reading with one foot on the ground

When I started writing about books, it changed me as a reader.

These days, as I slowly turn the pages, I find myself pausing every so often to scribble down a few thoughts in a notebook I keep by my side. Sometimes, I stop to fold down the corner of a particularly impressive page. At the back of my mind as I read, I’m always thinking about what I’m going to write in my review.

It’s a curious transformation. I used to lose myself in books. I’d wander in the pages of the same novel for weeks and emerge disheveled, with wide, wild eyes, hungry for more.

But I’m a different kind of reader now. I’ll try and explain…

In Hollywood movies of the thirties and forties, during the filming of – ahem – bedroom scenes, both the actor and actress had to have one foot touching the ground at all times. This was the boundary between decent, wholesome American values and pornography: two sets of toes tickling the dusty floor of a sound stage.

Since I started blogging, I’ve learned to read in much the same way: always with one foot on the ground; careful not to lose myself in the moment.

It sounds like a passionless relationship; like a strained marriage. But that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Since I started to write about books, my love of reading has only grown stronger. My heart swells a little with every dog-eared page. What was once a passion is now a romance.

I’ve changed. And my books have changed with me – their covers are tatty, their spines creased and their pages folded upon themselves.

We leave our marks on each other like lovers.