My whole life I have been a marathon reader. Once I am in it, I prefer to be IN IT, and not put down a book until the very last word has been read. Other people read to fall asleep. Not me, if I know I need a good night’s rest I must steer clear of books, especially richly-written, historical novels. A night owl by nature, the act of staying awake until the diurnal birds started chirping became such a normal part of my childhood routine that by the time I was ten my dear parents entirely abandoned all attempts to enforce bedtime. Once I’d mastered the ability to devour chapter books and began to fall in love with individual authors, usually of the lady variety (I’m looking at you Laura Ingalls Wilder), my mom would simply stop by my room on her way to bed, offering a reminder that school was indeed happening the next day, whether I slept or not.
I continued to read like this for years. Time would stand still as I immersed myself in the worlds of Louisa May Alcott, J.K. Rowling, Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Madeleine L’Engle, then later as an older teen and young adult, in the worlds of Laura Esquivel, Barbara Kingsolver, Isabel Allende, Toni Morrison, Geraldine Brooks, and Nadine Gordimer. Bathing, conversing with other people, and being anywhere but the couch, my bed, or a blanket in the backyard were unnecessary during these times of solitary novel consumption. Meals consisted of nut, vegetable, cracker, and cheese plates and big bowls of popcorn. (And once I was an adult living on my own, bottles of wine).Read More