How Do You Read?

He’d always had a nameless, unanchored longing; and when, at critical points in his life, a period of intense longing coincided with the appearance of a suitable object, he fell for it head over heels, and believed he had discovered a great passion.
— Josephine Humphreys, Dreams of Sleep

Reading is a vital part of my wellness regimen. But like any substantial relationship, the act of reading hasn’t always been brimming with love and reward. There were periods after college where I could go months without reading a book, but there were also periods in which I was reading six books at the same time. The summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, I read so many books I don’t even remember what all they were. The only book I’ve ever remembered reading from that summer was Bridge to Terabithia. I couldn’t tell you why I remember that one specifically, except that it was sad and celestial and magnificent. These days, I read much more slowly. It takes me over a week now to read a single book. That doesn’t mean my love has lessened for it, though. If anything, I feel as though by reading slowly I’m mending a broken relationship. Or, to put it more existentially, I feel as though I’m mending myself through reading more patiently. In taking my time with each book, I’m able to appreciate layers I’d miss under my adolescent spell of gluttony. What’s even more fascinating to me are the places in which I’ve found myself reading. There’s nothing altogether unique about them, but I like taking notice of where it occurs to me to pull out my book.


At the stove, waiting on a pot of water to boil.

On the deck in the black adirondack chair, waving away gnats and mosquitoes, shooing Basil away from Emily’s rose bush, sipping a glass of chilled wine, distracted by the occasional flitting butterfly.

At the lake, under my cousin, Bridget’s, awning, children squealing from the water down the hill.

Sitting atop the dryer, glancing every now and then out the back window.

Curled on the sitting chair in my parents’ living room with the TV muted.

Propped up in bed after a brief yoga practice, reading always past my bedtime.

Craned over my desk in my cubicle on a slow work day.

Waiting on a friend in a bustling restaurant.

On the beach under my dad’s two umbrellas, the waves sighing into the sand.

Standing in the checkout line, waiting to pay for groceries.


How do you read? Where do you find yourself reaching for your book?

Happy Thursday.