So I have embarked upon a quest this summer. It’s nothing too epic or traumatic, which is good, because as my previous post may have mentioned my run in with Captain America was traumatic enough to last me the rest of the year in that department. No, this is going to be much easier. This summer I am going to read for fun and I honestly do not even remember the last time I did that. Which is odd because I read, a lot. As a hardcore book lover it is totally my thing, it is exactly my bag baby, but I noticed a while back that I had stopped taking any real enjoyment in reading. It was weird. I still read as much as ever, but the visceral pleasure I used to get from the act in my childhood was gone. I read to fill time, to keep occupied, to distract myself, to arouse myself, to kill time, to get it done and check said book off my bucket list, to find out what happens next because I swear to God George if you kill another of my favorites….
But fun? It was just not happening. As much as I enjoyed the stores being told, became (overly) attached to the characters and invested in the plot, the act of reading in and of itself no longer brought me any joy. So I picked up the first book on my to be read shelf, headed out to a local cafe with notoriously bad wifi and really great coffee, and read. I did not rush myself, I savored every word. It helps that I was ready W. Somerset Maugham’s “Of Human Bondage” which, don’t let the name fool you, is basically “Anne of Green Gables” with a dude and is all kinds of adorable. There is something relaxing about being able to sink into the arms of a good, old fashioned third person omniscient narrator. You care about the characters but with that wry, all knowing, and observant voice guiding you though the story you can savor the language and the way the story is being told without being caught up too closely in the suffering of the protagonist. I found myself smiling at the antics of the characters and even the drama of the protagonists early youth has been amusing as I look back at my own agonies suffered when I was Phillip Carey’s age and know that so much of it was self created. I was constantly smiling as I read, which dudes, I do not know the last time I did that.
After way too many years I am reclaiming the act of reading for fun, and so far so good. I am not going to stick only to the classics but instead I plan on reading whatever I pick up that look interesting. Margaret Atwood’s “Year of the Flood” is next on my list and after that who knows? Maybe some YA, or even more gauche in the eyes for the Slate Book Review, a Star Trek: TOS novelization. Ruth Graham would probably vomit in horror at the choice, but I have a bunch I picked up at used bookstore ages ago and they clearly need to be read and savored. Because reading should be fun, it should be enjoyed and not merely an exemplar of social status or intellectual elitism or because it is something we are told we should do, reading should be something we do because we want to do it. The act itself has an intrinsic value in and of itself and I can’t believe I ever forgot that.
So, yes. Summer 2014 is about reading for fun. I will keep the blog apprised at my progress along with what I am reading and my thoughts the text. I say text because I may end up slipping some fanfic in there as well because I am that sort of fangirl. You have been warned!