"A long read allows us to hold the beginning and the ending of the story in our hands, see the start and the finish at one sitting, and in the process, we touch what is ordinarily too unstable, too shifting to grasp."
pleasure of reading
Late one November afternoon I settled down for a long read. As a professor
of literature, I read nearly every day, but its not often I find
the space for a sustained read. Most often my reading is like a walk around
the block: just enough to stretch my legs. I looked forward to a long,
leisurely hike. Curled up on the couch, I opened the cover of the book
and walked into another world.
While part of the pleasure of reading lies in going somewhere else, thats only one piece of the story. Reading a novel is like watching a potter at work: out of a lump of words, a story emerges. Or maybe it is more like being a potter yourself, the story taking shape right between your hands. As you pull the words up from the page, you see the contours of livesthe curves, the contradictions. It is more difficult to discern the shape of our lives, one chapter overlapping with another.
A long read allows us to hold the beginning and the ending of the story
in our hands, see the start and the finish at one sitting, and in the
process, we touch what is ordinarily too unstable, too shifting to grasp.
Momentarily, we witness the shaping power of time. And through that witness,
we understand more fully what it means to be alive in time.
The room darkened; I pulled the afghan over my legs and kept reading
in the lamplight. Somewhere the sun was still shining, and I was there,
watching the artist, time, at work.
Carol Tyx is visiting assistant professor of English at Wabash.
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