It’s a sad fact that most of the reading I do nowadays is work-related. 200+ news articles a day to sort through for Save Your Fork and TasteTO, books to review, articles to edit. And even my “just for fun” stack of reading tends towards food theory.
Before the holidays I combed the book guides in the newspapers and spent an afternoon on the Toronto Public Library website requesting books, a number of which were novels. Three of them finally became available last week and I bemoaned my misfortune and lack of foresight in not making some of them inactive (TPL lets you stay in the queue for popular books but accept them only when you’re ready). How was I going to get through all of these in the three weeks I was allowed to have them checked out?
Of course, I forgot how fast I can read fiction. I forgot what’s it’s like to get my nose in a book. I forgot that when I’m in the middle of a story, nothing else matters and nothing else registers. Being pulled from that story, whether by interruption or necessity is physically, agonizingly painful. Like being awakened in the middle of a sound sleep and dragged out of bed. My facial expression during the 24 hours it took me to read The Book of Negroes was almost permanently at a scowl unless I was actually reading. If I wasn’t in the book, I was thinking about how I could get back to it, or how perturbed I was at having to set it down.