I read comic books.
I know what you’re thinking: Gasp! Surely not! A well-educated, refined, discerning acquisitions editor like the bitch behind Query Quagmire would never stoop so low as to spend actual minutes of her life reading The Astonishing X-Men or some such juvenile drivel!
Or maybe you’re not thinking that at all and I’m carelessly putting words in your mouths. Regardless, contain yourselves, dear readers! It’s true. I read comic books, and in comic books I find my salvation.
It may seem like a bibliophile’s dream to read books all day for a living.* And it is a fun way to pay the rent. But there are days when I get so incredibly exhausted from reading manuscripts for hours on end that when I get home I recoil in nausea at the mere sight of a book. Some manuscripts are just ridiculously dense, or technical, or unpleasant to get through for one reason or another. Sometimes I just get tired of reading. And reading these manuscripts sucks all the joy of reading right out of me for awhile. Just for awhile, though. I always recover.
So what do I do when I can’t stand the sight of a book, when work has made me want to recycle my home library into interesting art projects and take up illiteracy full-time? I read comic books. It’s the perfect solution: Most comic books don’t remotely resemble the manuscripts I go through at work, but they’re still narrative and enjoyable stories. They’re books light, the diet version of losing yourself in a story (they’re much faster to read). And lest ye think comic books are an inferior art form, I challenge you to pick up any issue of Fables, The Walking Dead, Y:The Last Man, or Watchmen and tell me that it is not quality literature.
My comic book habit is cyclical though. Some weeks are better than others, and if the manuscripts I read at work are delightfully easy to get through, or not particularly stressful, then when I get home I’m ready to fall head-first into a full-length novel. I go through this cycle every few weeks or so, depending on how fed-up I am with work manuscripts. I start out reading Steinbeckian tomes for enjoyment, then work my way down to YA literature, and then down to comic books. There’s no qualitative difference between the reading choices in my cycle; Comic books just hurt my brain less during the stressful times.
*I don’t literally read books all day at work. There’s a lot more that goes into my job than just reading manuscripts. For instance, I have to eat about a metric ton of Cheez-Its, boss Intern around, and stalk my high school frenemies on Facebook.