Friday, March 14, 2008

Me likes to read good books of cleverness . . .

This year I have begun to indulge in one of my oldest and most favourite hobbies - losing myself completely in decent fiction.

I had forgotten how much enjoyment I get from ploughing through a good book in a day or so. As I have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to fiction, if I don't get into it quite quickly I become excessively familiar with the characters and they tend to go from the fictional version of my new and exciting friends to those dull and predictable relatives that you just can't get rid of at family gatherings.

Okay, that probably sounded quite harsh, but it is true. Generally the more I enjoy a book, the faster I will read it.

The other day I started reading "Romulus, My Father" at 10am on a day off, thinking that I would get a couple of chapters in before lunch. I finished it off at 2pm, having devoured it, cried a little in places, and thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing.

I haven't read through books like this in years, since I was in highschool. I don't know why I fell out of the habit - probably stress, inattention and a decrease in my attention span that probably corresponded with my beginning consumption of university residential college food as well as completing a physics degree.

To be honest, I suspect our high-school librarian who stocked our library had a pretty good taste in literature, as I hardly ever bombed out on any book that I borrowed. I had no idea how lucky I was. After that, I went for bookstores, and bombed out in fairly spectacular style a few times. My bookshelves still have quite a few books on them that I couldn't quite force myself to finish. After I stopped finishing a lot of the books I started, I guess I got discouraged and stopped reading fiction.

The book that I blame for reintroducing me to my oldest of vices is "A Spot of Bother" by Mark Haddon, sent to me as a Christmas present by my in-laws who generally have similar taste in books to me (except for Atonement - hated it, sorry everybody). I loved it, loved his first title, and haven't looked back.

I know that, as a medical student, I should be spending all of my time studying. But it is amazing how much extra time you can find in a day if you just turn off the television. Plus, I need down-time like I need oxygen and water. It is an investment in my mental health - well, that is my excuse to justify it, anyway. :P

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