Getting Back Into New Stuff (Book Edition)

I meant to go from Podcasts into streaming stuff, but my trip and a late-night reading incident changed my plans. As I was preparing for my trip, I wound up buying a bunch of e-books. I’d wanted to bring some stuff to read, but I absolutely did not want to bring any physical books since my bags were already jam-packed with things I couldn’t do without. I also didn’t want to re-buy any books I already own (since, like podcasts, I’ve been collecting more and more of them without actually reading anything new). My initial plan was to pick up a bunch of comics that I could read on my phone in my downtime, since it’s fairly easy to zoom in on comics when I’m using my phone and I’m already used to reading them as I scroll around a page on my phone thanks to years of reading webcomics. As I was packing, though, I remembered I have a tablet that I bought years ago as a means of having D&D Beyond at my fingertips during Dungeons and Dragons sessions and that I was bringing that anyway, for a thing I’m doing with the group. So, instead of buying a bunch of comics, I queried around for some new books to buy, bought them, and set up my tablet with an e-book app. Thanks to that, I was able to read as much as I wanted during my vacation (which turned out to be not that much since I read all the comics during the flight out/recovery time and then only had a few more occasions where I wasn’t doing something more engaging than reading).

Unfortunately, I’ve had to wait until now to finish reading Chuck Wendig’s Wayward, the book responsible for the rennaissance of reading in my life. I’d started it a few weeks ago, actually, dipping into it for a chapter or two as my stress levels and general apartment silence would allow, but I wound up reading about half the book in one go the weekend before my trip. I was having some stomach issues during the later hours of my time playing the Diablo IV beta with my friends, so I wasn’t able to go to bed when I finished playing around midnight. As I had many times in the past few weeks, I told myself I’d eat up a half an hour by reading a bit of the book and then, the next thing I knew, it was three in the morning and I’d gotten through half the book. It was an exhausting experience that had me tired out and groggy all of the day after I eventually woke up, but it was the first time I’d stayed up reading on accident in what feels like (and probably has been) years.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been struggling to enjoy a lot of my old hobbies thanks to the way that the pandemic and my related isolation has warped and distorted my life, but none of them was impacted as drastically as my reading was. I went from a book a week at a minimum (or a similar amount of material read online) to maybe half a dozen books in a year, if I’m being generous and not thinking about it too much. I just can’t stand the silence (it might be more accurate to say that I can’t stand to hear my upstairs neighbors bumping around their apartments), for one thing. I have also been struggling with things that make me anxious and not knowing how a story ends can really wind me up if it’s particularly dramatic or emotionally heavy. This combination means that I rarely have the mental energy for reading anything, since it requires both more silence than I’ve ever needed in the past and an amount of mental fortitude that feels increasingly rare as time passes and my general isolation continues.

Still, though, this one moment in time was like turning a corner on a familiar street and finding yourself face to face with a beloved friend you haven’t seen in years. It felt amazing to be so carried away by a story and the curiosity it built within me that all my stress, anxiety, and usual interruptions couldn’t lay a hand on me. The only reason I eventually stopped was because I’d turned the heater in my room off before sitting down and I was too cold to continue. If I’d left the heater on (and brought my water bottle with me to combat the leathery dryness it inflicts on my nose and mouth after an hour of two), I might have read all night long.

I haven’t had the time or energy to read since then (and I definitely haven’t had the discipline required to read only one or two chapters), and then I went on this long trip, so I’ve been doing my best to be patient. Since I wrote this two weeks ago, I have no idea what I did with whatever amount of time I had after getting home (I did laundry and had a few short napcidents), before I had to return to work, but I bet I spent as much time as I could reading Wayward and finishing whatever books I brought on my trip that I never finished (That has turned into more of a This Weekend thing, thanks to how sleepy I’ve been). I know I’ve got probably a bit too much going on, between all my video games, my podcasts, the various anime on my list, and whatever streaming stuff I’m about to dive into, but I think it’ll be nice to be drowning in new and exciting things after spending so much time circling around the same old stuff again and again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s