I’ve recently started a new activity on Fridays. I can’t call it a habit yet, but it is getting there. Brace yourself: I go to the local branch of the public library and check out books.
You were expecting something more exciting? Like Zumba? Hardly! I’d make a fool of myself. It started innocently one weekday when I went to the Fresh Market in the same strip mall for lunch (because i’m apparently a sucker for over-priced salads made with quality ingredients) and then walked to the library to visit because I was feeling nostalgic and frankly, not ready to return to work. I wandered through fiction and non-fiction sections, caressed a few books but left without checking out anything.
A few weeks later, I returned, both to the library and the Fresh Market (lunch time!). I left the library empty-handed, but I had looked up a few books in the catalog. I had talked myself out of checking out anything because the library had shortened its period of checkout, and it was difficult to find time to read. Time to read.
I used to read tons of books but had become used to maybe reading 10-15 books a year instead of the 80-100 it had been in the past. I had also started reading more books on my iPad since I could keep them forever, and it was so darn easy to click the button and have almost any book I wanted immediately.
I miss reading. It’s not like there aren’t (m)any books in my house, but it is difficult to settle down and focus, to give a book my full attention. It has become a lot easier to digest articles, quick reads and 140 characters. My mind is always on the millions of tasks to do and I am less able to shut it off. Is this being an adult? What’s that line about putting away childish things?
The next time I visited to the library, I took the plunge and checked out a book. And I read it and returned it on time! Subsequent books were returned a tad bit (OK a lot) late, but I figure my late fees are a sort of civic duty in a time when budgets are shrinking. Right? I keep checking out books and finding time to read them. I finished one on the plane Monday and started another. It feels good not to feel like a stranger to the library. And oddly, I’ve read more downloaded books too in the last couple of months. We know that writing begets writing; does it work the same way for reading?
Maybe I’m back on the way to reading 100 books. Not this year but maybe the next.
This is not the post I thought I was going to write tonight. I apologize if it seems a little silky. I’m trying to write on the iPad, and it makes it difficult to get out my thought. Or maybe it’s Mercury Retrograde mucking things up.