Reading & Playing
I want to write regularly again, but I have to ease myself into it, gently like.
When I finally had enough of an attention span to read again, the first book I picked up after my dad died was Ready Player One. I figured it would be a good palette cleanser — nothing too serious (in comparison to, say, The Sound and the Fury which is also on my desk) and probably comforting.
I mean, I’m years behind the curve on this one, but it speaks to my soul. And within ten minutes it made me want to put the book down and pick up a game — any game, but preferably something like an old final fantasy. There is SO much love for gaming in this book — everything from arcade cabinets to MMOs. And it reminded me of how much I love them, too.
When my sister left to go home and I was alone in the house, games were what distracted me. But because I was still hurting, I didn’t want to play multiplayer. I just wanted to get lost in worlds that weren’t this one. So I played silly games: Animal Crossing. The Sims. Harry Potter Lego. Now that I’m steadier (and I am steadier; yesterday was a speed bump, a punch in the gut, and today I woke up with a snarl on my lips and moved into being SO mad which feels better) I am playing a little again. Some Dragon Age last night (I picked up my level 6 mage because I wanted to make some different choices; that feels like cheating but man, you don’t get do overs in real life so I’ll take them wherever I can in virtual life). I have chore lists a mile high, but in between I’ll finish Shadows of Mordor, a replay of Windwaker, Dragon Age. I’ll play Mass Effect for the first time. I’ll replay the original Dragon Ages. I’ll play Limbo and Final Age and Tales From the Borderlands on my iPad. I’ll play EVERYTHING, in short.
And I’ll read everything, too. I am a literary omnivore, not embarrassed to read Nora Roberts alongside “high fiction.” While I was on vacation I read a bizarre book called The Place of the Lion, written by a contemporary/fellow Inklings member of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. I had a hankering for cozy fantasy, which isn’t a category that exists. Cozy mysteries, for those among you not trained to be mystery readers by your mothers, aunts and grandmothers as I was, are gently told mysteries taking place in small communities (usually English, although there are a lot of food cozy mysteries that are set in the US). Agatha Christie is my queen of cozy mysteries. I think of the Hobbit and to a lesser extent LotR as cozy fantasies, although neither really is (especially LotR — but honestly any book with that lovingly detailed descriptions of food counts). Harry Potter. Narnia. Redwall. Maybe this betrays me as a lover of young adult fantasy versus high/adult fantasy; I don’t care. Anyway, I picked up The Place of the Lion because of Charles Williams’ associations — and I guess to some extent it fit, but holy jesus there was so much PHILOSOPHY in it. My brain’s not up for that at the moment, and I read it on the plane until my eyes went cross eyed.
(where I did all of my reading at Sar’s Ventura bungalow)
A better success for my vacation reading was At Home by Bill Bryson. I love Bill Bryson books. They’re cozy history/non fiction, ANOTHER category that doesn’t exist. Sure, he might be describing the appalling conditions suffered by the poor during Victorian times, but there’s so much humor and time buffering it that you feel ok about it all.
Another great success was Bridget Jones’ Diary, which is so different than the movie but also great. British chicklit has a special place in my heart since I devoured it in Ireland (along with Terry Pratchett books) and maybe some part of me also just finds british literature inherently more charming; small villages and sprawling London and quiz shows. Always the quiz shows.
Next on my list, on arriving home, was A Brave New World, which I’m reading now. I am almost positive I read it in high school, but I don’t remember it — there’s not a single twinge of recognition (I got to the description of incubator nurses as “lupus colored” with purple skin and coral lips,due to the lighting, and felt SURE I would have remembered that). It’s not a tough read, engrossing, but my brain is definitely struggling to focus. So I’m breaking my no re-reads rule with a favorite Nora Roberts because I’m craving popcorn lit.
Basically, I’m not trying to live in denial, but sometimes it’s nice to escape. And is there a nicer escape than books and video games? No. No there is not.