Back on the Books

I didn’t sleep much over the summer. As anyone who follows me on Twitter knows, I spent lots of the night tweeting, and ended up getting in a state every time I tried to go to bed. I also stopped reading. For the first time, ever, I didn’t have a couple of books on the go and an imaginary cast hanging around in my head.

I need books like I need air. Like I need water, and food, and human contact.

The moment I started reading, I started sleeping again. Okay, there were also a few other changes; but there was a direct correlation between the stack on my bedside table and the length of time it took for my eyes to shut.

I guess sometimes you have to stop doing something before you fully appreciate just how much it means.

I am pleased to report that I am back on the books. I started with ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’ by Audrey Niffenegger, even though I am still to catch up with ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’. It was a little disappointing, if I’m honest, but the first two-thirds had me totally gripped. Intriguing characters, evocative descriptions, the familiarity of Hampstead and Highgate jarring with the bizarreness of the ghosts and the story –

This is what I love about fiction. It takes you on a journey. It’s my buffer between the real world and the imaginary world that comes when you let go and sleep.

After Niffenegger, I returned to Emily Dickinson for a little bit. I brought all her poems one year, and will be reading them for the rest of my life. Every experience, she manages to articulate. Every feeling, she translates into words; and, if it wasn’t for the jolt of familiarity, I wouldn’t even have anticipated that the feeling existed, let alone that it was shared –

I have learnt as much, through reading, as I have through being in the real world.

Anyway, I’m now tackling a chunky new Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna. I am not gripped, quite yet, but I am starting to see the colours and hear the sounds. At some point, it will come to life and the characters will seem to exist, in my mind, re-awakening each night with the words…

This is part of what was missing.

I need books, I think, like I need people, and water, and warmth, and air.

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4 Responses to “Back on the Books”

  1. James says:

    Yeah, I’m with you there. I need books – and art and other forms of creative expression – to survive. It’s inspiration, ideas and escapism.

    Reading is wonderful and book therapy is a beneficial source of wellbeing and mind-expansion. Full stop. :)

  2. LeeW says:

    I also love books, I like pretty much all kinds. Just finished Chasing Harry Winston, lol pure cotton candy, but meh its the kind of books I like when i’m in school

  3. There was a good chunk of my late teens where books were off my radar. Prior to that, I’d been a library regular. I was able to read almost since I could talk, and the reading bug got me. Perhaps there is some correlation between my losing faith in other people somewhat, and my turning away from books…Who knows.

    At University I was too busy getting ill to ever think about reading anything outside of the required course reading. I often used that to help me through, but it’s only since choosing the recovery option, so to speak, that I’ve read for myself.

    Reading has been integral in my moving forward. I read everything I get my hands on about moving on from disordered eating and the more you do it, the more the ideas and little tips sink in. Reading fiction takes me out of myself and into myself, both of which help me at different times.

    And it’s the best known cure for insomnia! :-)

  4. Melissa says:

    It certainly is the best cure for insomnia. After posting this, I had a few nights of non-reading driven sleepless nights…

    I have not returned to Waterstones and am well stocked up!

    Seems that reading is definitely not dead! :)