I used to describe myself as a "reader" - as the end of the semester approached, however, I was forced to concede that I was, in fact, a has-been. I strive now to be the opposite of a person in remission from addiction - I am returning to the addiction from whence I sprung.
When I was younger, I devoted considerable amounts of leisure time to novels. I read everything I could get my hands on, losing large swathes of time in fantasy realms and distant lands. I was the child reading at recess, the one with a novel secreted under her desk during math class, the one who never noticed that a poor five year old boy wanted to play with her because she was busy being Jo March. There was a period of time - lasting three or four months - where every morning, I would arrive at middle school early, and check one book out of the library. I would return the following morning to return that book, and check out a new one. This is how I read everything Tamora Pierce had ever written in under a semester.
During high school, my reading was split between smutty novels (I've forgotten the titles and authors, although certain descriptive passages remain emblazoned in my mind's eye), smutty and otherwise fanfiction (same parenthetical note applies), fantasy and realistic fiction, and "serious fiction." This last category caused me to take up Ivanhoe as a ninth grader, and read Beloved as a junior. I remember nothing about the former, and to this day, am not even certain that I actually finished it, although I certainly wrote a report on it. The latter remains in the annals of books that flipped my life upside down.
In college, books were relegated to the times when I needed an escape, or had vacation time. I'd say I probably read five to ten books a semester, if that. In addition, while I have always re-read books I enjoyed, that habit was particularly pronounced in undergrad where, like most not-quite-adults, I was drowning in melancholy and nostalgia all the time. For every new book I read during that time, I probably re-read two to three old books. In the year after I graduated, when I gap year-d, I read numerous memoirs and multiple novels, but for the most part what I really did was re-read Harry Potter, backwards and forwards. Twice.
Then along came law school, and that was that. I have been racking my brain for the novels I read this year, and drawing a blank. I know I read Aziz Ansari's book, Mindy Kaling's memoir, Cara Nicoletti's food memoir, David Byrne's memoir, and a history of Henry the Eighth's wives. I read Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, which is a poetry anthology. I briefly perused a book that contained the complete works of Salvador Dali, and began reading his memoir (I did not finish it, although if you ever meet me IRL, I'll certainly pretend to have done so). And there ends the list. I'm certain I read a novel in there somewhere, but I could not tell you where or what. I remember a brief foray into the local library, where I got two novels - I remember reading one and not the other, and amassing quite a fine before I returned them. I have still not paid the fine, and have no recollection of the books themselves.
When the summer started, after months of drudgery and insecurity, I chose to mire myself in novels. I started with Station Eleven, then took up the Neopolitan Novels (I have yet to read the fourth, although it is on my shelf), and then I began to read everything I could get my hands on.
So that's where I am now. This is what it feels like to breathe freely after an eternity underwater.