"I read for escape," the Reader said. Take "read" in both the past and the present.
That's the conversation we had about books. Since I can remember, many of my memories of the Reader involve her reading; she read(s) mostly murder mysteries and romance type novels about 18th century English sailors (there are endless series of such novels).
I don't think she really heard herself speak about the escape, though. I wonder what she felt she had/has to escape from? I'm not sure I want to know, really.
The Reader complained that her life hasn't been as exciting as the lives of people she's met in her retirement community. I tried clumsily to say that she'd made choices, but she said she hadn't had choices. I tried, again clumsily, to say that maybe she hadn't recognized her choices as such. She chose to have kids, and before that to marry. And she read to escape.
I'm one of the kids. Did she read to escape me? Was I that painful a choice to have made?
She chose to marry, and says that she couldn't imagine not having married our Dad, that he was the best of men. But she read to escape.
My memories of my Dad are pretty much totally positive; he was a gentle man with a sense of humor, quiet, competent, caring. (When I first learned the poem about My Papa's Waltz, I had no clue that the kid saw the waltz as problematic, that the Dad in the poem was drunk, because I didn't comprehend at all that a Dad would get drunk or be frightening, or that dancing with one's Dad could be anything less than pure happiness.)
But I guess the Reader wanted more travel and excitement than my Dad and his work and sense of family responsibility entailed. They made "safe" choices, responsible choices. And she read to escape.
The Reader complained that we kids aren't responsive, aren't proactive in calling and such, that we've chosen to live across the country. She praised my cousins for their dedication to their Mom and step-Dad.
At breakfast, during a discussion of the importance of reading aloud to little kids, she laughingly told the other women at the table that she'd always had her nose buried in a book, and that when I'd come to ask a question or want to do something, she'd always have me wait until she'd finished a chapter or whatever.
And she reads for escape.
I think many of my choices, especially my choice to join the Peace Corps, to go back to school afterwards, simultaneously make the Reader jealous and frustrated/disappointed. She reads for escape.
I didn't worry about security or safety the way people who grew up in the depression did because she and my Dad made safe, responsible choices. So I am more free to take chances, more free to see and recognize choices, perhaps. They gave me that freedom while she read for escape.
I don't read for escape.