A few weeks ago - I think around the time that the Kavanaugh hearings were going on - I retreated to our basement where I knew we kept lighter mysteries and paperback bestsellers. I wanted to peruse this collection rather than the nice-looking but sometimes-dense literary fiction and non-fiction that lines our upstairs bookcases) and which I often look at and think, “YES! So many books to consume in this world, so much learning to do and I’m going to read them all!” and then I promptly look at Twitter for like two hours straight.
I wanted something that would be easy on my mind and soul. Not mind-LESS exactly, just thrilling enough to keep me turning the pages without having to criticize myself for not reading with more fervor. Because the truth is I’ve dropped off in my reading in recent years - something I’m continually working to improve because reading is something I truly love, something that truly inspires me - and when I do read, it’s often a mere two or three sentences and seconds before my eyes involuntarily shut and I’m out for the night.
So, because the political world was in turmoil, I was saddended and angry and even Twitter - especially Twitter - seemed way too heavy, I chose a David Baldacci book called “The Simple Truth,” which is, ironically, about the Supreme Court. This isn’t the type of book I normally read, even for escapist purposes, but the cracked spine (it probably came from some used book fair) and passionate, kinda over-the-top reviews on its back cover spoke to me. I’ve been reading it over the past few weeks, at first at a moderately brisk clip and, as I neared the end over the past few days, and the mystery of who the bad guy was - the really, really bad mastermind, because there ALWAYS IS one - got closer to being wrapped up, I really dove in, reading for a long time yesterday afternoon after we got home from school, while the kids played in their rooms, happy it was finally the weekend.
We had a “Fall Festival” to go to that night at their school, one of those fundraising events where you purchase tickets for food and games and everyone runs screaming and sweaty through the hallways, eating a square meal of pizza and a cupcake for dinner and frantically trying to find out where their friends are and whether or not there are enough tickets to play all the games one more time (there are not).
And while I enjoy socializing at school events, and had promised the kids we would go, I cannot tell you how utterly devastated I was to leave my Baldacci book - an author I never read, a style that is not my favorite, and a fictional story that occurred decades ago, when there weren’t even cell phones - and head out to partake in this activity. It was a small scale tragedy.
Two things occurred to me following this experience. One, I have reached a leveling off of sorts of my normally buoyant extroverted nature, and truly can say, at least sometimes, that I prefer staying in with a good book to mingling with friends on a Friday night. I think this is part of being older. And I am into it.
And two, the book in question, which I finished this morning, did the trick, giving me something to do when I was feeling antsy and angsty exiting the Kavanaugh mess and heading into the midterms. Allowing me to stay up past my two-sentence minimum and dream of future books, from all our enticing shelves, to come.