Last year, as I challenged myself to be an “avid reader,” I began placing all the books I finished (and had in physical form) on an empty shelf in our spare room. As December rolled around I really wanted to fill that shelf up and I did! It’s the photo found throughout of “The Book War.” You can see it on our Generals page or as on the Facebook group photo.
I filled this shelf always expecting that at the beginning of 2018 I would remove those books and start again for the new year. What I wasn’t anticipating was my inner resistance to moving all those book and seeing a completely empty shelf again. It was disheartening and I finally did it tonight. I looked at that shelf longing for the physical manifestation of last year’s reading success. Then bizarrely adding “By Gaslight” as the first book was also both rewarding and disappointing. It took up A LOT of room because it is 700 pages!!! But it didn’t take up nearly enough room to make up for all the books I moved…sigh…
As an adult, I find reading such an intriguing give and take. I am all at once invigorated by it and frustrated. I value a book for what it is even when I personally don’t like it and I understand that even though some things are hard, frustrating or completely heartbreaking to read, the story I enter is important, even if painful. Now I am left wondering when did that switch? How old was I when reading was no longer just a way to pass the time, a distraction, entertainment, or escapism? When did it become more than that for me? When did I get to a point where I WILL finish a 700 page book because I know the value of the experience even though it is not my cup of tea?
I both love that this is where I find myself as a 36-year-old reader and also wonder at it. It’s a weird place to be and yet, here I am with a single book on the shelf, feeling relieved to have it done, happy to have something on my self and a little sad because tomorrow I am mailing it to Haddi.
Ah, the reflections just a book on a shelf can inspire!
Oh…and here is my more specific review for “By Gaslight”.