Happy Book Zombie

books take over our minds, book zombie, reading fugue state,
Photo by sundaykofax via Flickr, CC by 2.0

 

I stayed up past two a.m. last night happily churning through a book. Reading seems timeless to me. It puts me in a book-related fugue state that used to get me in trouble in elementary school because the class would move on from reading time to math yet I remained oblivious, completely absorbed in my book. It still causes me trouble. I have no idea how many minutes or hours have elapsed when I finally lift my eyes from the page. That’s not helpful. No matter how late I stay up reading I still have to get up early.

When my kids were very tiny I only let myself read when they were asleep or nursing. Okay, I also read while they were safely strapped in the stroller, pushing it with a book propped against the handle. I hoped this would keep them safe from their mother’s zombie reading state. Actually it didn’t. Now they’re zombies when they read. Or maybe they pretend to be, the better to filter out reminding parental voices…

As Ariane wrote recently on GeekMom, the books we read can’t be unread.

I’d like to think every book changes you a little bit. You can’t unread it. Once it’s read you will carry that book around with you somewhere in the recesses of your mind for the rest of your life. Can our lives be summed up as a compilation of the books we’ve read, a queue of stories that make us unique?

We here at GeekMom have found that’s true on a profound level. When we looked back at our favorite childhood books  we found they’d had a significant impact in shaping our attitudes, interests, career choices, and self-image. I consider the wonderful crop of books available today and wonder how our children will incorporate those storylines and those characters into the adults they are becoming.

As for me, I feel pretty zombified today with only a few hours of sleep due to The Night Circus, a novel with magical appeal. But if my schedule allowed I’d probably devote a few more hours to finishing it today.

Perhaps because I’m tired, it occurs to me that books lure us into this zombification. Think about it. Close scrutiny of readers reveals that we willingly zone out, only our eyes moving in oddly repetitive back and forth motions. While reading we are out of our own minds, happily roaming through the imaginings of someone else’s. Perhaps our beloved books build brains to feed on them. If that were true I’d say, “Nosh away my dear books. Make a buffet of my mind. I am your happy zombie.”

 

 

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Laura is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending and Free Range Learning, a handbook of natural learning. She lives on a small farm notable only for its lovestruck goose.