Yeah, me too. It's been a while.
Not long ago, I had the chance to sit down with a good book for a couple of hours and just read. All in one sitting. A physical book, a comfortable couch, a faithful beagle sleeping by my side, and a beverage of choice close at hand. My wife was doing the same on a love seat not far away (sans dog), which made it all the more companionable.
About an hour in, it hit me. In my busy days and hectic nights, I'd forgotten the pure pleasure of sitting down with an author and exploring her/his ideas at a slow, easy pace. It felt like the author was right there next to me, sharing ideas, exploring concepts, making intuitive leaps, and asking me how I felt about that. Time slowed, the world backed away, the nagging to do lists in my head fell silent, and life grew richer as I came away with several new ideas to play with ... and I'm still playing with them now.
What a rich experience ...
I intend to carve out some more time to do it again soon. I have a whole stack of books waiting to be read. That's a whole pile of authors just waiting patiently to share their views of the world and possibly expand mine. I'm looking forward to it now ... now that I remember the simple joy of the act.
Make the time when you can. I highly recommend the experience.
Here's a few books I've been reading lately:
The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace by M. Scott Peck. (This is the one I was reading when I rediscovered the joy of it all. A book on community building that is as relevant now as it was when it was written in 1987.)
Finding Faith by Sharon Gallagher. (Powerful individual stories ...)
Jesus Laughed: The Redemptive Power of Humor by Robert Darden (Highly recommend this one as it explains how over hundreds of years "the Christian church" has leached humor out of our proceedings and why we need to reclaim it).
Sadly, those were read over many months.
One of the best books I know for giving you that sense that the author is right there with you is the masterfully written, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. That wonderful, short book really makes you feel like the author has taken you out to a comfortable tavern for a beer and a conversation. Whether you like to write or not, I highly recommend it.