Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Binge Reading (the joy of)

For me, reading fiction demands total immersion. Those novels dubbed ‘absorbing’? They are concentrated joy to me. On those rare and wonderful occasions whereupon such a book falls into my quivering hands I am held captive until the end. Yup, I am indeed a dirty binge reading fiend.

Last night sleep won: exhausted, I had to put my latest bundle of book joy to one side and resume once rested enough to give the finale the attention and love it deserved. Nothing is less satisfying than rush reading (‘binge’ is perhaps not the right word – I do not mean to imply speed. Quite the contrary; every sentence is to be relished - but relished now, not later.) It is pure compulsion. You cannot drag your tired eyes from the page.

But alas, there are so many pesky little things that impede upon the dream of a book-centred existence, shoving our precious reading time into a tiny little corner of the day, or (gasp) week. We must reclaim hearty chunks of time rather than feeble little slices. Escape from people, from distractions, from the constraints of your humdrum life.

Like any addictive pastime, there is of course the inevitable comedown. Common after effects include a penetrating feeling of emptiness, loss, despair. For a fleeting second you’ll wish you’d rationed your joy into lunch break bites, but deep down you’ll know it wouldn’t have been the same. If you’re lucky, you can bask in the afterglow and reminisce. Long-term regrets are minimal to non-existent. Go forth and get your fix.

Classic binge reads? Tell me yours. I need more, more, more.

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