One weekend last November, I found myself feeling lonely and sorry for myself. While waiting for a call that never came, I searched for ways to stop ruminating about situations not under my control, for ways to focus on myself, and for ways to discover what I needed and wanted in my life. Ways to take care of myself. As the long weekend stretched in front of me with nothing planned, I picked up a book and began to read. Suddenly I left my world of pain and anxiety and entered into a completely new one. I finished the book by the end of the day and started another.
Months can go by without me picking up a book. I forget how much I love to read. But reading is about more than just distraction though a very good distraction. It is about taking care of myself. It is a purely selfish act. Something I do to and for myself. A solitary act unlike watching T.V or seeing a movie. With good writing, even fiction teaches me something about life I didn't know before. And reading seems to stimulate my desire to write.
When I rediscovered the magic of reading, I decided to buy myself and early Christmas present, the Kindle Fire. I had downloaded the Kindle app on my iPhone and was reading via my phone but the Kindle fire quadruples the reading page. And the Kindle Fire is more than just a reader. It is like a smaller version of the iPad but at a third the cost. The dangerous part pertains to the instant access to Amazon and obtaining anything I want to read in an instant. The books cost less than even paper backs but they still add up, though some new authors offer their books for free. The other problem with the Fire is you can't share the book when finished with it.
I have read a dozen books since November, a new record for me. But when ever I start reading again I am always reminded of my father. As a child I never saw Dad even pick up a book. He read the news paper and perhaps an occasional magazine but never a book. And then he retired. Perhaps like me he began to read because of stretches of time with nothing to do and then became addicted. He loved mysteries. He drove to library frequently. I wondered if he would have taken to a Kindle or other reader or he would have preferred a real book in his hands. Then it occurred to me that he would have love an electronic reader. When ever he visited the library, Dad would only check out the brand new books. He said the older books were too musty and bothered his asthma. Never a problem with my Kindle. Today, January 12, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Dad's birth. Happy Birthday, Dad. I hope where ever you are, Mother still lets you read.