Saturday, November 2, 2013

What Would You Do If You Could Not Read?

Until June of 2013, I was not able to read. I knew how to, but could not.

I was ill, and with a mixture of medication which caused me to not be able to concentrate or focus, and migraines that came daily, in 1999, I read my last book.

I started reading at the age of three. My grandma would take me to the children's section of our big library. We went every week and came home with a stack of books. I preferred to read a book over watching television. I always had a book in my hand. I loved getting lost in my own world.

When I got a little older I was allowed to go "upstairs" where all the big kids got their books. And the same thing, I came home with a stack.

In school, my summer reading list was done in the first week or two so I could spend my summer by the pool, reading what I wanted to read.

I was always with a book by my side. I became ill in 1999. And the doctors did not know what to call it. I saw a specialist who diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. It is so painful I would not wish it on my worst enemy. And they did not know enough about it back then to know with type worst thing to do is have you rest (which I was told to do) and take narcotics for the pain, which you get used to and they keep upping your dose and it is hard to come off of. Plus with other types of medications to help out with the chronic pain, I could no longer concentrate on reading. Or focus really on anything.

Through the years, a whole myriad of things went wrong with me health wise. I had several surgeries, more diagnosis like Cancer and Multiple Sclerois. But I am a glass is half full type of person so I kept waiting, knowing this was happening for a reason.

I have come a long way, but have a ways to go considering many of my conditions are chronic and not curable. Everyday is a struggle but I love to laugh and smile an have fun. If you looked at me, and met me and we started talking, you would not know how much pain I am really in, or that there was anything wrong with me at all.

My mother, an avid reader herself, kept giving me books through the years, in hopes I would be able to read one. I continued to buy books that never got read. Maybe one chapter but that was it. But it was not until June of this year that my life changed.

My mother gave me a copy of "Joyland" by Steven King, with a promise of "This is just like his old works". That and the pulp cover got me. I started reading, and it was good from the beginning. I had to take breaks so I would not strain my eyes. They were only use to an occasional newspaper or magazine article. And then the avalanche started!!!

I read that book! I READ A BOOK! I ran to my bookshelf to see what else I had. "The Secret Life of Bees", also from mom. I flew through that. I was always a quick reader. I was so excited!

It was around this time I met a woman who introduced me to the site goodreads.com. Well that was my saving grace. I found out all about what I had missed over the years! Kindles and Nooks, e-books, new genres like manga and splatterpunk and young adult (which means something different from when I read young adult books when I was one!). So I started meeting other people on this site, discussing books. I made three trips to Barnes and Noble. I got three books each time and was ready each week for more. But money is tight, so I tried to slow down. I could not afford a Kindle but you can talk to authors now! Imagine that. So one author was giving away a free copy of his book. I liked what I read about the book and told him I would love a copy. Because he did not specify that it was an e-book, I assumed I got lucky and he was sending me an actual book. (I did not have Kindle for PC yet) So we started corresponding and a few days later he felt bad for the mix-up an offered me the book. He was going to send me a book! And the best part was he asked an author friend of his, who I had to reach out to and she also gave me one of her six books, signed. I was tickled pink!

I placed an order with Amazon based on new friends recommendations and my own picks. But the shipping is out of control. I ordered 11 books and that would be the last time I would pay for a book. I found out about a download called Kindle for PC. I was up and running then. Not only was I able to get free books, and help out authors by doing reviews for their books, which I love to do, but I entered many of the giveaways that goodreads has and to date, I have won 22 books. Plus two other book winnings from other sites. Not to mention the constant influx of authors that are very willing to give you a free copy of their book for a review. Which I am more than happy to do. I do not think it is too much to ask and I have read a lot of good books this way. Plus I had three authors ask me to be a beta reader. And I did what is called a Read 4 Review with the same concept. But with R4R you have a time deadline in which to read the book and do a review. I am careful how many of those I take on because I do have flare ups of my conditions where I am in pain and sleeping for a few days. Or have that migraine that keeps me from reading. I have done two R4Rs and am on my third. I was certain the Kindle would be flop because of the glare of my PC. But I got used to it it is not bad at all. Maybe for Christmas I will get Kindle White I think it is called.

I have found out about all kinds of free book sites. Or sites that will, when you bulk order, not charge you per book for shipping and handling. I have made a best friend. I have made many close friends. I have met many authors who care so much about their work they just want you to read it and enjoy it. I have participated in games, discussions, picking the Book of the Month for various groups I joined.

I am living and breathing reading. It is near obsessive level but how do you make up for 14 years? You cannot. But you can enjoy the fact that you can read again and realize that you have been very blessed.

So after seeing so many great book blogs, I decided to do my own. It may not have clickable links for giveaways (yet!) or fancy backgrounds (yet!)and big pictures of the book cover (yet either!) but it is the content that will matter. I will work on the other part of it and I know it will come together when the time is right.

Reading calms my mind and soothes my soul. There is nothing like making up a grand story in your mind and making all the characters come to life.

I have lists upon lists of books and references and movies based on books and vice versa lol!

If you are an avid reader, I hope you will take a look at my blog. I plan on posting every day. And I would love for you to comment. What are you reading? What do you like to read? What are your favorite classics? What won't you read no matter what? :)
I will start off by telling you right now I am reading 6 books right now. Something I said I would never do-read more than one book at a time. But they are all so vastly different, they are impossible to mix up. I consider it like changing channels on your television. You watch a little horror, you are done and in the mood for something funny, etc. Short stories are the commercials.

I have to date (and it has been maybe mid September or the last week of the month I joined Goodreads.com) logged in more hours reading than doing anything else. So I am going to balance my self out a bit :)

I want this to be a wonderful place for exchanges of ideas and talk and fun things!

Won't you join me on my journey?