Do you ever have those days when you read a story and something in that story just guts you? As in makes you want to cry or laugh because the author has set up the story in such a way that you're totally engaged and emotionally invested?
Yeah, neither has my husband. Which is why he looked at me like a freak the other day when I told him that I was totally gutted by the revelation that the character didn't have to kill his sister after all (it's a zombie story so that statement isn't as weird as it may originally seem).
I don't know if he looked at me like a freak or with bemusement. I think it might have been a cross between the two. I might even dare to say that he was weirded out, bemused, and also thinking that I was kind of cute in my freakishness all at the same time.
Some days I am very much confronted by the reality of my book wormishness and how it makes me different from a lot of other people. I love books. Like really love them. I love stories and can mark entire periods of my life around stories that I've read that have truly changed my world.
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Handmaid's Tale
A Fine Balance
What the Body Remembers
To name just a few.
I can tell you the season, weather, and age I was when reading these stories. I can tell you whether I stayed up all night to finish the next chapter(s), thus dragging my sleepy butt to class or work the next day totally emotionally still absorbed in the tale of the day.
I am the reader you'll see on the metro trying to choke back my tears or laughter when a book really gets under my skin.
I can tell you about the times when my roommates were annoyed that I was so engrossed in a book that I wouldn't talk to them for days, thus driving them a little bonkers because my world devolved into a phase of binge reading.
Yes, binge reading. In fact, when I was in school, despite the fact that I studied literature, I wasn't able to read anything but course material because I am just that, a binge reader. I can get so engrossed in a story that I have a hard time taking care of anything beyond the basic daily tasks.
As you can imagine, motherhood has really been wreaking havoc on my reading! I suppose it's a good thing as it's forcing me to savor my stories more.
I often am boggled by the fact that the world around me doesn't share this love of reading. I forget that I am alone in this love of books. Ok, not alone but in the minority for sure. I really cannot imagine a world without books.
And yet, far too often I meet students and other adults who do not read. Like never read. Not on the subway, not even slowly, not ever. I am gobstopped by this fact. It makes me sad.
Because there is truly nothing like that moment when a story surprises you, rips your heart out and then hands it back to you, reformed, having learned something new about the world and yourself. Or just having felt someone else's experience so viscerally despite never having lived it for yourself.
To be carried away by a good story is one of life's great pleasures.
Maybe that makes me a little different, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. My love affair with literature has been my longest romance and friendship to date. And it's been marvelous.
So just for today, I'm going to wallow in the realization that he didn't have to kill her and how gutting is that, really? Cause I feel a little like my world just got turned upside down by that revelation. And that's just fantabulous!