I have always been a voracious reader. If I had a scanner I would show you a photo of me at about age 6, lying on the pink rug in my bedroom, reading. Though the rug, thankfully, was later replaced with another less pink one, the overwhelming memory from childhood involves reading, usually on my bed and with three or four cats in attendance.
In fact, I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t read.
As an adult my reading habits have been affected by the appearance of the small time-sucking beings who seem to demand food and other attention regularly. As a result, I read much less than I once did, which almost makes the impact of what I do read all the greater.
Years ago I developed a theory that I was being somehow guided, receiving an education of sorts, from the books I read. Without exception my books were chosen in a library and I allowed them to fall off the shelf into my awaiting arms, certain that whatever books I was drawn to were indeed the “right” ones to read. With only a few exceptions, I’ve been right about this.
Sometimes the themes were about various cultures as I worked my way through the modern fiction of India, for instance, or China. I am still fascinated by both places and they hold deep resonance for me. Rarely do I read bestselling fiction, preferring instead to prowl the stacks in the pursuit of something different.
But always I could draw a line that connected the dots between one selection and the next; my reading always went in themes and always seemed to hold resonance with whatever was going on in my life at the time.
Some books are so compelling that I find myself living them, absorbing them, even dreaming within their worlds. I have to choose carefully now because I have become quite sensitive to falling into the worlds created within the pages. They permeate everything and transform me.
This concept would be a little disturbing if I wasn’t also convinced that it is me doing the guiding, me just happening to “run across” a particular book, me providing myself with an education of sorts.
I’m looking around now for something to read as it’s been awhile since I had the luxury of immersing myself in a book. I wonder what’s next in this journey?