I love, love, love books: once I could easily get lost in a book to the exclusion of all else.
I remember when, at times, I would sequester books like a squirrel in a pile beside my bed, waiting for the end of semester or the Christmas holidays. Then I would spend hours at the kitchen table, on the couch, beside the pool, under the tree, or in bed, immersed in some other world.
Sometimes I would put down a book once I had reached the beginning of the last chapter in the knowledge that I would soon be leaving this world, to grieve a little before I had to say my final goodbyes.
More often than not I would shed a tear or two at the end, regardless of the happy or sad ending.
But today, books are my lost love. Since being diagnosed with depression and now taking the appropriate medication, I just don’t have the attention span needed to read a book.
I’ve tried, many times, in both dead-tree and digital form, to align my heart’s passion for books with the diminished capacity of my chemically-constrained brain. Sadly, my mind wanders within 30 minutes and I must move on to something else.
That’s not to say I regret having to sacrifice books for sanity. Without medication I’m not sure I would be here at all. I also have a loving, respectful and supportive relationship with my daughter that I may have otherwise destroyed in my depressive state. And I manage to find meaningful, if sometimes frustrating, employment, which helps to pay the bills.
So I relegate books to the drawer that holds the other lost loves of my life – to be treasured and occasionally unearthed with smiles and fond reminiscences.
For the record, here are my favourite books:
- American Gods – Neil Gaiman
- London Fields – Martin Amis
- Secret History – Donna Tart
- Oryx and Crake – Margaret Attwood
- 1984 – George Orwell
- True Game – Sherri S Tepper
- The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
- Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
- Gormenghast series – Mervyn Peake
- The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant – Stephen R Donaldson
- The Torturer series – Gene Wolff