Pet Please #56: Reading a Book in the Midst of Everything

This is a stock photo--not the girl at the game.

When you were younger, did you ever find yourself so wrapped up in a book that the rest of the world melted away? Maybe that happens to you as an adult too, but I feel like we read in socially acceptable places now, even in public: coffee shops, the park, cafes. When I was younger, I could be walking through a crowd of people at Disney World, and would be considerably more aware of the world Roald Dahl created on the page than the actual world around me.

Kudos to books, because this is awesome.

I thought of this because I went to the Cardinals game the other day and saw something I hadn’t seen in a while. These days I see kids playing on their parents’ iPhones or the Nintendo DS’s. Rarely do I see a kid get as wrapped up in a book as I used to. But I know it happens, because young adult fiction is hugely successful right now.

As I walked to my seat at the game, I noticed a young girl–maybe 11 or 12–completely engrossed in a book. The game had started (Cubs/Cards; she was wearing a Cubs uniform), but she didn’t care. I craned my neck to see what book could compel a kid to read instead of watch the game, but I couldn’t see the cover.

She didn’t read for the entire game, but now and then she’d pull out the book. I know what it’s like to not be able to put a book down. It actually feels…good. Other forms of media don’t have that effect. (Okay, maybe True Blood.)

What’s the last book that you got so wrapped up in that the rest of the world melted away?

16 thoughts on “Pet Please #56: Reading a Book in the Midst of Everything”

  1. Should this be a pet please instead of a pet peeve for you?

    …and it was the 1994 Jenny McCarthy Playmate of the Year edition of…ahem…a noted magazine. Couldn’t put the thing down. Slept with it under my pillow. (Kidding.) (or am I?) (Yes.) (Maybe.)

    Actually, it’s been too long since I was engrossed in a book. The time I actually remember an experience like you’re talking about was when I was traveling New Zealand reading The Prince of Tides.

    • Ha ha, yes, definitely a pet please. I changed it.

      Really, The Prince of Tides? What is so enthralling about it?

      • Actually, I think I was just happy to get into a book. I’d say one of the negatives of college (and high school) was that the extensive reading of books I found wholly uninteresting really turned me off to reading for pleasure. I hadn’t read a book for pleasure in years, so it was nice to get into something. I picked the book up at a free exchange shelf in a hostel and found myself intrigued to finish it.

  2. I got really wrapped up in Jane Eyre. I had previously tried reading other classics, such as Pride and Prejudice, The Scarlet Letter, and Wuthering Heights, but I always had trouble finishing them … so I was excited that I had finally found a classic that I got into, and really wanted to finish reading.

    I also enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love because it was like actually traveling the world with the author (Italy, India, and Indonesia). I like the feeling of being whisked away to places around the world.

  3. I guess I feel like as adults, we have more control over where we are. I’ve only started reading for pleasure in the last 3 years, but have been engrossed in several books in that time. When I want to read, I don’t want to be in a social situation or distracted by something exciting like Disney World or a Cards/Cubs game going on around me. For me, reading is associated with solitary place. Book store, cafe, couch, even doctor’s office waiting room are all palces where I can choose to ignore the minimal distractions of the setting, and still get in to the book.

    But I usually like to read on my couch. With Lord of the Rings Complete score on in the background. And a cup of hot tea. And if I’m feeling daring, shortbread.

  4. Sadly, Harry Potter… Also, The Giver I guess. The Ender’s Game is pretty good, but I can put it down for days and go back to it. I want to start reading The Help since I saw the movie trailer on tv. Hope the movie is as good as the book.

    • Jasmin, I was seriously about to write a comment about The Giver when I scrolled down and saw you had already mentioned it in your comment. I had read it in elementary school, then during a recent visit home I grabbed it off the shelf just to kill some time and found myself completely absorbed in it all over again. Reading that book is a completely different experience through adult eyes, don’t you think?

      • Sarah and Jasmin, I don’t want to make a big deal about this, but I loved The Giver as a kid and actually met Lois Lowry for a book signing. So, yeah, met the author of a fantastic, wildly famous book…no big deal.

        • Holy buckets! You met Lois Lowry?! How old were you? Did you instantly combust into a puff of booknerd steam from the sheer awesomeness of it?
          Because that’s the only reasonable reaction, I think.

          • Holy buckets indeed. I think I told her that I wanted to be an author and asked for her advice, hoping that she’d take me under her wing and make me a bestseller within weeks. But I think she said something generic and moved on to the next person in line.

          • Sarah – I haven’t read as an adult, but would love to if I can find my copy.

            Jamey – You lucky bug. Did you ask her what her inspiration was for the book and the characters?

  5. The last book I read was The Help. Like most books, it takes me about 1/2 into the book and then nothing can keep me from reading and reading, much to the chagrin of the chores around the house– in fact no meals get cooked, no dishes washed and no clothes cleaned.


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