Happy Endings

While on a recent business trip, the impossible was accomplished.

I finished reading a book.

There are so many GOOD books out there, I know that — I’m a voracious reader, an English major for cripes sake. So why does it seem so impossible to do the thing that, in the past, has come so naturally?

This seemingly impossible task is not unique to me. I’ve seen it discussed here and here and here, and maybe there is an epidemic of unfinished book-reading going on. I don’t know. I (attempt to) read books from favorite authors, books people I like recommend to me (or give to me), books that have been reviewed favorably and books that I read at least the first five pages and find myself interested enough to either buy or check out.

They sit gathering dust, in an ever growing pile on my nightstand. Receipts and index cards mark the place where I stopped, or, in the case of my electronic devices, I get an automatic bookmark. I can’t remember the last time I came across a book and just devoured it like I did with this one I finished yesterday. In fact, I stayed up far too late one night, when I was totally exhausted by work and travel, and even when I forced myself to put the book down my mind was still wide-awake in that fantasy world of fiction.

Maybe I’m just having an unlucky run of so-so books. Even by my favorite authors. Maybe my brain is just too engaged in creating fiction. I find myself evaluating every word, every choice the author makes, so it’s impossible to just read for pleasure. No busman’s holiday for the author.

Or maybe the concentration is just too fractured these days, and a few hours of captivity in a hotel room or on an airplane are just what I need to get the job done.

Whatever it was, I’m glad that it is still possible, for me, to get lost in a book. Well. Not just any book.