Monday, 24 February 2014

184/111 - I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

This is the book that has been holding me up. I actually read this at the end of January, which was ages ago now, however until now I couldn't be bothered to gather my thoughts on it. In fact, I still can't but I want to be done thinking about this one now so I'm going to write about it and then just move on. The reason that I haven't written about it yet is that there was too much to think about with it, and I'm still not sure I've articulated it that well.

I downloaded this collection of essays after reading a snippet of one somewhere else and decided that they might be nice and insightful to read. The passage which initially enchanted me was about "rapture of the deep", and I read the entire essay and it was wonderful. This is the passage which was really magical:

"There's something called rapture of the deep, and it refers to what happens when a deep-sea diver sends too much time at the bottom of the ocean and can't tell which way is up. When he surfaces, he's liable to have a condition called the bends, where the body can't adapt to the oxygen levels in the atmosphere. All this happens to me when I surface from a great book."

Here is another from a different essay entitled Blind as a Bat:

"Reading is one of the main things I do. Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on…Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss."

What I really love about these two passages is that they totally sum up how I feel about reading. When I'm reading something good, something really good, it's almost like I'm having an affair, or that I have an exciting secret. Or that I'm falling in love. I think about the book all the time; I look forward to when I can next spend time with the book; I want to go to bed with the book; I want to tell everyone around me about it and I don't understand how people can be walking around not in the same obsessive haze as me. When I'm not reading a good book, or when I am reading something very bad, much like a bad date, I don't want to read any more books for a little while while I get over the trauma of the previous one. When I start to read a book and I am not totally enthralled by it, I feel horribly disappointed and cheated.

Books bring meaning to my life. I don't know what I would do without them. I spend my waking moments either reading them or thinking about reading them, and fewer of those moments writing about them. I think this might be a topic that requires some further dissection, so watch this space.

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