fiction is an essential nutrient…

Was a bit under the weather this week. Had been busier lately than ideal. But when I felt hugely run-down yesterday, I realized that among several contributing factors was that I had not let myself immerse in fiction for too long.

Oh, I’d been looking at books, especially picture books, but in an analytical work-ish way. I’d been using books, especially writing books, to support the progress of various projects. I’d been listening to lectures on-line, I’d been to a terrific writers conversation event (between Gregory Maguire and Patricia Maclachlan) which included some very entertaining readings of snippets of their work. But I hadn’t let myself just fall into a fictional world, to immerse in story, to gain the perspective that comes from removing oneself from the present moment and following characters around who might seem, to others not with their noses in a book, to only exist on the page. And I missed it. Like having a week without chocolate or without fresh vegetables or whatever keeps you nutritionally and sensorially going (both, in my case).

Luckily, I had a handy stack of “to read” choices. I went through them like a hungry person standing in front of the fridge, picking delicious things to eat. Today’s choices: Lev Grossman’s CODEX (because I’m a sucker for a medieval thread in a story, love old books, and have been meaning to read it for ages) and C Brodien-Jones’ THE OWL KEEPER, which I picked up with great enthusiasm as an ARC at last year’s ALA conference, dove into,enjoyed, but got waylaid by other need-to-reads, so am now restarting with full immersion and a fascination with silver owls.

All in all, a pleasurable good-health intervention (sanity-saving too, perhaps), and makes me want to contribute more to programs that put books in the hands of those who otherwise have little access to them (do feel free to recommend specific programs in the comments – much appreciated).

So be well-fed. Feed yourself with whatever reading you have been missing. Your happy healthiness will thank you for it.

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