Wizards First Rule, originally uploaded by alachia.

I used to love to read when I was younger. I would dive into books and read for hours and hours. I loved escaping into the stories and allowing the music playing in the background start to effect the entire mood of the book. There are still some soundtracks that will take me back to certain chapters of books.

But after grad school and being forced to read thousands of pages of stuff I hated, I grew a very strong distaste for reading all together. It was hard to shake that discomfort of physically reading after that so I kind of stopped all together.

I've tried several times to pick up a book but after the first page, I'm filled with anxiety and boredom (the overwhelming feelings I had when reading essays for grad school). I'm starting to think I'll never be able to read a book again which is kind of sad considering I remember how much I used to love it.

I also can't really justify buying a nifty e-reader in the future if I don't start reading again. :)

The other day, I was killing time at Borders book store before my therapy session and was perusing through the self-help section. There are so many books on how to fix yourself but none of them really made sense to me. I don't know what qualifies people to write most of this nonsense.

Like this one book my mom gave me called "The Power of the Subconscious Mind" where the author tells you to plant the seed of thought into your head. He then tells you to nourish the seed and let it grow in your subconscious.

One of the examples he used was of a student in his class who really wanted a car so she used the power of the subconscious mind and planted the seed in her head. She visualized what the car would look like, how she would feel getting into it, and even how it would smell. Every day she worked on this visualization and low and behold, one day her uncle died and she inherited his car.......

yeah... I was like wtf?

Anyhow, after giving up on the self-help books, I walked over to the fantasy section and saw Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule. I've been meaning to read this book ever since watching Legend of the Seeker. My brother considers it one of his favorite all time books. And I've only heard great things about this series in particular.

So I figure I'll pick it up and make myself read at least five pages every day (starting really small so I don't give up fast). I'm hoping that after the first chapter, I'll have rebooted my love for reading. I will say the first five pages are already interesting to me as they didn't begin with a six paragraph description of a leaf blowing in the wind (sorry Robert Jordon). It'll take me some time to work my way back to trying The Eye of the World again.

I don't know why but I consider escaping into a fantasy world of books a lot safer than the fantasy world of games. Right now I'm too afraid to get back into gaming for fear that I might lose myself completely to them. The desire to escape or run away from my own emotions in real life are very great. I have to be careful. Books seem like a safer alternative to gaming as they are far less emersive.


ObiWanAdobe said...

Wizards First Rule is a fun adventure. I loved the twists and turns without becoming too comic book like. I'm still more of a George R.R. Martin guy. The Song of Ice and Fire is a more dark fantasy world.

But back to my actual comment and a little less the book report. I found myself caught when you wrote, "...I consider escaping into a fantasy world of books a lot safer than the fantasy world of games." I'd agree with the assessment but perhaps it is safer, the books, because you aren't having to put on a persona while you read. You are their for the ride and not dealing with anyone's bad day or the little clues to the real world in a fantasy visual setting.

You say books are safer because they are less immersive but I would argue it is the other way around. In a book you could lose yourself to a new world where the rules don't apply to you. You daily struggles are nil in the pages of the book where in gaming, our world is just a hair's width away.

Yeah you can lose yourself, for a bit, in a persona you create but it is an active role you have to play. You have to keep up appearances while in the gaming world since you are interacting with others. In a book, the entire world is at your pace, at your beck and call. And let's not forget, in the gaming world every individual has his or her on take on how to escape. For some it is a simple playing of a character that's not them (Role Playing) but for others its all about trying to take control in the virtual what they can't in the real (Epeen)

My own personal thought, don't fear gaming. Just know what it is you are getting yourself into. Know what it is your are doing when you log into that battle field with your gun or explore the dark recesses of a dungeon with your mace. You aren't doing either, you are extending the real world into a virtual one that you may or may not have more control over. It's not the same as a book. It's not actually escaping the real when you game, you just give yourself a fair shot.

chewyfruitloop said...

Thing with games is your loosing yourself in someone elses visualisation of a world. If someone had given you the lore of Warcraft blind, I can almost gaurentee you wouldn't get the wow world out of it.
You read a book and you never get the same as someone else. Your warped imagination let's you create your own little fantasy realm that's always going to be more attractive to you than you'd get sharing someone elses.

I envy you for the ability to easily read books, the last thing I read that wasn't a technical book was lord of the rings before fellowship came out in film form. It's such a struggle for me to get through books, I avoid them. I guess that's why I go through so many podcasts.
Even with technical books, I'll go to YouTube first to see if someone can show me it first.

I'm glad you've found an in to something you've missed.
Perhaps sword and laser can give you some suggestions for other books too...

mon said...

Ah, I grew up loving to read. I fancied myself a reading warrior having stayed up may nights, with a flashlight under my covers, reading until the morning.

Then, like you, college came and there was very little enjoyable reading - mostly reading study after study, then reporting on those studies. Technical, boring, lifeless. My creative thought and creative writing suffered because of it, as I was only every writing about facts, stats, numbers, research... It sucked.

Harry Potter, yes HP, got be back into reading. And I wasn't young when I started on that series, just a late bloomer I guess you could say. I still have a hard time concentrating when I'm reading, but once I'm absorbed into it it's wonderful.

Have fun!