I have fond memories of reading days in college before exams, when I holed up in the university library to immerse myself in my studies. My life is a bit like that now, with many lyme-imposed reading days spent in bed or on my red sofa.
And right now, I have an added challenge. I had a couple of good days, so I thought I was cured. Right. Will I never learn? I did ten leg lifts lying on my back—and blew out my lower back. I did too much too soon. Excruciating muscle pain on top of lyme symptoms mean I’m literally flat out today.
Fortunately, stepping up reading time is a pleasure for me. In grade school, when our public library limited check-outs to three at a time, my mother got special permission for me to get ten so she didn’t have to make the long drive into town from our farm quite so often. On a lazy summer day, I could knock out a couple pretty easily.
For the past two decades, I’ve met monthly with not one but two book groups, reading and talking about everything from plays to fiction and nonfiction. In one group, we decide on a reading list by committee. In the other, the hostess of the month chooses a title. The latter gets me trying books I might not have voted for, and I’ve made some great discoveries.
Needless to say, I have missed most of the meetings over the past year—but I have read all of the books. I also have many book-loving friends who share recommendations. Yet sometimes it can be hard to find those books that draw me in, the writers who take me away from my world and fully into another.
And that’s my aim, entering another world. I used to have a bad habit of spending way too much time researching and ruminating on the many facets of tick-borne infections. Books are one way I broaden my life beyond my illness and my homebound days.
In the past week, I’ve read novels set in India and Martha’s Vineyard. I’ve followed the twists and turns of engrossing mysteries, and delved into the fascinating history of household life.
Recently, I made a brief foray to the library, grabbed up an armload of books, and thought I’d be set. I couldn’t get past chapter one in half of them. I don’t feel guilty about that.
With millions of books to chose from, why waste time on one that doesn’t speak to me? These aren’t college reading days with assignment to complete.
So I revel in the marvelous freedom to pick and chose from a seemingly endless selection. And I encourage folks who haven’t read a lot before to sample everything.
Think of the world of books as a huge buffet table filled with delectable offerings. Some won’t taste as good as they look, others will surpass your expectations. There are books out there for each of us.
And besides, I’ve come to see that in the midst of a tough battle for my health, time to read is a gift. I’m determined to make the most of it.
Here are some ways to find good reads:
Ask a friend which books they’ love.
Investigate reading group resources online or at your local library, sure to list the hottest titles.
Join or start a book group. If you can’t leave home, set up a discussion via Skype.
Can’t get to the library? Ask a friend to pick up holds for you. If you have an e-reader, downloading is the way to go. Some sites offer titles for free, and library selections are growing.