This was going to be the post about going to meet the husband’s friends from work at the Gramercy and why I love the secret places inside restaurants and hotels. Not to mention that I still owe you my take on the Baker’s Dozen auction and the fate of my novel. It’ll have to wait.
I left work early tonight and slipped downstairs to the Barnes and Noble, where I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I grabbed a book off the shelf and read it. The whole thing, all of it, at once, in about two hours.
I used to do this fairly often – I’d devour a new novel in an afternoon, or I’d go into Half-Price while I was waiting for my husband to get off work and find myself most of the way through a book by the time they turned the lights off and kicked me out. I haven’t done it in a while, though, not like this. Reading this book was like a mad, desperate, frantic grasping that left me battered. Stunned.
There are two things you should know before you start thinking you wished you could go through an entire book in a few hours. The first is that you miss things. I don’t mind this, so much. It means that each time I read a book there are new details for me to find. It makes each reading new. The second thing is that my brain works differently when I read like that. It’s so busy processing information that everything else stops. Time compresses in on itself, like I’m going through life at 1.5 speed, so that my sense of time is rendered meaningless. My focus narrows in to what I am reading and only what I am reading. I don’t hear the conversations around me, the Christmas music blasting from the speaker above my head. I exist between one turn of the page and the next.
When it is over, when I have turned the last page and closed the cover, I feel as though I’m on some sort of drunk. I struggle to make sense of the real world – the stairs down to the subway, the traffic lights on the walk home. It seems far away from what I’ve read – unconnected. In the end, I’m left with a new room in the back of my head, as though someone emptied out a week’s worth of memories into me while I was sleeping.
The book, by the way, was Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall. I highly recommend it.