It all started with a box of books.
My mom shipped a care package to me in late winter 2011. Despite having just turned the corner into 2012, it would be an injustice to pretend that we are still in the past year. It’s difficult to really grasp that, since both I and the husband are off on holiday today, not to mention it’s a balmy 65 outside. Definitely a day for reading on the porch, at least for the next few hours.
At the end of October I’d also purchased several books, impulse luxury buys, but still ones to be read. Anthony Bourdain’s books; a hardback, gold-edged edition of Lewis Carroll stories.
One night we were watching TV and the 1972 version of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” came on. It was the weirdest, darkest, most disturbing version I’ve seen to date. It was more draining than I care to admit, but you know what? That pink book right there allowed us to follow along nearly verbatim with the movie. I love all things Alice-related, but sometimes it just goes over the edge.
Anyway, the books in the box…
Inside the aforementioned care package were things from my adolescence, mostly books. At least a dozen. I’d been trying to locate the Dark Tower series for the Kindle app on my phone, but with failing luck, and had almost given up entirely. Sorting through the randomness of that box was fun, though the best part was seeing that first book unexpectedly mixed in: The Gunslinger. First book of the series, one that I purchased close to twenty years ago.
“The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed.”
I started reading, and a few days later was gifted with hundreds of free eBooks. The Dark Tower series was in there… as were other full series like Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time, various works by Tolkien and Douglas Adams, and a huge assortment of crime/mystery novels. Some self help, some political, a feast of words that will keep me entertained.
The books – all 2 Gb worth – were loaded onto my phone. I devoured the Dark Tower series, remembering and forgetting and getting lost in the desert right along with Roland and his crew. After so long of a respite, following them along on their voyage through the doors of all seven books was an interesting trip. When I got to the end I did what the author suggested, and stopped at the happy shiny portion. Took a few days off and then read the real ending/beginning. It went down easier.
Prior to that series, I had just read the first book of Game of Thrones, “A Song of Ice and Fire” and found it satisfying after making the decision to stick with it. My coworker said, from over my shoulder, that it “looked unfriendly”, between the font size and physical size. It reminded me of a cross between some fictional previously visited world and the Wheel of Time world (from the quick browse I did). It fit right into the place my brain had been looking for, but didn’t unlock the door the way the Gunslinger did. It made me start thinking of writing again, but I had to finish the story first (you guys)!
Then I got a Kindle.
So now I find myself 37% of the way through the second Game of Thrones book, a bit of a difficult read but overall fairly compelling. There are two more in the series, and then hundreds left to peruse. Will I read them? Of course. I’ll read them because they’re there, not because I necessarily am interested in what they contain or what their authors think. For example, Sarah Palin’s book is on there. If it wasn’t, there is nothing that would make me wake up one morning with a glint of excitement in my eye, wondering what on earth Mrs. Palin has to say.
While the Kindle will never replace the love I have for actual books, it certainly is easier to handle than the bi-monthly trip to the library, carting a dozen books at a time to the car. I find myself reading for at least two hours each day, sometimes more. It’s relaxing, it’s stimulating, it’s enjoyable, and it’s a little bit sad because I know it will end. My goal is just to keep reading until the story is over, and perhaps someday write my own.
Hello, 2012. Welcome to the year of the written word.