Despite purchasing a Kindle last year for my trip to Thailand, I hadn’t gotten around to using it for much beyond travel guides until this recent period of unemployment. Between then and now I’ve downloaded a library of inconsistently-themed books on a whim, since books are much cheaper to impulse buy and excuse oneself for at the sake of becoming literate and literary.
Given I tend to shop to offset the feelings surrounding negative occurrences in my life, I downloaded a few more books at Amazon’s suggestion hoping that I’d get through all of them and be able to say I had accomplished reading more in a few weeks than I had in the last 30 years. Instead, for the most part, these books are just collecting pixel dust on virtual bookshelves.
In two weeks of unemployment I’ve forced myself through 50% of the historical fiction tale The Daughters of Mars which, in all of its historical accuracy about being an Australian army nurse in World War I, hasn’t quite aroused my speed reading chip. Another book I downloaded on a whim — The Fault in Our Stars — seemed like a wise trade in honor of the accomplishment of getting half way through the other book – a quick-read, tragic young adult novel where the main character — a 16 year old girl from Indiana — has stage IV lung cancer and spends the book living and dying simultaneously while being as normal a teenager one can be while living and dying respectively simultaneously. I figured I’d read the book before one day soon watching the movie on an airplane.
One of my great regrets of all time, that is all time leading up to today, is my lack of proper time dedicated to reading. While I’ve wasted countless hours of my life transfixed in Jezebel articles, Facebook posts about hilarious dogs and babies being successful or unsuccessful babies, and magazine articles sunk into overflowing bathtubs with their wet pages stuck together before completion, the number of full-fledged novels I’ve read in my life – is something I regrettably can count on my own two hands.
Yet language and writing has always been a passion of mine, more than the drawing and painting my parents had pushed my talents towards. While as a child I stayed up late at night to read trashy childhood series such as Sweet Valley Twins and The Babysitters Club: Little Sister editions, I refused to read actual serious books. Why? I’m not sure where my rebellion of all things “adult” and “responsible” came from, but it sure started early. My father, with his stern aggression and judgement around my own interests, made me hate authority and turn against it at all costs. Although my father was a man of physics textbooks and oft right-wing historical non-fiction and editorials, for some reason literature got mixed up into the world of authority, my arch nemesis, the land of academia and maturity, of all the things we should do with our time when we have it in between hours staring at the second hand of the clock hung above the school door and the darkness that is our daily rest.