Thoughts on… becoming a bookworm

Artist, music buff, portuguese, crafty, gypsy, hippie, weird, nice, gap-toothed etc etc…

Of the many boxes I’ve been metaphorically put into during my twenty four years on the planet, bookworm has not been one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always liked books, I love to visit old libraries and have a romantic attachment to bookcases, occasionally I’ve had phases of getting so immersed in a novel that I’m pretty much dead to the world, but a bookworm? My idea of a bookworm is the same as Merriam-Webster’s:

bookworm

As much as I liked the idea of being that kind of person, I can’t in all honesty say I ever was.

My big brother is. Well, he is what you might like to call a booksnake, not a real term but if it is ever coined his photo will be pasted next to the definition. He always has at least one book to read on his person, wherever he goes, and he is not shy about taking it out and reading it when he loses interest in what is going on around him. On my wedding day, at the top table, after finishing his food, he sat for a long time reading a comic book. He’s not much of a group events person so to be honest I was just glad he came!

Anyway, I’m not about to become an introvert to the extent of my brother – at least not any time soon – but I have observed that in the last year or so I’ve caught the reading bug like never before. Or perhaps it was there all along, a dormant gene that is overactive in my brother.

The initial symptoms were innocuous. In summer 2015, a good friend lent me The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and I was gripped in the throws of a familiar bout of infatuation with a book – addicted to it and reading it at every opportunity, neglecting the majority of non-essential activities – but, of course, that book was part of a trilogy, so the affair was repeated with Catching Fire and Mockingjay causing my near-reclusive behaviour to be extended over almost a month.

My husband was extremely tolerant, he never complained, but when I guiltily remarked on how antisocially I was behaving he tittered and resumed whatever he was doing – I understood his lack of objection as affirmation that this indeed bothered him a bit but not enough to make an issue over. However, I was enjoying my little world so much that I took this as consent to carry on as I was, until the trilogy ended that is.

Some months passed while I borrowed and read mostly non-fiction self-help books while I worked on overcoming various issues with dieting, comfort eating and self-esteem. Apart from a few travel books the only fun book I tried to read was The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson which I got from the local library in June 2015, I dipped in and out of it, renewing it repeatedly until January 2016 when I gave up and took it back.

To the untrained eye, it would seem that any bookworm potential in me had dried up, but my affair with The Hunger Games was very much alive in my mind, that trilogy introduced me to the dystopia genre which gripped and thrilled my imagination in a way I hadn’t experienced for several years, so I was very much open to another book-love affair – it just had to be with the right one.

I read 1984 by George Orwell which I enjoyed even though it was a little hard going at times but I felt like it initiated me more fully into dystopia. Sadly, though, another dry spell of reading followed. I’d never made a reading list and I wasn’t aware of apps like Goodreads so it was usually a recommendation or pure chance that caused me to stumble upon the next read.

In April 2016 I remembered a conversation I’d had with a good friend who had made it her aim to become acquainted with the classics in literature. This memory along with an inactive social life and a strong inclination to isolate myself prompted me to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I’d loved the TV adaptation I’d watched so it seemed like a good bet that I might like the book. Imagine my delight when I realised it was brilliantly written and not very hard to read! I was grateful to have the eBook version since it allowed me to look up definitions of words instantly, but the plot was so well paced that I didn’t mind having to look up some of the words.

While I was still reading Jane Eyre the reading bug spread and I started to compile a reading list. Suddenly, committing to reading a book without being absolutely sure I’d enjoy it didn’t seem like such a big deal – I just wanted more and more to read. I was beginning to relish in the entire experience of reading, retreating into a world of my imagination, feeding my mind with ideas and thoughts, training myself to stick to a book for several chapters irrespective of how “hooked” I was to begin with.

I thought hard of recommendations I’d received in the past, even ones I’d not been sure of at the time – I was longing for more reading material, finding much more fulfilment in wasting away 3 hours with my nose in a book (or iPad, I borrow a lot of eBooks from my library’s website) than wasting away the same amount of time mindlessly watching a movie or TV show.

Unlike moving pictures, reading thoroughly entertains me. When watching something (unless it is something I really want to see) I find myself in a concurrent state of boredom and amusement – it is easy so I keep doing it but I find myself looking for other things to do at the same time, usually I end up snacking mindlessly. With reading, I’m fully captivated.

Is it just me? Or are other people likewise simultaneously bored and entertained by TV and movies? I don’t mean to say all TV and movies, sometimes I really fancy watching something and then when I watch it I really enjoy it and it gets my full attention, but when I’m just watching something to pass the time, it rarely captures me like reading is able to.

So, friends, I think this is it, if there is a bookworm virus, I’ve caught it. If there is a bookworm gene, mine is active and replicating.

Everything I’ve read since May 2016 to July 2016 (the last 2 to 3 months)

Paperbacks and eBooks

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Maze Runner 
by James Dashner
They Eat Horses Don’t They? by Piu Marie Eatwell (unfinished)
The Death Cure by James Dashner
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Four by Veronica Roth
Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Breathe by Sarah Crossan
Resist by Sarah Crossan
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J Ryan Stradal (unfinished)
Room by Emma Donoghue
Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hillary
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Audiobooks

Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley
The Year of Living Danishly 
by Helen Russell
Making it Up as I Go Along by Marian Keyes
11.22.63 by Stephen King

Currently reading:
The Runaway Jury by John Grisham

Currently listening to:
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Maybe I need to calm down a little bit…

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