Swept Away


In NH, where winter crouches behind an opening door

I am not one of those people who longs to return to the days of childhood. If my memory serves correctly I was quite relieved when it was over and I could move on to other things. I was happy for it to end save just one way. As a child I found most books to be utterly engrossing. They had a power to completely suspend reality for me, exactly like a form of hypnosis.

It doesn’t happen as often now and I am not entirely sure why that would be. Is it that I have fewer hours at a time in which to immerse myself in a story world? Is it that my mind is more filled with obligations and I can’t let go with as much abandon? Is it that so much of my own fairy tale has already come to pass?

Whatever the reason for this change, it makes the pleasure all the sharper when I do find myself dizzy and groggy and punch-drunk on the happiness of a well-told tale. In the last few months I have encountered  several books that have swept me completely off my feet and out of my own head. For this, I am profoundly grateful.

Losing myself so thoroughly has seemed more like finding myself again, rediscovering the me that used to be. These books have been a tonic, a fountain of youth, a time travel machine. I hope you are all so lucky in your chosen reads. And I’d love to hear if your experience of reading has changed over the years.

8 Thoughts

  1. I know what you mean, Jessie. And I do remember long summer afternoons just reading. Once I was with my third-grade class reading in the library and had to be pulled out of the empty room by the teacher because there had been a fire drill and the rest of the class had left – I hadn’t even heard it.

    But I am happy to report that last night I stayed up until midnight finishing How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny. Because I couldn’t put it down! Because I was immersed in that world and had to get to the end of the story.

  2. I think when we are children everything is new, but when we are adults we come to the stories with so many experiences under our belts that we look at books differently. I agree it is wonderful to find a book that will pull you in.

  3. I still get pulled in — just ask my husband who will talk to me and not get an answer. But I have to agree that it isn’t as easy as it used to be.

  4. First, I just love your opening line, Jessie. I can picture the snow piled up against the door, begging you to open it so it can cascade in and surprise you.

    Books have always been a lifeline for me. I was too shy as a child so that even when my own cousins visited, I’d hide in a closet with a book and flashlight. I spent hours in the library after school, immersed in the stories.

    As an adult, when I vacation, the first thing I do is visit the local bookstore and buy 6 or 8 books. Part of my vacation will be reading at least 4 of them, with a few to bring home. And I reread books I like many, many times.

    I recently moved from a small apartment where most of my books were boxed or in a hard-to-reach place. Two of our bookcases were filled with canned or boxed food items because of the lack of storage space. I’m so delighted to now be in a house where my bookcases are once again stocked with books, sorted by author and in order of publication. Because, of course, I cannot read a later book without first reading everything that led up to it!

    Thanks for brief journey down memory lane. Reading is my passion that has turned into writing.

    1. I’m afraid by this morning winter wasn’t just crouching , it was creeping in, at least a a little. I went walking with my sister from 7-8 and snow was spitting down the whole time! How lovely to hear you now have room for your beloved books along with the dry goods!

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