on reading, choking, and remembering to breathe

We started reading One Thousand Gifts while on our honeymoon. Cuddled in bed, I would read aloud until tears choked up my throat and my husband would have to take over.

We started another book too — The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson. Hodgson’s voice is as unique and expressive as Ann’s, and the story is as intense in its own way, but the experience wasn’t at all the same. See, we read an eBook version of The Night Land, and as wonderful as this story is, reading from a phone screen is not nearly as beautiful as reading from a book.

The tactile sensation of turning pages and weight shifting in your hands as you near the end of the book; tattered paper cover or hardback wrapped in shiny sleeve… Why have we forgotten this joy?

We read from screens more than paper. Even if we aren’t sitting in front of computers, we have smaller versions in our pockets — or more likely in our hands.

I used to carry a book in my bag so I would always have a way to fill the moments-in-between. We don’t have moments-in-between anymore. We have filled the cracks that used to let in light and make it easier to breathe with a digital glow that is slowly suffocating us.

I feel that choke-hold when I take a walk in the fresh air and try to breathe deep. I swallow hard, trying to loosen the noose that pulls me home to check email and social media.

Next time I think I’ll take a book.