When it’s been a while since I’ve gotten the chance to read — or I read only in bits and fragments — I forget sometimes how a book can take you away from yourself.
It sounds poetic, when I put it like that, or overly sappy. But in difficult times (or even just busy ones), it’s such a luxury to be able to leave your own skin. To be so caught up in other characters, worlds, or stories. Even sometimes just to feel understood.
Yesterday, I read four books between class and bedtime. In the past two weeks, I’ve read 23 books. In total, I’ve read 34 books in 2019. To break it down for you, that’s 68% of the books I’ve read this entire year.
Last year, in 2018, I read 101 books, so I’m nearly to 1/3 of that already with only two months in. I’ve been fully bingeing. When I have time between classes, or need my head to quiet in between homework and bedtime, I’ve been reading. I’m not sure if I’ve been tearing through books more quickly than normal because of the pure quantity of reads I’ve consumed lately, or whether I’ve just been more focused on them. Regardless, I’m staying on my kick until it ends.
I get in a lot of moods in which I don’t want to talk, or create. I don’t want to write, or put myself out there. I just want to observe. To listen rather than speak. Absorb a lot of the world around me. Reading is good for that.
Although reading is inevitably a huge part of my identity, and why I do what I do, sometimes I like to pick apart why it affects me so much. I am a words person. I have a lot swirling around in my head at a given time, because I fixate on details. Sometimes I read for peace; other times, I read for stimulation. Right now, I’m reading for distraction.
I’ve been reading a lot of my favorite series, recently, for several reasons:
- it’s easy to tear through books when you’re primed to the story, characters, and dynamic already
- it’s refreshing to see whole of everything: the lows and the highs
- in a place as small as my school and town, it’s comforting to remember that there’s a diversity of experiences and people out there
- I love rereading and tracking the ways that my reactions to books have changed over time
- it’s a productive way to fill up free time in between classes when I don’t feel like doing continuing to do (constant) work
- they are fun and winter term of junior year is not
- all my favorite series are engaging and intense, and I love feeling passionate about them again
This semester has tested me, and so I’ve been dialing back and examining ways in which I can be easier on myself. Reading has been excellent for that. I’ve loved feeling like I can circle back to myself with the help of my favorite books, or just a really good series.