The Necessity of Reading
Please join me in welcoming today’s guest blogger, Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.
When I was asked to guest-blog for the 2009 Unleash Your Story, I literally giggled out loud. You want me to wank on about the joys of reading? Sure! I could write about how much I like breathing, too, or eating! Yes! I like eating and reading about the same amount, which is to say, a whole heaping pile of a lot.
Many people have asked me how I discovered romance novels, and that story begins with my insecurity at being a late reader. I had a hell of a time learning to read, at least, from an educator’s perspective I did. I remember clearly being moved backwards in reading groups in elementary school, but I don’t remember if it was because I couldn’t read or because I stubbornly didn’t want to read the words I was given. You’d think I’d remember the moment when I finally “got it,” and learned to read, but I don’t. I just know that at some point I did, because boy howdy dangnabbit, do I read a lot now.
Once I did figure it out, I developed a totally seductive, almost addictive relationship with words. If I see words, I read them. And – this is the troublesome part – I go completely deaf and peripherally blind to anything but those words. Drives my family nuts. They practically have to light a bucket on fire and use a strobe light to get my attention when I’m reading. When I’m reading, there is nothing else in my world but the words in front of me.
For that reason, reading is one of the few things I do that can occupy me entirely. With just about everything else on my to-do list, I multitask. I feed the family, sort the mail, pack lunches, schedule activities, feed the animals – all at the same time.
With reading, it is my sole companion, my unique and solitary task. Because it can entrance me all by itself, it is the most effective way I know of to recharge and relax. Written text is my comfort food, my favorite way to nourish and care for myself. Reading is a treat at any time, but especially when I’m so busy I think seriously about going back to school for multiple science degrees so I can study the potential of temporary cloning for humans.
Reading is my flannel sheets, my quilt that’s worn and soft, my warmest socks, my favorite chair, my homemade soup, my perfect hug – the one thing that sustains my peace and comfort when I need it most. Reading is more than my joy; reading is my necessity. More, please?
Sarah Wendell is co-author of Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels, and co-founder of Smart Bitches Trashy Books.com. The web site specializes in reviewing romance novels, examining the history and future of the genre, and bemoaning the enormous prevalence of bodacious pectorals adorning male cover models.
Sarah has been seen on The Today Show, the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Steven and Chris Show, and on So Many Books. She has been quoted in People Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Post, USA Today, New Jersey Monthly, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Times Book Blog, Metro:New York, and Publishers Weekly.