It took me two full days to pick up a book after the results of the presidential election. Like a good chunk of the population, I felt blindsided, angry, hopeless, despairing. And as much as I wanted to catch up on my reading list, I couldn’t bring myself to do so.
Until today. Today, I had time to sit in a coffee shop and read. And it was so nice. Reading a few chapters of The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading (side note: did not realize you can actually have two colons in a book title) helped pull me out of my post-election funk.
Reading about authors, other books, other times, helped me realize that this is only a blip in the grand scheme of things. Sure, the present may be frightening, overwhelming, but there are things bigger than ourselves out there.
Literature and other art forms will outlive us all, and not only that, but they’ll provide a window into our present. Even the most out-there science fiction or fantasy novel has its roots in our world, in the events occurring around us and around the world. Future readers can gain insight into what’s influencing authors today, be that world events, social movements, or anything on a smaller scale, such as the birth of a child or dealing with a difficult time in life. Books end up being little time capsules, in their own ways. Part of what I love about books is diving into them, figuring out not only the what but the why. And that will never change. Not for me, not for readers ten, twenty, a hundred years from now.
We read to escape. We read to remember there are other people out there. We read to expand our horizons.
When the world is hard to deal with, we reach for books.
Now that I may actually be able to get some reading done, here’s my short-term to-read list (in no particular order):
- The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago, by Carol Fisher Saller
- North Shore: A Natural History of Minnesota’s Superior Shore, by Chel Anderson and Adelheid Fischer
- Twice Told Tail (A Black Cat Bookshop Mystery), by Ali Brandon
- Paddle Whispers, by Doug Wood