Reading alone in my lamp-lit room. Surrounded by dark walls and heavy, wooden furniture. A candle on my dresser emits a faint scent of burning that I find delectable—I connect it to campfires and the forest, I think. Soft silence brought by heavily falling snow blankets the house. It is a perfect moment.
Times like these are too glorious not to be savored completely. I like to think about why it feels so lovely. Why I feel so at peace in mind and body. If I don’t acknowledge the feeling of perfection, it ceases to feel as powerful. I liken it to tasting food. Some people eat delicious food quickly, reasoning that it is so good that they can’t stop eating it. Well, if you eat it too fast without stopping to think about the flavors, it will soon be gone. When I eat, I let the flavors enter my mind, and I have to think, wow, this food is great. I’m lucky to be eating it. It’s wonderful that such a thing exists. In the same way, reviewing the nuances of a moment let me appreciate its full beauty.
And the beauty of literature is sometimes overwhelming. When my surroundings are proper—as they were this evening—I drift sweetly into the story, and very wholly become possessed. I am currently reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog, and I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys pondering weighty topics. It has given me plenty to mull over.
Mostly, I think I read just for the pleasure of reading and the mental activity that it entails. I like to find facts and ideas that I never expected. I attach myself to characters, and I’ve cried over a book many times, sometimes at a sad scene, but also at the perfect ones. The ones that I would so love to happen in my own life that I weep tears of happiness, or disbelief, or something else currently unbeknownst to me. The feeling of being so wrapped up in another setting that it truly feels real, like you’ve been there, as if you know the characters, is grand. I suppose most other lovers of books understand completely. My attachment to the fictional, however irrational, provides me with such a sense of pleasure that I would never consider giving up the habit of reading. Not when a nice reading session can considerably improve my mood for days. Sometimes I don’t even realize that I needed a boost from a thought-provoking novel until I notice its effects. Of course, the noticing is the really interesting part. Recognizing that I’m calmer and happy lets me replicate the moments that put me there.