Here at Readers Unbound, we call ourselves a grog, that is, a group blog. The word “grog” started me thinking about “grog” (ale) and “grogginess” (sleepiness) and their odd similarity to reading.
Have you ever sat up all night because you had to finish a book? And then the next morning you were groggy and felt as if you had a hangover? I remember the first time this happened to me. I was in my early thirties when I discovered the most amazing book: Pride and Prejudice. This was long before Colin Firth made Jane Austen the next hot thing! Of course, I’d heard of this classic, but I’d convinced myself it was too girlie, too much like chicklit for literary moi. And yet, I opened it at 8:30 p.m. and finished it at 2:30 a.m.
I remember it was a cold winter’s night. I hunkered down over the one radiator in the living room of our yet-to-be renovated older home. I read so fast that I missed half of Austen’s clues (that Mr. Darcy was not the villain Elizabeth thought him), so that when I reached the midpoint, Darcy’s letter after the proposal, I reacted just as she did: “No, this can’t be true!” And just as Elizabeth mentally poured over all the events leading up to this turning point, I hastily scanned the first half of the book finding details I had blown by as I raced along. Then back to the story. The end was perfect: all were as happy as ever they were meant to be. And I had found my favorite book of all time.
I hope you’ve had moments like this when the words leapt off the page directly into your imagination, and you were there. Reading is an active, not passive experience as our brains generate picture after picture projected onto the screen of our minds. Think of all the ways you may read—scratching away with your pencil, writing serious annotation or marginalia; reading a chapter at bedtime till your head jerks backward and you wake yourself with a snort or, as a kid, hiding under the covers with a flashlight and a favorite book; imitating a circus performer as you juggle three or four books at once. I have a friend who randomly flips through books, reading this section and that, moving forward and backward, till he’s satisfied that he’s got all he wants from the book. He drives me crazy! Then there those who just can’t wait for the author to unveil his ending in his own good time—they have to peek. Welcome to all of you. Please check back next week for something new. –Christina Kaylor
Question: Have you ever had a “groggy” experience such as the one described above? If so, what book? And how do you typically read?