I haven’t read today’s paper yet. Yesterday’s was read in the bath at 1am. Saturday’s and Sunday’s were left untouched. Not that I’ve thrown them out, I am sure I’ll get round to reading them in a day or two.
What is happening to me? I do read every day, but instead of two or three hours of concentrated newspaper and book devouring, it’s a casual glance at the paper, and five minutes with a novel while I’m waiting for the Sage to complete his ablutions and join me in bed.
Maybe I am just taking a break. I do hope so. Reading has been my refuge all my life. I remember, distinctly, the first book I ever could read to myself and my wonderment and sheer excitement, that the hitherto mysterious black lines on the page, made up of letters that I could pronounce, but in quantities I was daunted by, suddenly turned from abstract symbols into real words. In times of great stress I read voraciously, often a book I know well so that I am not distracted by too much uncertainty in the plot, tension, suspense – not what I need when I am anxious enough already. And, on holiday a couple of years ago, I read more books in a week than I have ever read before. On some days I went through four books. I read all three books of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ in two days. Reread them, I should say, but years after the first occasion so I wasn’t skimming. And that week of relaxation healed me, after several difficult years.
So, when I simply read for pleasure, when I will go for a ‘difficult’ book, when I am not tempted to read the last few pages just to break the tension the author has spent hours and months in crafting, then I know that there is no hidden worry that is claiming my patience and my subliminal concentration, and that in itself adds to the pleasure.
But just now, I’m not really bothered. And I don’t know why. I hope it doesn’t last much longer.