My favorite pastime has always been reading, and when I’m reading, I don’t hear or see anything but the words on the page in front of me, as long as the story is well-written, the characters are interesting, and the plot is believable.
It’s a joke in my family that when I’m immersed in a book, they can talk about anything at all and I’ll never hear a word. I lose myself in the pages of a well-told story, and a particularly artful story is almost like a drug—I just can’t seem to stop.
At any time I may reading three or four books, bouncing from fiction to non-fiction, from history to theology to biography, depending on my mood. I’ve just finished reading four of James Holland’s histories of World War II, Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place, Beth Moore’s new memoir All My Knotted Up Life (review coming soon), and Neil Lancaster’s Dead Man’s Grave. I’m currently reading G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy and Dr. L.S. Dugdale’s The Lost Art of Dying. Oh, and I recently finished the first two Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.
There are other books that I go back to often because they’re so good, usually books on faith. Anything by Eugene Peterson and Henri Nouwen are worth many reads. And, of course, there’s the Bible. I hardly think of the Bible as a book; it’s actually sixty-six books by a host of authors from different times in history and with a wide variety of stories to tell. I read something from the Bible every day, and much of that reading shows up here on my blog.
I suppose I write because I enjoy others’ writing so much, and because what they write, what I read, inevitably pulls on a thread that leads to something else I’ve read or been thinking about. Those sorts of accidental connections are always interesting, at least to me.
I think I’m a bit odd in that I read slowly, at least when a book is well-written. It’s not that I have trouble reading, but I enjoy savoring the words the author has used, and pausing to imagine my own version of the world he’s creating with his words. The best books are art, and art can’t be appreciated in haste.
I feel sorry for people who don’t take the time, or have the time, to read. As an introvert, reading feeds my need to connect with the wider world and interesting people without all of the scariness of actually going out into the wider world and meeting those interesting people. And practically speaking, I will never have the chance to have a conversation with Eugene Peterson or Corrie Ten Boom, but through their writings I feel as if we’ve become good friends.
What about you? What have you read lately? What are you reading right now? If you enjoy reading, what sort of books or which authors do you enjoy the most?
Photo credit: Fatcamera