As it's just about the anniversary of my reading my first proper book (Jane Eyre, I was not quite 5 and a half and just a smidge precocious) I thought I'd do a little blog about reading.
I love Reading. Have I ever told you that? It's my number one hobby - no wait, it's more than a hobby. It's so much a part of me and who I am, that it's more like a part of my DNA than a thing I do. I have to do it, like breathing, to stay alive. It was and is my first love. I'll be reading until my eyes stop working or I die. In the case of the former, then I'll learn me some braille and get that shit on! In the case of the latter, I won't be around to mind much. I'll be too busy being stardust. I'll have a go at reading pretty much anything. Noir, SF/F, Romance, Horror, Biographies, Religion, Philosophy, Art, whatever. It's all reading to me and I need it in my brainpan. I want it all. That said, I have finally learned to put something down when it's just not doing it for me. You know, the times when you look at a book that's been sitting there for a week and you feel like your fingers will snap off from its sheer weighty not-for-youness if you so much as try to pick it up? Some books are just like that for me, but I used to make myself finish them regardless. Now, however, I'm not so sure there's enough time left for me to even get through all the books that excite the shit out of me, so why would I bang my head on that brick wall of book just because I "should finish it" - yikes, I can hear my mum's voice saying it to me! She's the Evil Queen when it comes to books; that woman cannot let a book go unfinished. She's a word sucking machine (and that's just one more reason why I love her) I'll give a book a fair go, but I'm not finishing it if it looks like it'll finish me first.
As with any great love, however, there are problems. Books make me panic. I have a lot of books. I mean A LOT - I confess that I tend to judge my friends on their attitudes to reading - tell me you don't read and I'd really rather you left me in peace. Sometimes I look at them, the books not the philistines, and I get palpitations. What if I can't get through them all? What I've read in my 33 year reading history is still only the tip of the iceberg anyway, so what if I can't finish the ton I have here in my apartment and can never even get onto the next step of "everything else"? The panic flutters in my tummy like exam morning anxiety and I know I'm going to fail. I can't read everything. No way ... but then that little voice, the one that so often gets me into trouble, pipes up. "No," it says, all sweetness, " but you can try". And so it goes.
Then there are other times, when I look around my rooms (there are books in every one, except the bathroom after a most unfortunate incident) and think, "this is it. This is how life is supposed to be. For me. Look at them all. I'm going to read that one, the cheeky minx, and you can smile at me all you like over there, you big black spined gorgeous, because you know I'm not going to miss out on you either."
I dream about books, I smell them, flick through their pages, touch them with my fingertips and sigh.
This is why I spend the majority of time on my own.