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Lately I have seen a few articles out there about what reading does to your brain. It’s fascinating, how it triggers certain areas of your brain into action. Unfortunately, I don’t have anyone to perform these tests on me, so I’ll just go into what I feel and why reading a book feels so much like my sugar addiction and trip to the gym.

For some books it takes a few chapters–others, a few pages. But when that connection to the book hits, I can’t put it down. It’s all I think about. When at work, my finger itches to open the book back up. Before going to bed, I promise to only read a few pages, but end up reading five chapters. I try to push the feeling away by promising myself I’ll go to the gym and read there (kill two birds with one stone, of course!), but if the connection is strong enough, that’s not enough. I’d have to stay at the gym for three hours or more, just to finish one more chapter, one more page.

Once I get into a book, talking to me is like talking to someone who hasn’t eaten all day. “Leave me alone,” I’d say, if I felt inclined to put the book down and talk to you in the first place. Yes, I’m that girl.

When I was in high school and college, I’d pull out a book and read at the back of the class. When I was in the fourth grade, I got put in timeout when my mother found me with the book Frindle inside whatever book it was I was supposed to be reading for class. I used to carry two books in my purse at all times–one I was reading, and one so that when I finished the first I wouldn’t be left in the dark. My iPad (with the Kindle app) is my best friend when it comes to reading; Mike used to laugh at me for carrying it everywhere, until I found myself in the hospital with nothing to do but read.

Once I hit that point in a book, there’s no going back. Good writing, bad writing, good story, bad story. The moment I sink into the book, I’m gone.

Of course, it doesn’t work for some books. I don’t like autobiographies. There are books that I want so badly to read, but I can never get past the first few pages. I keep them on my shelves in hopes that one day I will be able to read them.

It’s worse for books like Harry Potter. The Magicians. Tamora Pierce books. Books with magic in them. I also find it’s often books for younger audiences, young adult and at times middle grade. I start to read them and I’m hooked. It’s hard to tell what book it will be, where the tether will be so strong that once the book is over I feel empty inside. And I mean it–empty.

My Hogwarts letter never came. When I was a kid I tried to see if I could change into an animal like they did in the Animorphs series. While reading The Magicians I had a fleeting moment where my hope was reignited that magic like that does exist–that is, until I realized that I wasn’t close to smart enough to be selected.

When books like these are over, I walk around in a daze. My brain is still rolling around in the world the book created, and I find myself wishing, just wishing it were still true. The feeling doesn’t recede for days, sometimes a week or more. I just pick up the next book and do it again.

That is the type of book I want to write.

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  1. Baking lots of cookies. Chocolate chip, chocolate chip peanut butter and snickerdoodles specifically. It’s very hard to not eat cookies that surround you, did you know?
  2. Baking lots of cinnamon buns. Did you know the main ingredient in cinnamon buns is love? I say this because they’re made of lots of butter, and we all know what butter is made out of (cow love).
  3. Decorating my house. This includes John Deere Christmas decorations, a stocking my grandmother made me, my red typewriter, a snowman that talks to you when you pee, and Santa’s face on the toilet. You’re welcome.
  4. Working. Working so much my brain hurts. Unfortunately, not working means I don’t make money.
  5. Did I mention cookies?

Soon I’ll have something worthwhile to post, like finishing my book (possible in a few weeks) or social commentary on society (less likely).

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