Digital Detox Update: Books! So Many Books!

If you’ve never tried a digital detox, even a small one, I highly recommend doing so, particularly if, like me, you are often anxious and you have been diagnosed with ADHD.

Removing screens from my existence for the duration of my evenings is a delight. I am calmer. My mind is productively engaged rather than constantly embroiled in struggles to keep up with my own thoughts. I sleep better. I am, in general, more content.

“Where there is an emptiness, the mind will obligingly fill it up. Fear is always at hand to supply any vacancies, as is curiosity. I have had ample experience with both.”

― Margaret Atwood, The Testaments

Unfortunately, without a book to read I far too easily boomeranged not just into old habits, but into more frequent internet activity than usual, as anyone who follows me on Twitter has likely noticed.

The issue is this: I finished The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (which I highly recommend). But then I wound up staying at home for several days because I was feeling under the weather, and it took me a while to get to the library to pick up my next read.

I honestly had forgotten what a voracious reader I’m capable of being, and how quickly I’m able to plow through a book when I’ve become absorbed by it. I was, quite literally, unprepared for how soon I was done. I did not have another book on standby.

There are always eBooks available to read on my phone, but I’m afraid they don’t do it for me. If I’m looking at a screen the temptation to bounce between multiple tasks is irresistible. In general, I can’t get into a story when I’m reading it on a screen.

I have now made it back to the library, and have my next read in hand: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

I hadn’t heard of the book before seeing a trailer for the movie created by Netflix.

Every single actor in the trailer was someone I recognized and love, plus, there are gorgeous shots of scenery and beautiful costumes involved. It was right up my alley. I watched the movie as soon as I knew about it.

Something about the movie felt off, though. It felt inauthentic. I had a hunch the movie plot had deviated dramatically from the novel. The storyline as a whole had me intrigued, but the movie didn’t wow me.

Over a year went by until I picked up the book, and when I did, I was surprised to see what a slim novel it is. It’s under 300 pages. I knew I would finish it within days, and then would be back to spending far too much time online again.

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.”

― Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Screens definitely do have their advantages, though.

I stood in the library for a while looking through my to-read list on Goodreads, flipping back and forth between it and the library web site, until I found something that suited my mood and was available to borrow.

March by Geraldine Brooks was on the shelves, waiting for me to bury myself in its pages.

From Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has taken the character of the absent father, March, who has gone off to war, leaving his wife and daughters to make do in mean times. To evoke him, Brooks turned to the journals and letters of Bronson Alcott, Louisa May’s father–a friend and confidant of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. 

Pulitzer.org, The 2006 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Fiction

March, too, is a slim novel, though. I am sure I will soon be ready for something else. In fact, it will probably be far sooner than I’d prefer.

I need something weighty, something that will suck me in. Ideally, something that is part of a series would be nice.

I’m on the hunt and open to recommendations. What novels have you fallen in love with lately?

“For to know a man’s library is, in some measure, to know his mind.”

― Geraldine Brooks, March
Featured Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

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