Monogamous Reading

I’ve been thinking lately that there are certain parallels between reading and relationships.

The other day I was commenting on a friend’s blog about having just finished the fifth book of the Dark Tower series but hesitating before picking up the sixth because now that I’m at the end of the series, were getting into some serious lengthy reading – it’s taken me quite a long time to finish Wolves of the Calla (I remember starting it around the time I went to PeachFest with C&E, which was at the end of August) so it’s been almost 2 months. Song of Susannah is next but I’m hesitating to pick it up, only because reading the Dark Tower series involves a serious committment from me and I have a hard time committing myself to just one book for a long period of time.

Part of the problem is that I usually like to only read one book at a time – on occasion, I might start a new book if I am travelling and need a lighter read (in both volume and depth) but I don’t feel right leaving the other book unfinished – in that sense, I’m a monogamous reader because when I start another book before finishing with another, I almost feel like I’m cheating on the book.

When I invest a lot of energy into a lengthy novel (Wolves of the Calla, for example, was over 700 pages) and I get to near the end of it, a part of me is a little sad to be reaching the end of what had usually been a rewarding experience, but at the same time, a part of me is excited because I know that I am going to soon be free to pursue other novels. After finishing with the Calla the other day, I went in search of a quick novel to read – brain candy if you will – so that I could read it fast and then move on – kind of a like a rebound novel. Sort of like after a serious relationship you kind of want a semi-relationship that’s not serious and doesn’t challenge you.

I ended up picking up Hearts In Atlantis, because I wanted to read the first novella, which is Low Men in Yellow Coats which, I remembered correctly, had numerous references to the Dark Tower series. And even though I had read it before, I read it quickly, unable to tear myself away from it. I finished the first part early this evening and now I am into the first chapter of the second part, which is Hearts in Atlantis – not because I’m the type that can’t not finish a book (one could compare reading a book you’ve read before to hooking up with someone you’ve been involved with before – it’s a lot easier to walk away) but because the Hearts in Atlantis novella was my favorite part of the book and I’m compelled to read it again. (I also have a soft spot for Hearts because I consider it to be the turning point in SK’s career, the point from where he went to writing your typical mainstream horror to actual American fiction – it and Bag of Bones are at the top of my list of SK favorites. )

I think a lot of this summarizes just how complex and involved a hobby reading can be, for me at least. It’s not something that Tay (for example) relates to although he feels similarily to watching movies, and in fact I have teased him before in the manner that he goes about chosing a movie to watch – much of the time, he puts so much thought into what he’s going to watch that it’s like it’s the last thing he’s ever going to see :).

Anyhow…Enough blogging about reading.. I think I’ll just go and read instead :).

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