Everyday life can be dull and boring, and we all have our escape hatches. Pastimes. Vices.
Mine is reading.
The books I read and the speed at which I read them can probably be used as a litmus test for my mood. I’ve never tried, but it probably works.
Books can be used to procrastinate. Give me a task I don’t like doing, and I’ll probably read something or the other until forced to do otherwise.
There’s a thing called stress reading, similar to stress eating. I had multiple episodes where I read and finish a book every one or two days, when my mood wasn’t quite right. It seems to work, though the relief is temporary.
These days, it’s slow going. I haven’t finished a single book last year compared to some 40 in the year before that. I’ve discovered a few great web fictions, and eagerly wait for their updates.
Books can make me laugh and cry. There’s a web serial, the wandering inn, that I’m reading. Not a book in the traditional paper and ink sense but nevertheless.. It’s a story of a magical world with levels and classes, into which people from earth have been transported. The author has a knack for writing stories that connect. Many commenters there have strong preferences to character arcs, some claiming to have skipped about a hundred chapters in an arc until the character connected to the larger story arc. I don’t have such a strong preference. I enjoy every chapter, and wait for more every week.
I’ve discovered I do have preferences, am sensitive to the writing style, theme and quality. The banter in zombie knight saga is entertaining whereas dialogue put me off a couple of web fictions, whose names I don’t even remember.
Compared to a few of my friends who’ve read thousands of books, I’ve barely read a couple hundred. I used to attempt racing, but the experience wasn’t the same. Speed reading is a useful skill though. I can now read a news paper’s front page in under 2-3 minutes and retain enough short term to answer questions on it, sensibly. But when reading anything good, it’s the experience of reading that matters, not the speed.
This post is all over the place. Sorry about that. I’m about to complete the zen and art of motorcycle maintenance and will plunge into Godel, Escher and Bach. Neither are light readings, so I will try to read something else alongside these. Suggest anything good to read in comments or on good reads.