You know how it goes. Work is incredibly busy or uni exams are swiftly approaching and you are suddenly—or slightly more than usual—overcome with the overwhelming urge to retreat, curl up, and get lost within the pages of a good book. Then you see, buy, or someone loans you the book they’ve just finished, the book (or often series) you’ve been wanting to read forever. And. You. Can’t. Focus. On. Anything. Else.
Winter is, of course, the worst for this, with rugged-up reading in the corner with a cup of hot chocolate the modern Homo sapiens’ equivalent of hibernation. (Mind you, I can also convince myself that reading is the only option during the heat of summer, which is too oppressing for one to do anything but sit in front of the fan.)
And does the illicitness of the reading such a book heighten or hamper the enjoyment of it?
I’m currently furtively reading The Wolf of Wall Street, a book that’s not really even my style. It’s a rollicking read by Jordan Belfort, former Wall Street banker who made millions of dollars each day and whose actions are both galling and incredibly intriguing. Would I normally enjoy such a book that so openly and gallingly celebrates appalling behaviour? Perhaps not. Can I put it down? Goodness no.
Once I’ve finished with that, I have a mini mountain of books I must read before I die (or miss my deadlines—whichever comes first) teetering invitingly on my bedside table. Even worse (ok, let’s be honest—better), I just got confirmation from this very online bookstore that the books I ordered during the week, in the brief moment I peeled myself away from reading, have been shipped and are currently on their way.
I am not so quietly cursing the fact that the weekend is getting between me and further book arrivals, as Australia Post rudely doesn’t deliver on Saturdays or Sundays, but it does give me some time to polish off The Wolf of Wall Street and try to work out which new arrival to read first.
From (I hope) Monday, I’ll have the choice of Mark Danner’s Stripping Bare the Body, a book that skewers the politics and brutalities of war, and David Ebershoff’s The 19th Wife, a book about Ann Eliza Young, the first woman to leave the Mormon fold and who exposed the practice of polygamy to the rest the world.
Light reading, I know.
They’ll join the likes of Luz Arce’s The Inferno, a tale that explores the terror of existing in Augusto Pinochet’s Chile, and, somewhat ironically, John Naish’s Enough, a book that examines our constant need to consume and how what we really need to be aiming for is ‘enoughness’.
And which books are your prime procrastination tools?