Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sleeping On It

Robert Ellis
Have you ever noticed that when you read a book straight through, when you start and finish the novel in a single day, the story becomes vague after a week or two? And what happens a week or two after that? The novel all but disappears. Maybe it's just me, but I particularly notice if I move on and begin reading something new the next day. Everything gets lost in the haze.

I have friends who do this every day. They revel in their addiction! They start at 8:00 p.m. and read a book straight through, even though it often means staying up most of the night.

A few months ago I decided to change my habit. No matter how long or short a novel might be, I promised myself that I would do a page count and stop reading; that I would sleep with half the story for one night, and let it percolate in my head.

A lot of things happened when I made the change. First and foremost, novels no longer fade or get lost in my mind. And second, if it's a really good book, it makes my day because I have something to look forward to. I'm not discovering who these characters are anymore. Instead, I'm back for another visit. I can't wait to see them again. I've been thinking about the story all day and can't wait to see how things will turn out. Then again, if it's not such a good book, if it's a real dog, I don't have to waste my time or lose any sleep over it. I just toss it aside and pick another one up from the pile!

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