BY JULIE SEYLER
When I was a young girl, say between 8 and 18, I was a reader. I never didn’t have a book in my hand. I remember sleeping over my best friend’s house. She’d want to play and I’d want to read and I would plead with her “Just let me finish this chapter.” (In retrospect I think I wasn’t that much fun as a friend, except we did laugh alot).
A road trip meant curling up in the back seat of the car with a book. Summer was a string of endless days of devouring books. I opened Black Beauty on Saturday morning and finished it on Sunday afternoon. I gobbled up The Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew, and moved on to Valley of the Dolls, Jane Eyre and Crime and Punishment. I went on an F. Scott Fitzgerald kick and threw him over for Hemingway. Books were escape because back then the Internet was a glimmer in the eyes of the super-techies, but nowhere near ready for its close-up by the masses.
Then college happened, then law school, then work, then the computer did become a mainstay of life, and with each passing year the number of books I finished would dwindle. I don’t mean to imply that I don’t read. I do. I am always in the middle of reading a book and am surrounded by books. One of my favorite things to do is to wander into bookstores and peruse the shelves for new discoveries. They end up stacked in my bookshelves and layered on top of one another on my nightstand, patiently waiting to be cracked open.
These days I am more realistic about the prospect of actually finishing a book, I mean within a reasonable time period. So, instead of buying books, I download samples, thousands of them, onto my iBooks or Kindle. It’s comforting to know they are there at the ready for a rainy day, even though I feel guilty because it makes me one of the countless contributors to the demise of the old-fashioned bookstore.
Still every night I curl up in bed with a book. But, before I can settle down to read, I must check email one more time, look at the latest FB posts, review the blog stats for the day, and tap on the Scrabble app to see if my online foe has made another 66 point Bingo word. Then I snuggle into read. Two pages later my eyes are drooping and the lights are out. So much for reading a book.