Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Man's Other Best Friend

In recent years, my bookishness has gone by the wayside. When I was young, I read a lot. I had (and still have) many, many books. I liked reading.

But then things got kind of busy. When I was teaching, I'd come home at the end of the day feeling like my brain was that fried egg they used in the 80's to turn us all off of drugs, and I'd turn on the TV and let it get even softer. Then the kids came along, and every minute of my day was taken up with feeding and changing and cuddling them, or else folding the piles and piles and piles of laundry their existence had suddenly created. The idea of trying to follow any kind of plot in broken-up one-page increments seemed laughable, and more than a little pointless.

I subscribe to magazines and our small-town weekly newspaper, so I'm not yet fully illiterate. But when it comes to novels or non-fiction books of any length, I realized recently that I could be doing a lot better. My kids both love their books, and they should see me reading.

So, while the Captain was away this last time, I started forcing myself to turn off the computer at night and open up the detective novel that's been sitting on my night stand for the past year or so. And, holy cow, I'd forgotten what I was missing!

I have to admit, I used to be a bit of a book snob. I got my degree in English, so I read a lot of classics, and I turned my nose up at anything that seemed even remotely trashy. But these days, I don't always have the brain power for something that isn't an easy read, so mysteries, chicklit and all manner of popular bestsellers have worked their way into my reading lists. And, for the time being, I'm moving away from gritty, realistic deconstructions of modern-day angst that make me ponder the pointlessness of my existence and my role in a society that will never really respect me. Seriously, it's a good thing. I get my fill of cranky husbands who complain about my terrible coffee in real life. I don't need to read about it too.

And literature isn't just an escape from reality either. I think if you took my blood pressure before and after a half-hour of reading, you might find it actually has health benefits. A few nights ago, after the Captain and I had a noisy late-night argument about something so ridiculous, it shouldn't have even been a discussion, let alone a fight, I was too mad to sleep. So I opened up my book and read for a while. Afterwards, I was completely calm. No leftover urges to sprinkle grated extra-strength Ex-Lax on the Captain's cereal, or "accidentally" put my pillow over his face while he slept. I can't say I was looking to kiss and make up either, but I was plenty calmer than I had been. And that's never happened after sitting in silence for an hour and watching David Caruso take off his sunglasses ten times. Reading is good, cheap, old-fashioned therapy!

The Captain and I like to check out Bookcloseouts.com a couple of times a year, and put in a big order when they have a sale happening. I like buying books this way, because instead of looking for something specific I've been wanting to read (which I could just do at Chapters), I check out what's available and add anything that looks interesting to my cart. I find new books and authors I'd never have discovered otherwise.

With the first day of summer having just passed, I think it's a good time to get a new shipment of books in. Sitting out back, listening to the birds singing, drinking iced tea and lounging in the heat with a good book seems like a great way to spend an afternoon.

If I'm lucky, maybe I can even find a scandalous unauthorized biography of David Caruso...

1 comment:

Janine said...

Hi Wendy... I LOVE murder mysteries and finally found one that I can sink my teeth into.
Enjoy the sunshine...