The Cheap Thrill of Reading

I miss reading.

I read to my kids every day but, I miss reading for me. I can pull off other fun things regularly – exercising, date nights, road trips – but not this one. For me, it’s a casualty of motherhood.

There are more ways to read books now, sure. I used to listen to them while on long runs or commuting. But I’m not doing long runs these crazy hot days, and my short commute is dedicated to catching up on the news, or pop music if my girls have their way. The only time I can envision reading is in bed at night, but I usually pass out as my head hits the pillow.

cozy book area
Can I just escape and read in there? Assuming it’s air conditioned of course.

I recently listened to a favorite podcast, Another Mother Runner, and they did their annual summer reading special. The two podcasters had an hourlong conversation about best reads – fiction, non-fiction, alternate historical fiction –  and a sense of longing and disappointment settled in. I was always an avid reader, but it’s been many, many months since I read a book start-to-finish. I realized how much not reading has left a gaping hole.

While my life is defined by my family, my job, and our routines, reading is a peek into another world, an encounter with another set of circumstances and characters I would never meet in my own life. It’s an alternate universe, a stress reliever, a wider view. No matter how comfortable we are in our own lives, don’t we all yearn for an escape from expense reports and oil changes?

The night after I listened to the podcast, as my husband adjusted the t.v. to get Olympics on, I dusted off my Kindle and tested one of their recommended novels. The first ten pages of Modern Lovers pulled me in, and I bought the thing for $12.99. More expensive than a library book, but cheaper than fancy cocktail.

I devoured the beginning of the story, and nodded off while reading in bed. The Kindle fell out of my hands, and I startled awake. I realized how happy that made me feel. I had a bit more pep in my step next day, too, as if I’d accomplished something wonderful.

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