Today is the first day in weeks where I didn't have to work past 7pm... I've worked until midnight for way too long now. So, in honor of this most auspicious occasion, I am going to write a full post! Imagine that!
The first thing that comes to mind is my books. A little over three years ago, I managed to finally become an avid reader. Before then I was too busy, too lazy, or some combination of the both. I missed countless opportunities to enjoy a good book because of the haze created by assigned reading - i.e. The Great Gatsby. However, in the spring of 2007, I fortunately dropped my physics course too late to sign up for another credit. With only 3.5 credits, the enormity of time on my hands was almost overwhelming. I actually think that might have been one of the most annoying things about sharing a room with me for Kelley. She happens to be incredibly diligent, and I'm sure that sitting through hours of work while your roommate is watching every TV show known to man on her computer is... irritating.
Anyway, I got to the point where my TV shows were running out... and I started to feel like a waste of life, and so I finally broke down and opened a book.
All the sudden, for the first time in my life, I started getting lost in stories. I can remember just how surprised I was with the peace that came with reading. Given that sophomore year happened to be one of my most emotionally self-destructive years since high school, there wasn't anything more wonderful to me than the silencing of my thoughts through reading. My brain had to quiet down, or I'd lose the story. For however long I had a book in my hands, I was free from myself.
When I traveled to France, reading was my way of feeling at home. (Well... that, and the pub full of ex-pats.) I read at least a book a week, and had to purchase books so often that the employees at the foreign bookstore ended up recognizing me. That's actually how I got introduced to Ayn Rand. As I perused the shelves in the English section, my main criterion for purchase was the thickness of the book. I was dead-set on finding a way to lesson my trips to the store, and books over 500 pages were a great way to do it. Next thing I knew, I was entrenched in the words of one of my new-found favorite authors.
Amongst many things, reading Rand's books has taught me the importance of perseverance in reading. I can't tell you how many books I've read over the past couple years where I haven't gotten hooked until over a hundred pages in. On the other hand, though, The Historian taught me that sometimes a book needs to be dropped before the last hundred pages. Nothing ruins a good book like an ill-conceived ending.
In the past two years, reading has become the only way to assure a good night's sleep. I read until the book starts to drop out of my hand - right up until I know that I can't possibly read another sentence. On the nights when I'm somewhere else, I actually feel worried about trying to fall asleep without one.
Books are the way I turn everything off but my imagination. They're the time I give my brain to play, dream, and lose itself in possibilities outside what it knows.
I guess that's why I hate non-fiction.