I am not a Brainiac. I do not even know what Brainiacs are or do (I just saw the term used on a website once by single trying to become couples) but I’m so aware of my brain right now. It’s alive and breathing. Not a gentle humming sort of breathing, but breathing in great raspy gulps.
Have I lost you completely?
I’m reading. I can’t stop reading. I can’t stop thinking of what I’m reading. I can’t get the words, ideas, pictures, conversations, connections to stop in my head. I’m so stirred (wired?) by the book that I feel almost dangerously alive, as though I am all head and a very small body.
What is doing this to me? ‘Reading Lolita in Tehran’. I’ve had the book for ages and ages, heard my mother reference it, heard other friends say they read it for book club, heard so much about it in the paper and internet I didn’t read it. I was wrong. I should have read it. It makes me hurt. It makes me think. It makes me dream.
It doesn’t let me sleep.
The author mentions so many of my favorite works of fiction in the book, discusses themes in fiction by some of my favorite great authors, and yet to have this discussion of Austen and Fitzgerald, Nabokov and James against the violence and tragedy of Iran during and after the Revolution…
There have been times these past few days when I’ve been reading and its like dreaming, but I’m not asleep and I’m fully conscious and fully engaged and yet my mind is caught, and my senses seduced and I can’t put the book down, and I can’t close my eyes, and I can’t look away because even when the light is out, even when it is dark and there are no more words to be read, the story is there, alive and breathing inside of me.
I am not small, nor alone, or fearful. I know I am more. I know I am larger than just me, a single individual. Reading tells me I’m part of life. Part of everyone. A whisper of humanity.
If anyone should ever ask me, why do you love books so much? I would answer this: when I read I am more alive than when I do anything else. When I read, my mind, that humming, rasping breathing thing inside of me, tells me anything–everything–is possible.
And I believe it.