Learning to read again


I’ve written about rediscovering the Providence Public Library. I go at least once a week, sometimes twice. It’s quiet and lovely, especially the book stacks (most people go to use the computers, which are right in front; there’s also a nice first-floor children’s section, and the librarians are universally cheerful and funny).

 

 

I check out at least a book a week.

 

 

And, almost by accident, I have learned to read again.

 

 

Funny: I have a room full of books, literally lined with books. I am always pulling them down, looking up things, lending them to people. But I am not adding new books to the mix. (I do, of course; it’s a lifetime habit. But I buy books and put them on the shelf without reading. That’s terrible.)

 

 

But now I am checking out books I do not own from the library, and there is a date stamped in them, and if I do not return them by that date, I will be charged – I don’t know – five cents a day.

 

 

hate being late.

 

 

So I read. I read novels, and screenplays, and radio scripts, and short stories. I have put things aside because they’re not very good. I have reread things.

 

 

I’m beginning to fall into a routine: one weekend day (either Saturday or Sunday, whichever has the crappier weather), with a book and a glass of seltzer water. I lie down, and I read.

 

 

I’d forgotten how lovely this is.  I can turn pages as quickly or as slowly as I please. If a book bores me, I can throw it aside. I can speed through a chapter or a section if it’s not wonderful. I can linger over things. I can reread things a few days later!

 

 

And I can lie down while doing it!

 

 

I find that I now (more than recently) have ideas in my head. Now, where could those have come from?

 

 

I have been more relaxed lately, too. To be fair, it might be my medication. But books are medication too. I’d forgotten how consoling they can be.

 

 

As W. H. Auden said in “For The Time Being”: “You will come to a great city that has expected your return for years.” 

 

 

It’s good to be back.


 

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About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

3 Responses to Learning to read again

  1. starproms says:

    Well I hope you didn’t throw my book aside? she said laughing. I love to read too and I am becoming more aware that if we don’t use our libraries, we will indeed lose them. It is always fun to browse amongst books and people. Sometimes someone will say ‘have you read this book?’ and tell you a little about it, thereby wetting your appetite for a new author or a new genre even. In addition you may have just made a new friend. It’s just a lovely experience all round, especially if there’s a cafe handy where you can rest your feet and continue the chat or flick through a magazine or too.
    There is also usually a very good local history section to pour over.
    Yes I agree, libraries are treasures to be guarded and used frequently.

    • Most certainly I did not throw your book aside; I am enjoying it.

      There is something different about a book. Maybe I’m just being nostalgic, but there is a very definite pleasure in settling down and actually turning pages. Flipping virtual pages on my iPad just isn’t the same.

      • starproms says:

        I so agree Loren. I do about half and half. There is nothing compares with going to the bookshop or the library and getting a book, bringing it home, curling up somewhere quiet and having a good read.

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