I can’t remember the last time I fully lost my self in a book, head down, entirely absorbed in another world, the world of words written on paper.
Recovering from a brain injury makes reading difficult. When I first awoke from my coma I could not even see, let alone read. After having my eyes closed for such a long time it was difficult to focus on a point and construct an object without it being a complete blur. Perhaps it doesn’t help that I have also recently managed to acquire a stigmatism to go with it, which has enabled me to have the privilege of wearing spectacles.
Then there is the concentration it takes to read. To start with, it feels like all the words are floating around on the page, making it near on impossible to read one word at a time, let alone make those words form proper sentences in your head. Then there is the predicament of actually understanding the plot, . Not forgetting, the problem with memory. Whilst this has greatly improved and is still improving every day, it is difficult to read when after each page you have forgotten what happened and to whom it happened to, on the previous page. This lead onto copious amounts of time reading the same sentence over and over again. And again. And again.
In hospital I was so speedy at reading that I would literally consume books. I had been known to read an entire novel within the hour. When my family came to visit the Nurse would say to my parents, “You need to bring in Elizabeth another book, she has read the entire Harry Potter series in a week”. We all realise now that this is not possible, but I suppose turning pages was a start.
For me, reading isn’t just about the actual reading. It is about comprehending the text and then sharing your interpretation of the events with other people. Therefore, at the ripe old age of 25 I thought it was about time to set up a book group.
Everyone knows that book groups are really just an excuse for a social get together; well I know that now, at least. After traipsing to the Library on the bus to burrow the chosen tome, I set out a mission. I engulfed the pages in ample time and was fully prepared to engage in avid discussion about the Afghanistan War and how it was intriguing to look at the different ways relationships had been portrayed between certain characters. Then Sunday came, I was primed; kettle on the boil, sustenance snacks baked and reading glasses on.
Surprise, surprise, I was the only one to have read the book.
What a book though. If you are looking for some summer reading I would highly recommend “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini.
Instead, we ended up drinking copious amounts of tea, scoffing down my delectable snacks and having a good old-fashioned natter.
So we have made another date. I will traipse back to the Library, burrow another book and get lost in another world of words written on paper. Then we will meet up and discuss everything other than the book.