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Yesterday, I realized that I only have ten more days of work and only ten more days of summer here, at one of the most incredible universities in the world.  Just ten more days.

Where did my summer go?

I don’t have much to show for my ten weeks of summer vacation.  I had a number of anxiety issues, so I wasn’t able to read as much as I normally do.  In fact, I wasn’t able to read a book at all.  I checked out several from the library, but they are all still sitting on my desk with bookmarks marking where I stopped, a few pages beyond the introductions.

For whatever reason, not reading any books over the course of my summer bothered me as I biked back from yoga.  I guess I did not focus enough on the present moment at yoga yesterday.  As I passed the bookstore, I decided to stop inside and hopefully find inspiration to finish at least one of my books before I go home for the remainder of my summer.  Browsing the shelves of bookstores and sensing the potential of new, unopened books usually provokes me to finish whatever book I have already started.  It’s a part of the “there are so many books to read and so little time” mentality.

As I wandered through the quaint bookstore, musing on titles, I started to feel a long-dormant, yet familiar rush of excitement, a sensation similar to the anticipation before an airplane departs or a road trip begins.  All these books have a story to tell, a message to send me, a journey to take me on.  I could have picked up any book and bought it; but, any book ran the risk of joining my pile of literary excursions cut short.  I needed a book to really captivate me.  I needed a long, meandering story with developing characters, drama, love, misery, happiness, war, and peace.

War and Peace.

There it was, a fat, daunting volume.  I picked it up, felt its weight, flipped through a few pages, and hugged it to my chest.  Tobias Wolff told me it was his favorite book, and not just because he was proud to say he read the whole thing.  He said it was a story that really took him away and surprised him each time he read it.  (He has read War and Peace multiple times).

I should have put it down.  Plenty of stories are diverting and less challenging.  I just couldn’t.  I miss reading too much and it had been too long since I felt a real desire to engross myself in a story.  So, I handed the cashier twenty dollars and sat myself down by the fountain to start at Chapter One.  Because that is what people with anxiety-driven focus issues do; they read War and Peace.

Wish me luck!

What are you reading currently?

Have you read ‘War and Peace?’