― Stephen King, On Writing
Ah, yes, reading. Reading is what I depend on to get me through the day, through life. It is my current one-and-only-go-to drug. I start and end my day with reading and spend much of my free time and my work time reading one thing or another. Reading, in one form or another, is what motivates me to get out of bed in the morning.
My first pleasure of the day (generally around 4:30 am) is to check my email and see if there is anything good. "Anything good" means an email from friends or family, a link to some interesting article, a quote from Goodreads to start my day, stuff like that. After I take a few minutes to compose any necessary responses or send any emails out, I check a few other on line pleasures: Huffington Post, FaceBook, Blogger, New York Times - just a few minutes to see what might be happening out there. If time permits or it works into part of my workout time, I check Flipboard on my ipad.
When I get home from work, generally I simply want some space, some silence, and something to read. I always have several books "going" but there is a primary one. This is the one I will grab after work. At other times and in different moods, I will select one of probably ten different periodicals to which we subscribe. I might also choose something related to painting or writing or even something related to work. It's all good.
I wonder what it is about reading that satisfies me so much. I would much rather read than watch television. I would rather read than socialize in the evenings. Reading is my default for relaxation, for escape, for good times and bad times. I seldom drive away from the house without putting something to read in the car (just in case I have a flat tire and I have to wait for AAA). I love exploring things to read and have an intimate relationship with Amazon.com for book reviews. I have been on Goodreads for several years but just recently started using it for more than quotes. My idea of a lovely Saturday afternoon is to wander around the local independent bookseller and drool over all the books.
Again, I ask: what is it that is so satisfying? Is it the escape? My life is not so terrible! I don't need an escape. Perhaps reading plays with that part of my brain that wants excitement and novelty, wants to learn, wants to feel, wants to be alive. I find myself reading and rereading some sections simply because I delight in the way the words sound. Sometimes I am taken with the way the words make me feel, even when that feeling is ephemeral and difficult to describe. I do think reading connects me to something. Sometimes the connection is to the author or to the content. More often, the reading connects me to some part of myself. So that's it! Reading is about connecting. Connecting allows me not to be alone in my doubts, my thoughts, my dreams, my imagination.
Does this fit?
“We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel... is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.”
Ursula K. LeGuin
Yes, I kind of like that.