News Editor

Stephen Milligan is the news editor of The Walton Tribune. He lives in Monroe and is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

I remember the halcyon days of my youth, when responsibilities were fleeting and easy to put off and schoolwork was mostly an afterthought.

I filled the idle hours as many children do — hours of video games, until I was pushed outside and started to swing the nearest stick I could find as my trusty blade against endless waves of vicious foes. (Every time I found a perfect stick, I would hide it under the back porch for later, only to discover my father than thrown it out and left me bereft of a weapon on returning to the field of battle; I lost a lot of imaginary wars that way.)

Unlike many children, though, I was also a voracious reader, inhaling books on a regular basis, flying through doorstopper-sized volumes in days or even hours.

I miss that. I still read frequently, squeezing in a chapter or two whenever I can (being able to read a bit by simply pulling out my smartphone and tapping my e-reader app certainly helps), but I miss the long, otherwise empty hours I once had to blaze through epics. I once read 1,000-page books in a matter of days. Now books half the size take me three times as long.

So I’ve been enjoying my latest binge of reading material for a most unusual reason: They’re short.

Sometimes I’ll get sucked down one rabbit hole or another and start organizing my reading material by some arbitrary measure, whether it’s deciding to push through a certain author’s output or just indulging in a certain genre.

Lately, I’ve been reading many of the classic gothic novels of yesteryear, those trashy, cheesy page-turners of centuries past filled with ruined castles, brooding forests, clanking chains, grinning skeletons, fainting heroines and all that.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve finished nearly half a dozen such books with titles like “The Necromancer” and “The Castle of Wolfenbach.” Some of them are acknowledge classics. Others are trashy pulp (they’re usually the ones that are more fun).

It’s lovely to actually achieve some reading momentum again, though. Maybe next I can find, and keep, a good stick.

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