A scary bookish tale

Let me tell you about a seriously dark day in my recent past.

It was a Thursday in October. I decided to drive to work, something that I don’t normally do but it meant that I’d be able to get to work earlier and, crucially, that I’d be able to leave and start my weekend sooner.

When I drive, I know that I’m losing out on nearly two hours of reading time. I do not make this decision lightly. But, I also know that I’ll still have my lunch break to read so a book always gets tucked in my bag anyway.

On this particular day, I forgot to bring a book with me.


Do you need a minute to process this? That’s ok. Take your time, I’ll wait.

I realized that I didn’t have any reading material with me as soon as I got to work. My mind started racing with questions: What would I do with my lunch? Go to the bookstore? Go to the library? Would I just pick a book and start reading it? Or spend the whole time browsing?

In the end, I decided that I’d go to the library. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by all the books I have at home to read so if I added to that pile via the library, at least there’d be less guilt over not reading them.

But then! When I got to the library, I didn’t care about any of the books I saw. I didn’t want to read any of them. I was just lamenting the fact that I had forgotten my book. I didn’t care about Ian Rankin, books about Versailles, classics or books that had been on my list for ages. Nothing struck my fancy. I didn’t even wander up to non-fiction to see what was on offer.

It was all very unsettling.

Finally, as I was nearing the end of the alphabet, Zadie Smith’s NW jumped out at me. An odd choice given how I felt about White Teeth last year. But because her new novel is about to come out, Smith seems to be everywhere and I’m very drawn to her.

And then, I ran back to H and grabbed Juliet, Naked because I remembered that I always enjoy Nick Hornby. Pretty sure I have Chelsey @ Chels and a Book to thank for that!

So my tale ends happily: I had reading for the day in question, I’m jazzed about reading and I finished the book that I had so sadly forgotten at home. Just a momentary blip of bookish insanity.

What do you do if you don’t have reading material with you?


17 thoughts on “A scary bookish tale

  1. Omg – I can totally understand your panic! I carry my Kindle with me everywhere and feel naked without it. The other day, I’d had my Kindle in my purse (which was inside a larger tote bag) at my daughter’s sports class. When I went to dinner with a friend later, I noticed there was no Kindle in my purse. I about had a heart attack. Was it on the soccer field? On the playground somewhere? In my larger tote bag at home (please, please let it be this one!)? And this was all when I was at a dinner with a friend and all of our kids…I wasn’t even going to get to read at that time! Turns out it had fallen out of my purse into the larger tote bag and was at home…phew!

    • Oh MAN. Did you have that stomach dropping moment? I’m so glad that it was safe and sound! That is not a good feeling – and a Kindle! That’s all your books! Way worse than mine. I think my blood pressure spiked reading your story.

  2. Haha! This is a good horror story for October! I’m glad it all worked out okay in the end. But, like you, I’d partly be annoyed that I was missing out on some reading time, while at the same time panicking about being without a book. The library was a good (and safe) choice. This would be the perfect situation to do some real damage at the book store – in the name of comfort and to make up for that lost time.

  3. I love you for this logic: “I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by all the books I have at home to read so if I added to that pile via the library, at least there’d be less guilt over not reading them.” This is also why I have a shameful TBR stack AT work so that if I were to finish a book on my commute in then I can start a new book right away. It’s also so the husband doesn’t really know how many books I have still too read but that’s another topic.

    • Can you please write a post about that topic? “All the books my husband doesn’t know about” sounds like a great post! I don’t keep books at work but I make sure to bring extra books with me if I am nearing the end of the book I’m reading.
      I’m glad you appreciate the logic. I haven’t read any of the books I brought home that day but I still mean to…

  4. I know that feeling when you realize you don’t have a book or you don’t have the *right* book so well! I am listening to audiobooks now that I spend most of my commute by myself, and the other day, I realized that I had left my iPad at home and wouldn’t be able to listen to my book. I panicked so much that I took a detour to the library, where I can take advantage of the Wi-Fi Hotspot when I stand right in front of the door, to download the book onto my Kindle. I felt pretty stupid standing in front of the locked library door, but my commute was saved. 🙂

    • I love that you detoured for free wi-fi to get your audiobooks. If I was smart enough, I would do the same thing. I’ve been listening to podcasts on the days that I drive to work and I don’t understand how I listened to the radio as long as I did!

  5. I would just read blog posts or watch YouTube videos while I ate lunch, tbh 🙂 But I do hate it when I intend to bring a book and forget! If I was totally desperate I’d see if the ebook was cheap and download it on my phone…

    NW is fantastic! I read it a while ago and am considering a re-read, as I am rereading for the rest of the year, and I listened to the audio, which is always a different experience. I did not like Juliet Naked too much, but I was 9 months pregnant when I read it so I didn’t like much of anything, your milage may vary! Do report back…

    • Oh no. I can’t spend my lunch watching videos. I barely have the aptitude to do that at my computer. I always so look forward to the time I get to spend with my books during the work day. Sad, but true.
      Good feedback on NW and Juliet, Naked. Will report back…if I end up actually reading either of those hahaha

  6. Lol. It’s not a laughing matter but I did chuckle cause I tend to freak out a little when I forget my book. The other day I had to go an event so I searched my shelves for the smallest, thinnest book I could fit in my clutch.
    If I’m without a book, I usually just read articles on my phone or pick up a magazine that usually contain long articles.

  7. First of all, I have a couple of things to say about your horrendous predicament. You have my condolences and I’m glad to know it all ended all right, but why are you wasting perfectly good commute time? You could be listening to books! This was all that kept me from ending up on the news for road rage when I was commuting. Second, in order to assuage TBR guilt you could have looked for a book you knew you had at home and checked it out as a stop-gap. Sorry, it’s the librarian in me.

    If it is at all possible, if I end up with nothing to read, I try and meditate. Mostly because I so often feel on the edge of insanity these days (aka election season).

    • I listen to podcasts on those commuting days. Which has vastly increased my enjoyment of those commuter days. I haven’t made the jump to audiobooks…I may have to try one and see how I go. I just don’t drive regularly enough to stick with one story, you know?
      I definitely could have done that and probably should have. In the end, those books that I took home will likely go home unread because this month is all about the non-fiction. But next time I lose my mind and forget a book, I’m coming back to these suggestions.

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