I knew that this break needed to be a healing and restful one, so with that in mind, stocked up on electronic reading. Keeps the luggage light and the mind very light too. With this in mind, I loaded up my Kindle with some “light” reading. I am not a reading snob, but my choices for holiday reading might veer towards the “trashy” side. Nothing like a bit of escape reading when you when you really mean and need to have a break.
I have mentioned before that I am more of a paper person than electronic in many senses. I love funky little notebooks, the smell of a new book, the feel of good old-fashioned writing paper (gosh I had so many kinds back in the day), all manner of pens and pencils and the luxury of an old hardback book. I have little libraries of books all over the place. Many in the loft back in Scotland, a hoard in India and a large overflowing book case with many more stashed all over our home in Yangon.
Wherever I go, I have to have books with me. And an extra emergency stock, just in case I have a book emergency. You never know when these things might happen, and must be prepared.
So Kindles are, in theory, a great thing. I never cease to be amazed at how many books the thing can carry. And it does not weigh any more and takes up just the same amount of space. Some kind of electronic black magic, I guess. The best thing about the Kindle however, is that it hides just how many books I have bought, and how “light” some of them might be. I also particularly love being able to buy books while lounging at home. More magic. But I still love real books. And for Book Club and books I love and cherish, I always have to have a real copy and not an electronic version. For one thing, the Kindle looks weird with stickies to mark a page, and bookmarks fall out
So here I am, in the jungle, with a great stock of electronic reading and what do you know? I am still ploughing through book number one. After more than a week? This is almost unheard of! I go through at least one book most weeks, when I am working full time and devour book after book at times of leisure. It is true that this particular “light” book I am working my way through slowly is not a completely engaging read. I guess it does not help that I have just finished reading “On Writing” by Stephen King so I am picking up on all sorts of distracting flaws in the writing of my holiday read. As if I have a right to critique – it is always easier to criticise than to create, after all)
No, that is not the main reason for this slow down. I realise that it is all about escape. Usually one reason for, or certainly effect of, reading is to escape. To disengage from the everyday. To visit different places and experience new things. As well as following a story, in most cases.
However, I find that the Kindle keeps nodding off, as it realises no virtual pages have been turned. My attention has been taken by a sound from the jungle undergrowth, a different birdsong, the crashing of branches telling that something is on the move nearby, perhaps the langur monkeys or maybe those cheeky wild boars foraging. A leaf tumbling from the tree catches my eye as it is held on some wisp of air and dances to the ground. Little birds playing above the pool, dipping in as they buzz past again and again. I am surrounded by such exquisite micro events in a jungle which is teeming with life and activity. How could I possibly miss any of this by disappearing into a book? I am living my own escape at the moment. It does not mean that I love reading or books any the less, but just that I realise that I have come to this place and must cherish these moments. I must soak in every tiny detail and hold it tight. I need to be in the here and now to get the most from this.
For now though, my mind will remain focused, yet distracted, here and now in this perfect escape.