I’m lucky enough that my parents instilled in me the value of reading at an early age. Ever since I began to recognise the words with my own little mind, I’ve been using books and stories as an escape, a vacation for the mind. Reading helped to fuel my imagination and creativity, and it provided a sense of adventure and wonder about the world beyond the four walls of my house. I love video games and movies as media for storytelling, but for me nothing comes close to print for providing a deeply personal, emotional experience.
A talented author allows you to create the characters of a story in your own mind. You build their bodies, their minds, their strengths and their flaws, whether these are explicit or implied in the narrative. You’ve given them a piece of your own imagination, so their trials become your trials. You’re able to time travel to a different time, transport yourself to other worlds, all through the scribbles on a page. You know you’re on to a good thing when the words and the pages melt away, and all you see are the people and places, all you feel is the emotion. The mind truly is an incredible thing to be able to convert ink to emotion.
I picked up a book for pleasure for the first time on over 6 months. I used to have a regular habit of reading before I nodded off to sleep, but that was replaced with facebook and surfing the internet on my iPad. I didn’t appreciate how bad that was for my sleep and for my state of mind. It contributes to making me restless, agitated, cranky (although sometimes I do just fine that being those things anyway). Since I made the conscious decision to stop browsing and start reading before bed, I feel like I’m much calmer and my sleeps are much better. Reading feels like a cooldown for my mind. It occupies the experiential part of my brain so that in the background the little operators can go through turning off the valves and winding down the voltage before I got to sleep.
At the moment, I’m in the middle of devouring Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Melissa saw the movie on her own while we were oceans apart last year, and she forbade me to see it until I’d read the book, insisting that if the movie was that good, I would be blown away by the book. So far, I feel like she’s right! I love the format of the narrative switching between perspectives of the main characters. And it’s teasing me in a way that I’ve never really experienced in astray before. All the characters are shades of grey, and is don’t feel certain about the motivations or dispositions of anyone. I’ve not been this compelled by a story in a while, so it’s the perfect way to jump start my reading again!