Back on my group on facebook this week, someone posted a meme:
I think I scored 2 — though I might have missed another one — because I’ve never written a bad review in my life. And no, it’s not a matter of being afraid of being vulnerable for retaliation. I’ve never done it — the same way I’ve never done most sh*tty things in life — not because I’m a stellar human being, but because I’m LAZY.
Unless a book pisses me off, and then I ALSO rant to my husband about it, mostly I dislike a book, I stop reading it, and (since these mostly electronic days, I can) I RETURN it.
And I’ve never in my life thought a movie was better than a book, but that might be because some movies I never read the book. (Princess Bride. I hear it’s a kissing book?)
But reading that long list, one must ask: what is it about books that makes people take substantial portions of their lives to read?
Well, in my case, I can’t say it’s just story. I’ve derived great enjoyment from paleontology or biology books, and occasionally from popular works on the other sciences.
However in general…. Yeah I read stories.
So, why do I? Why go to bed and then stay awake for hours, finishing a novel, only to be a sleepy mess all the next day?
Mostly, because it’s the closest I can come to being someone else.
Mind you, at my time of life I don’t have many problems with who I am. Where I am… well, in the age of the covidiocy that’s something else.
So why do I want to experience being someone else?
Because the world is vast, and I’m small. The history of the world is vast, and I’m mortal and limited.
Within the pages of a book, upon a vessel of words, even I at 58 and not in the best of shapes can be anyone, real and imaginary. I can sail the seas of the golden age of sails with Captain Morgan. I can have midnight duels in Paris with Athos, Porthos and Aramis.
And that’s not counting all the places that haven’t ever existed in this our limited universe. This morning, while cleaning out the laundry room, (don’t ask) I got caught in an illegal rally, in Luna, under Earth Authority, riding along in the mental space of Manuel Garcia O’Kelly, a former ice miner turned computer programmer/mechanic (with the help of #3 arm.)
I’ve gone to a China that never existed, spent time in Earthsea, (there are only three books. Pity) , I’ve crossed an hostile planet with that noted fop turned warrior, prince Roger, I’ve visited a fantastic jungle with Tarzan, I’ve lived for quite some time in Ankh Morpork.
In fact I’ve been so many places and had so many adventures, and been so many people that I’m forgetting a lot of them, even favorites. So you know–
What makes me read so much?
Because it makes me infinite.
And those who seek to dictate that you can only read (or write) what you are and what you’ve lived are cruel children, cutting off the wings of birds, so the birds will be earth bound like the children themselves, who are — in the end — extraordinary morons.
I don’t want to cut anyone’s wings. I want, in fact, for everyone to grow wings, even if only once, n the confines of a book.
Come fly with me.