Literarily Naked

A few weeks ago, I ran out of my house. It was a Friday, and I was running a tad behind schedule. I left with my current book in tow per usual. I had about 90 pages to read. The book was going quick, so I had a fleeting thought of grabbing another one. However, I couldn’t imagine getting through that much before I got home.

Alas, you can probably see where this anecdote ends. I not only finished the book, but I finished it before I even started work. I actually had ten minutes to spare before I would be on the clock. I was left with no bookish material for lunch and the commute home.

I was irked that I hadn’t grabbed another book. I tried to console myself by noting that my lunch hour would be best used writing anyway, and I did have a couple of issues of Science News that I could take on the train to occupy my time.

But I couldn’t help but feel naked. It’s the same feeling I get when I leave my phone at home. I feel weirdly vulnerable and out of sorts. As with my phone and feeling cut off from the world without it, I had no book “blankey” to wrap and protect myself in on my commute home.

The Editor, Kelsey, did have a book at work that I could take home with me, but I wasn’t ready to read that book yet. I had one already picked out at home, and I was really looking forward to it. When 5 o’clock came, I left with my science periodical for the train.

I survived the journey. I learned that there are competing theories on the genetic origins of who populated the Americas first, and that boas kill their prey through breaking blood pressure as opposed to the assumed strangulation.

I love learning new things, but not having a book within my grasp is hard for me to cope with in general. But there’s even something more difficult when I’m between books. I would always be angry to have left my book somewhere to prevent me from reading when I had time, but there is something even more unsettlingly by knowing that currently I have “no” book in the world that I am attached. It’s as if I’ve entered a black void.

Does anyone else feel naked without a book at hand? Or being between books?


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