had them for a few weeks now, but living life and having library books that needed to be finished to avoid fines kept me otherwise occupied.

I started Catching Fire over dinner and then dragged myself away to spend time with friends (a good decision). An hour’s reading before bed last night propelled me to the halfway point, but sleep was necessary.

This morning, I worked from home, and when I wrapped up the projects I had been plugging away at, I hastened back to Panem. Due to a skill for quick reading, it didn’t take long to finish the second book. I hesitated to start Mockingjay, knowing that it would pull me in and I would later have to leave for the small group I attend through my church. But the hesitation didn’t last long.

Upon returning from group, I settled back in, and buckled up for the surge to the end.

Have you ever closed the back cover of a book and looked up to an unfamiliar room? It’s like those first moments waking up from a dream. You know this is reality, and you’re startled to acknowledge that the experience was something else. As I set the the book down on the couch beside me and checked the time, reality reminded me that I need to figure out what should be done tonight so I’m ready to head to work in the morning. But there was something so utterly foreign in that concept. It’s like grasping at the threads of an unexpected memory that slowly comes into focus as you call to mind something that, although not forgotten, had not been remembered.

I’m still working my way back; it’s always a bit melancholy to complete the return. As much as I do love to re-read favorite books, I don’t think you can ever recapture the initial magnetism that draws you in.

So. I hope you love to read. I know not everyone does, but perhaps you just haven’t found the right book yet. Maybe you should give The Hunger Games a go. If you’re not hooked by the first chapter, I won’t be offended if you shelve it. The first chapter isn’t even very long, and the potential portal to worlds of intrigue and excitement and imagination is limitless.


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