Literary Ear Worms

I love to read. Shocker, right? Ever met a writer who doesn’t like to read? I think it’s a part of us, ingrained into our DNA, inscribed into our bones, infused into our cells. Not to mention, even without being a writer, I come from a family of readers. So, it was like a one-two punch for me: just TRY rejecting books! (Ouch, it hurts to even type that).

My mom read to me all the time when I was tiny, and well into my teen years I still enjoyed collective family reading time. I decided I needed to be able to read for myself when I was four and by the time I was six, thought I was ready to independently tackle the classics like The Yearling.

Unfortunately, with my job, and my volunteer activities, and my job, and the demands of everyday life, and my job, and up until about a year ago my school, and did I mention, my job, and wanting to get SOME writing done, I usually have very little time to read actual books. And by actual books, I mean the old-fashion kind with paper, bound together, where you have to physically turn the pages. I don’t own a Kindle, or a Nook or any of those electronic, downloadable book devices. When I do actually get a chance to sit and read, I want the real thing; I want the authentic feel, look and smell of the book. Some of you out there know what I mean. There are a percentage of you, larger than are willing to admit it, who know what I mean about the smell of a book. There are an even smaller percentage, who probably also won’t admit it, who will try sniffing your book next time you’re reading it, just to see what I mean. Try it with a really old book.

If I only relied on reading my real, “old-fashion” books, however, I’d only make it through a couple books a year. Yeah. That’s how long it takes me to get through them. So, more often than not, these days, when I talk about “reading” a book, what I really mean is I “listened” to a book. I consistently have a minimum of three books going: one that I am actually, physically reading, one I am listening to on CD in the car, and on downloaded onto my iPod that I listen to when I go jogging, walk my dogs, or do those pesky daily-living tasks like mowing or washing dishes. Currently these books are Above All Men by Eric Shonkwiler (actual reading), The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (car) and The House of Hades by Rick Riordan (iPod).

What’s funny is the way that books I listen to connect in my brain to the actions I was engaged in when I listened to them. I was mowing the other day, and as I hit a certain part in my yard, scenes and lines from Hunger Games randomly popped into my mind. Last summer, I listened through the entire Hunger Games series again on my iPod. I’ve had the same thing happen before. Flashes of various books, lines, quotes, conversations, scenes will pop up as I hit certain spots in my jogging routine or make a turn while I’m mowing.

It doesn’t happen as often when I’m driving, probably because I drive the same routes far too often, and so have listened to far too many different books throughout those routes. Bu every once in a while, like when I am making the long drive to visit my friends in Virginia, I will pass a certain landmark and recall a snippet, bit or piece of the book I was listening to when I last passed that area. It’s funny, because it’s nothing I’m actively trying to recall, and the parts that will pop in are completely random, and rarely repeat. Not like they’re my favorite parts of the books necessarily. It’s almost like they’re literary ear worms, popping in there unbidden and not even knowing where they come from. Fortunately, unlike ear worms, they don’t stay too long.


~S.D. Bullard


~ by sdbullard on May 11, 2014.

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