There is a new book in our house. I don't know how it happened. Something slipped and and I agreed to buy a book today. The past year has been a blissful oasis of internet chess, obsessive blogging, NBA games and napping. There was no question in my mind that I had advanced past books. And yet here we are again.
As I write, lies on our bed reading the latest Harry Potter novel. I hear the wisp of pages turning every few minutes and I'm intrigued.
The day of reckoning is upon us. I had convinced myself that I didn't need to read anymore. I had convinced myself that as a mother, blogger and competitive sleeper, books were a thing of the past. I listed most of our books for sale on half.com last year and have been slowly selling off our collection. Some bring in ten bucks, some only a few cents, but the feeling of freedom I get every time I stick one in the outgoing mailbox is priceless. All those words, all that information freed into the world to puzzle and stretch a more energetic mind. Anyone's but mine.
I used to read obsessively. In grade school I was infamous for staying awake multiple nights a week to finish books. I found all the lists of Recommended Reading and checked everything out from the library to see what all the fuss was about. When company came to stay at the house I'd hide in the broom closet with my books and a flashlight until they left. It was my passion. Where did it all go wrong?
In my reading glory-days I'd sit down with a book and remain frozen until I had skidded to a stop on the final page. My mind would be completely immersed in the story. My heart rate synchronized with the protagonist's. It was a true escape and a chance to live lives beyond my wildest imaginations. And then I got pregnant.
My reading changed. I checked out every book at the library with the word 'Pregnancy' in the title. Two years ago I became a parent so I moved ten feet down the isle to the Parenting section. This is where my faith in books began to waver. I was shocked to find that 99% of these authors have no clue what they are talking about. As a new mom with burning questions, the dearth of answers in my beloved books crushed me. I had never felt so betrayed. I wrote scathing reviews on Amazon.com, I called my mother and sisters in tears daily and I swore never to read another parenting book again. My betrayal in the Parenting section soured me on the library and I haven't been back since. After all, I'm 27, I've learned everything possible in life already, right? Did someone with my great wisdom and creativity really need books? For the sake of getting the dishes done at the end of the day, I convinced myself I didn't.
But as I listen to the wisps of pages in the bedroom tonight, I grow more and more excited. I remember what it was like to pour myself into the pages of a story. I remember the feeling of turning a page that has never been turned before and the delightful, slightly moldy smell of a book's binding. I can recall the satisfying thump of closing the cover on the last page of the book after sucking in the final sentences. I want to read again. The Parenting section at the library has taken two vital years of my life from me and created a blackhole of literature but I'll beat it. I'm going to read Rowling's novel, and then I'm going to read another book, and another book, and another book, and another... (fade to black)