Sunday 9 September 2012

A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day - Emily Dickinson

I have never been one to listen.  To anyone or anything.  This is not a boast, simply an admission.  And something I'm not particularly proud of.  It just is.

But be it due to age or experience - or pure need - things change.  And for the past three weeks, I've been enjoying listening to a serialised production of Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks on Radio 4. While pottering in the kitchen, preparing food and snacks for the week.

It's been wonderful.  And took the whole stress off seeing Buddenbrooks sitting on my shelf and expecting to be read.  It's in German.  I have no idea why I bought it in German.  But in German it is.  And I have no compulsion, energy or otherwise to struggle through the German text just now.  If ever.

The whole experience was just that.  And is it mad that I felt so grown up listening to Radio 4?  I usually tune in to France Info in the morning, and Radio 2 in work so this was my first foray into Radio 4.  And it felt... different.

Anyway, the point that came home to me was that reading is reading is reading.  Whether you go through the words yourself, or have them read to you.  And one is as stimulating as the other.  Hence the recognised importance of reading to children.  But why stop with them?

The wonderful thing about being read to is that, as you are being entertained, you can get on with necessary tasks.  Which are rendered less burdensome (if like me you are not a fan of housework, cooking, baking or otherwise...) because the mind is being thus entertained.

As I have said previously, going back to work is increasingly denying me of quality time for my books.  So I feel a great need to compensate in whatever way possible to continue my reading.  Particularly as my one last reading refuge - my visit to the physiotherapist - has now progressed such that I am no longer allowed to lie back and let the TENS machine do the work.  It appears that I should put in some effort myself now to encourage my muscles back to action.  And I can't use weights and read at the same time.  If you were a fly on the wall, you'd see the problem.

All this means that, unless I do something drastic, I will end up reading less.  Surely that is not necessary.  There are options. And I am so very much more open to all reading possibilities now.  Read to me, read with me, read for me.  Read, read, read.  Oh, and did I mention that my Kindle can read to me?  Loving it more each day...

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