Every now and again I’ll go on a binge reading marathon. It helps when said marathons coincide with the times my body goes on strike, because then I can fill two purposes with one volume.
I do read every day, regardless of how I feel. Even if it’s only a few pages, I read. After forty years I kind of feel empty if I come to the end of a day and haven’t read.
But the binge days are different. They hit every six or seven weeks, completely out of step with my other biorhythms. When they arrive I feel this gut-wrenching crave for reading. I don’t want to do anything else. I just read. I plow through books like the razor prow of a ship slicing through the thick salt sea and let idea after idea churn in the foam.
This particular binge has been inconveniently overlaid on my chemo days, which are better suited for unremitting nausea and inescapable sleep. So I solved the problem by reading during every waking moment, rising above the nausea by focusing all my brain’s intent on Winterfell.
The bad thing about this has been the dreams. I’ve read four books in three days, finishing three new ones and meandering through A Clash Of Kings the way one meanders through a book they’ve read and read and read. But when I sleep–and I sleep a lot–the four books sort of congeal and reform a sort of…what’s that word…chimera. A chimera of love story and murder story and high fantasy and low humour.
I’m scared to sleep now.
I’m sure this happens to other people; I’m not anything all that special. I wonder if they, too, get to the place where they’re startled to hear someone speak to them. In the books no one talks to you. Even when the writer breaks the fourth wall you always know that there are millions of yous being addressed. You are never the only you in a book. It is kind of strange to suddenly be pulled back to the plane where you exist in truth.