Life without books

I'm exaggerating when I say that as of this moment, my life is without books. Indeed, I told you all about the books I brought to Denver with me. I was deliberately conservative in my estimate (I brought eleven), and as of today (a week and a half through), I've finished four. Of course, I tackled the quickies first - others, among them Guns, Germs, and Steel and The Brothers Karamazov, remain untouched.

So I am reading. I read a little every day, when I can. But the contrast is simply stunning. As a student, I found two or three hours every day to read. As a consequence, I regularly blew through at least one book a day. Here, where I am out the door by 8:30 and back (and exhausted) no earlier than 5:00, I'm reading half an hour. An hour, maybe. This translates to a book every three or four days. More than the average American reads, perhaps, but quite sluggish compared to the rate I'm accustomed to. Though the situation is certainly not so dire as that, it does almost feel like my life has become a life without books. (Without, at least, the utter submersion I used to find.)

It's saddening, and it makes me respect those readers who also have full time jobs much more - I'm only sitting and listening to lectures, and coming home earlier than most workers do, and I'm still finding it tiring to pick up a book at the end of it all. People who make time for reading? Respect. (This from the ex-college student thrown for the first time into a quasi-real-life arena.)

I'm rather enjoying one part of it, though. Back when I read a book a day, I often didn't take the time to really sink into the book. Instead, I sprinted. And while that's just the way I naturally read, there is a certain pleasantness in holding a book in your head for a few days, letting it linger. Today I had almost reached the end of my latest, The World Without Us, and was savoring the strangest feeling: Being excited to reach the conclusion. Reading a book a day, I often regretted approaching the end. But carrying the same book around day after day, taking the journey slowly, in sips and chapters - now, at the end, I can say I savored. And it's a lovely feeling.