I’ve always been a voracious reader starting with Grimm’s’ Fairy Tales, the Hardy Boys series, Call of the Wild, and graduating to The Autobiography of a Yogi by the time I entered junior high school. Perhaps I read for escape from a not-perfect childhood or was just bored. Regardless of why, reading is the one addiction I have that I’m proud to claim. I also took pride in my selections, boasting about Ayn Rand’s Atlas Struggled and Fountainhead like I’d been the first to discover the literary prizes in the 60’s. I never considered myself a high-browed literary reader though. How could I when I stole my mother’s copy of Peyton Place, inhaled Gothic romance paperbacks until they started all reading the same and actually loved The Bridges of Madison County? Thankfully I advanced past the romance novels and most series genres a long time ago, except for the Harry Potter series, of course. Ya gotta love them.
My computer room has one full wall of book shelves. They are no longer crammed full for several reasons now: 1) one shelf has already cracked due to excessive weight and 2) I’m trying to downsize my life and belongings (with little progress unfortunately). What concerns me though about my reading addiction is that its favor has changed. This morning as I prepared to write today’s blog, I tried to remember my favorite fiction books that I read last year. The only one I could remember was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. The year before only The Historian stands out in my memory block. I’ve been struggling with Freedom for over three months now and that scares me. Am I losing my love of reading and writing? Or am I losing brain cells? Will I have to give up my addiction?
Or is it simply that as I have aged my reading buds have changed? While I really worked to recall my fiction favorites of this year, my non-fiction favorites roll off my recall as fast as I can type. Lit by Mary Karr, a memoir of sobriety, The Happiness Project, Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog, Nora Ephron’s I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections and Pack of Two, The Intricate Bond between People and Dogs. These are only a few but they all say something to me, make my cry or make me laugh. Maybe I no longer want to escape real life but relish it and all its emotions with others that have been down my road.