A Book-sized Hole in my Heart

“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.”

The author Vera Nazarian wrote that and I like it. Conversely, when you read no book at all, the world becomes a little darker, the heart more benumbed.

I feel ashamed to say I have fallen into the latter category recently and it has killed tiny little pieces of me. There’s always an excuse not to read. Ergo, there’s no excuse not to read, says I.

And it hurts.

It hurts in that way every reader knows – it’s lightless, vapid, and cold.

What is it about the reading experience that so many of us identify with and cling to as if sustenance, I wonder. They are, after all, just words. I like what Alberto Manguel said about this subject:

I can understand that there are those who can think and imagine the world without words, but I think that once you find the words that name your experience, then suddenly that experience becomes grounded, and you can use it and you can try to understand it.

For me, the word I keep coming back to is solace. Reading is inner bliss. It is the soul steadied on the most unsteady waters of our everyday lives. And not to have read for so long has left a book-sized hole in my heart.

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