Side effects of reading

I don’t read books. Usually I fall into them and don’t come up for air until I’m finished. As a child, I would devour the Famous Five adventures. I immersed myself into the story to the point of shivering with cold when I was reading a story which took place in winter even though it was thirty degrees outside. Not to mention that I was constantly hungry with all those picnics the five friends had every three pages.

22299763I would read all night, with a torch under the blanket, because I simply couldn’t put the book down until I knew how it ended. Once when I was fifteen, I was home ill. Bored out of my mind and suffering from terrible pain in my kidneys, I read a 350-page book in one day. I broke that record recently when I read Crooked Kingdom in a single sitting (530 pages). My bottom was numb from hours of sitting and I was dizzy when I finally got to my feet. But what’s that compared to the satisfaction of having read a stupendous book?

A few years ago I read Blindness by Saramago. That was an astonishing read like no other. After I finished the book, I experienced odd side effects. For a couple of days, I occasionally felt as though I had a sort of filter on my eyes, as though I was blind. Not physically blind, of course, but a strange sensation which is hard to describe but it was a direct consequence of Saramago’s story. I would love to re-read the book because of how profoundly it affected me, but on the other hand, I’m reluctant to do that because this time around it might not affect me the same way. I’m loath to lose that strange, intense experience.

Did you ever experience any book so intensely? Maybe even in a negative way?

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