Reading all night long

I love reading. I’m one of those people who reads relatively fast, though I wouldn’t say I’m a speed reader. I can read several books a week and I went through a period of reading almost a book a day several years ago. I was taking full advantage of the Ottawa Public Library at the time, and the number of books I checked out in a year is a number that - if I knew it - I would probably be embarrassed to admit (we’re talking triple digits). I was in between permanent jobs, taking on occasional contracts and I had a fair bit of free time on my hands. (I think I was also depressed, thus the incessant reading, but finally finding a job helped me get past that part.)

My mom and dad are both readers, but my mom is the one that I take after. She read often and quickly and all different kinds of books from Charles Dickens to the Bible to Encyclopedias to Patricia Cornwell, Dick Francis and Agatha Christie. Dad was more likely to read a well-thought out selection of books in a year where my mom almost always had a book she was reading or re-reading.

Where mom and I were slightly different is putting books down. I used to stay up all night long (literally) to see where a story went because I needed to know before I could sleep. When I lived alone back in 2000 shortly before moving to Canada, I read Kiss the Girls by James Patterson for the first time. Did I mention I lived alone? And in a slightly sketchy neighborhood? Luckily, it was a Friday night so I was able to stay up until 5:00am to finish the book so I didn’t stay awake all night listening and jumping at all the creaks and groans of the older house I lived in. I enjoy a good thriller, but that was too close to home for me.

Mom was much better about putting her books down and getting things done. But I think she understood me - perhaps even wished (like I sometimes do now) that she could just let things go for a day and just spend her time reading.

I’ve gotten better. I can now put a book down and go to sleep, but rarely without getting to the end of the chapter. I miss being able to stay up all night and read, though. I miss being able to take an entire day and plan to read like I’ve done with several of the Harry Potter releases. I can’t do these things anymore and still be a responsible adult, meaning being there for my husband and child (and also my employer). So, now I read Dr. Suess and other good children’s books to my son to get him excited about reading. Then, maybe one day, he and I can wile away the hours in our respective reader’s worlds - occasionally.

Do you have a favorite activity that you miss? A way of doing something that you miss? What is it? Why has it changed for you?