Downhill Stride

Every book has a moment where it shifts into that next gear and the story starts to move at a blistering pace. I’m not sure pace is the right term here, but it is the moment that the book really draws you in and it is all downhill from there. There are some excellent books that take off on page one and there are others that don’t hit this stride into halfway or more through, and then there are other books that never hit it nor are they meant to.

It is a fun thing to be reading a book and then realize that you have hit that moment. This morning I ended up with an extra bit of time and decided to pick up the book I am reading, Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky and when I looked at the clock next all my time and then some was gone. I had gotten so drawn into the book that I had lost track of time.

For someone like me, who feels the weight of every minute, that is a strange occurrence. What made it weirder was it happened again during the day when I decided to listen to an audio book while walking a couple dogs and suddenly the visit was over. I asked myself why 20 minutes couldn’t go by that quickly at the gym but it was a nice brisk morning. Almost perfect walking weather for the way I was dressed. It is so rare to hit that perfect level of comfort outside where you are neither too hot or too cold.

There are dangers to getting so invested in a book. I am much worse with the physical books versus the audio books. I am reckless to a fault with how I stop the audio books where they are when I get where I am going or am done at the gym or finished working. I stop in the middle of chapters, often in the middle of sentences, and find it difficult to remember what was happening when I pick back up sometimes.

For physical books I have to get to the end of a chapter. I took a book to the delivery of our daughter and was worried I’d be in the middle of a chapter when they came to take my wife back. I think I might have stopped then and I have before but it is a difficult thing for me to do. The other day a chapter ran longer than expected and we had to take the boys to school. I stopped in the middle of the chapter to help them get their shoes and socks on before loading them in the car.

It is in the midst of those downhill moments that we easily lose track of time or get agitated at people wanting to interrupt our reading or drawing us back into the real world in some other form or fashion. It is also when the book has really hit its stride and is rushing towards its conclusion.

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