I used to read all the time. I loved reading growing up as a child. I still have the fondest memories of my mother reading to me every night before bed. I'm not ashamed to admit, although I probably should be, that she read to me at night until I was maybe in high school. It is to this day one of my favorite things about my mother. That she instilled in me that gift. I cannot wait to do it with my own children one day. I don't read as much as I used to. For seven straight years of my adult life I went without a television, which left reading as the only activity to do to distract myself from my boring relationship and my obsessive yoga practice. I literally devoured books. I, unfortunately (and fortunately because I really love it), have progressed on to owning two TV's. It's great, don't get me wrong. For someone who's brain works overtime all the time, TV really is the bees knees. It is one of the only things that I do that let's me truly relax and shut off. But I am also fully and whole heartedly aware that the looming black box in the corner has taken the book right out of my hand and placed it firmly back on the shelf.
I actually pride myself on having some semblance of self-control. When I lived alone I had no problem turning the tube off for some quiet time to read or just enjoy the silence. In fact, some of my fondest memories of my glorious old apartment are of me snuggled up in my armchair on the fifth floor, reading and feeling content with my view of the great wide open.
Life as a twosome has been slightly, well, not that. And this is one of the area's in life where Justin and I happen to differ dramatically. It's not that he doesn't have self-control. It's just that he wasn't raised on books. He doesn't have an appreciation for the written word the way I do. He also happens to not have much appreciation for silence either. First thing he does in the morning is either turn on the news or turn on the radio. First thing I do when he leaves for work is turn off the news or turn off the radio. Riding along in the car I often choose silence because I work in a crazy job and live in a crazy city and I'm a Cancer to my core. It's like a retreat for me, away from the constant, deafening noise. Inevitably, the love of my life starts the engine and turns on the radio. It is actually quite amusing to me most of the time and it has also made me embrace the noise a bit more. I mean hey, sometimes really awesome things happen when you turn the music up loud.
But I have started to notice in the past few years how difficult it is for me to read with the TV or radio on in these cramped quarters of ours. It's distracting at the very least. The amount of information that is available to us all on a daily basis from every single direction is overwhelming and I, more often than not, find myself perusing blogs and magazines, or watching TV rather than reading. And guaranteed, even if I don't have the TV on, Justin does. Try reading when Phaedra is talking about donkey booties. Just try. It's hard to slip away into a different room when it's the weekend and I haven't seen my man all week and all I really want to do is hang out. It's also hard to make time during the week when my days are overfilled with blogging, designing, working on my business and working a full-time job. The weeks fly by and I feel little pangs of jealousy whenever I see people sitting in a cafe reading, lost in their own world.
I've been working on this lately. And I am really enjoying it. Reading feels healthier for me. It is healthier for me. I feel so much more satiated when I put down a book than when I watch a show. Plus, it engages my mind and makes me think instead of letting it all just shut down. In an effort to increase my awareness of the amount I'm reading I was inspired to start a little feature. I love reading because, for me, it transports you into another world in a way that the talking picture just cannot. You can picture the streets and the rooms and the faces, right there, on that page. It becomes part of you, those images.
And when I spotted this picture on Elle Decor the other day I was taken right back to the pages of a book I read a few years ago. This was it! This was exactly how I imagined those rooms! I'd seen the house before but it took on an entirely different meaning. I remembered how I wept when I turned the last page and the melancholy that settled over me for several days after. I couldn't recall the name at first but, after a little searching I found it. The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk. These photos are surely Fusun's house, in the seedy part of Istanbul, where Kemal would visit for painful, longing family dinners each and every night.
Indeed, this house is not seedy in the least. It is rather stunning and actually was featured here. But something about it just transported me. And I have realized that this happens to me frequently with decor. I love it, always, for one reason or another, but most often I am drawn to rooms because they evoke some nostalgia for something in me. This one nearly had me teetering on the brink of tears remembering the sadness at the end of that book.
I just started a new book last night and can already feel myself being taken away into that world. I can't wait to stumble upon the picture in my mind in a design magazine or blog and share it with you. On that note...any recommendations? Amazing novels you've read recently?