Monday, June 18, 2012

To sprint or to savor....that is the question

How do you read?

I would say that at least eight out of every ten books I read are completed in one sitting. When I was kid, this would have been ten out of ten. But with work and whatnot, this percentage has taken a hit.

This kind of reading is both good and bad. Good because I get to know what happens faster. Bad because that means the book is over.

From the second I start to read, I am at a constant war with myself.

On one side, we have the savor-er. She’s been waiting to enjoy this book, either for months, or since she picked it up at the bookstore twenty minutes ago (both can seem like an eternity). She wants to take note of every detail. Wander through the world of the book until it’s a second home. She plans on knowing the characters better than they know themselves, on shaking her head, small smile lighting her face, when they do something foolish and feel a swelling sense of pride in these folks when they find their way of out of the corner they’d boxed themselves into. She is the strong, silent type. Calm, cool and collected.

And in the other corner, we have the sprint-er. She can see the finish line and she wants to know what’s waiting on the other side. She’s in love with the world and wants to run through it with wild abandon. Rather than stopping to smell the roses, she’s gonna give them a wave as she log rolls down a hill. She’s not at all convinced that the characters know what’s best for themselves, but she’s willing to help them out. She starts out with some helpful suggestions. But they just don’t listen. That’s when the yelling begins. It’s not that she wants to give them a hard time, but come on…she can’t just sit there. And she certainly can’t put the book down and go to sleep, when she knows that they’re struggling. When they eventually get her message and start getting their lives together, she knows that they couldn’t have done it without her. She’s a little kid. Hopped up on Nesquik, pixy stix, and Mallomars.

You see, I consider myself a (relatively) sane person, but put a book in my hand and all bets are off. Battle lines have been drawn and the fighting has begun. On rare occasions, the savor-er wins out. She calms the Tasmanian devil within. More often than not, though, the sprint-er seduces her over to the other side with promises of answers to all those questions she has about the characters and why they are the way that they are and where they’re going to end up. Well, answers and Mallomars.

And then the book is over and the sprint-er looks over at the savor-er and asks, Why’d you just let me run through that?? Now it’s over! I don’t want it to be over! What were you thinking? The savor-er loses the calm, cool and collected vibe she’s so proud of and just starts yelling, You never listen to me, you crazed lunatic! You just bolt through everything like you’re a damn roadrunner. Sprint-er: Yeah, I’d like to see your gravity lessons! Savor-er: What does that even mean? Okay, hold on. This is going off the rails here. It’s fine. We can just reread the book later.

And with that all sorted out, I put the book down and the two sides coalesce back into one.

Until next time.

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