Saturday, October 20, 2007

Book Blocked

There's something a bit off in one of my most treasured relationships. I can't describe it, but lately we haven't been connecting at all. We sit down together as we always have, but somehow don't engage. My mind wanders, and before long I'm thinking about my "to do" list, or the grocery shopping, or worrying over a tough passage in a Mozart Sonata. Several times, I've been forced to simply walk away.

Books and I aren't getting along well.

Don't laugh- reading is a relationship with me. I count on the fictional world to help me escape from the dreary real world and entertain me with the antics of interesting characters. I expect poetry to elevate my senses, soothe my spirit, ignite my intellect. I come to non-fiction to inspire my muse and feed my creativity. Lately, none of this has been happening with any of my books. My book journal for the month of October is completely bare ~I've finished nothing.

However, here's what I've started and put aside in the last two weeks~The Lay of the Land, Still Summer, Keeping the World Away, Body Surfing, and The Jane Austen Book Club. These may be perfectly fine books, but every time I sat down to read I kept losing my place in the middle of a page, or going back to re-read the last three paragraphs because my mind hadn't registered a thing. Finally, disappointed in the book (and in myself) I placed each one back in the "to be returned" pile of my library stack.

I don't take my relationships lightly, and the one I have with books is no exception. Giving up on one is hard. There was a point in my reading life when I refused to do it, and would struggle through most anything until the end. Now, though, there really are simply too many books and too little time. If a book and I aren't enjoying one another after about 50 pages, we part company.

But it doesn't happen often, certainly not with five books in a row as it has this month.

I suppose reading relationships go throught difficult periods like human relationships. Sometimes we simply fail to give each other what is needed. For whatever reason, we don't find the sustenance, the comfort, the insight that's required. But during those strained times, there is definitely something missing from life, and I feel bereft and lonely.

Today, I'm off to the library to bring home a new collection of possibilites.

Wish me luck.

How about you? How are things in your reading life?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know how you feel, I'm going through the same thing with books. I've always read quite a bit, but lately the thrill is gone. I think part of it might be eyestrain from looking at computer screens so much. My eyes are tired of taking in linear information and want big pictures, like tv and nature views, instead.

Blogger Michele L. Tune said...

I'm still trying to make it through "The Street-Smart Writer" by Jenna Glatzer and "The Shy Writer" by C. Hope Clark. There simply hasn't been time to read much lately.

You, on the other hand, may not be able to focus on your reading because a piece of you is "missing" with your recent "family events."

I'm sure this is only a season, Becca, only a season...

Best wishes to you and yours!


Blogger Inland Empire Girl said...

I am going through exactly the same thing. What is it? I can't concentrate and I am reading a good list of books also. I wander off too. .. or fall asleep!

Blogger jzr said...


I'm just finishing up A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I can't recommend it enough! I can't pust it down ... He wrote The Kite Runner, also amazing. But this novel is a glimpse into the lives of two women in Afganistan and how they fare through years of turbulance in their country.

My nonfiction read at the moment is another page turner, but not probably everyone's cup of tea. Gaia's Garden, A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, by Toby Menenway is helping me plan my next garden moves as the climate changes and our drought continues. A helpful and fascinating read.

I agree with you. If a book doesn't pull me in pretty quickly, we part ways. Life is too short to force ourselves to read things that don't "speak" to us!

Anonymous MissMeliss said...

I go through stages like this, and then I go through stages where I zip through books the way most people drink water.

It balances.

Thank you, btw, for the kind words on - I'm NOT a poet, but it's fun to pretend sometimes :)

Anonymous Danielle Blogging for Balance said...

Oh my, I am in this same predicament at the moment. I have just started and stopped three different books. I am hoping that JD Robb's book Naked in Death ends this particular cycle ;)

Blogger Star said...

I went through one of those phases during summer. The unfortunate thing about it is that I probably will not choose to return to any of those books for a "second chance;" they are victims of my own circumstances.

I've laid off books for awhile in favor of trying to maintain sanity with all that is going on in my life and it's been a good compromise. I've actually been enjoying my commitments more and am now more hungry to get books back in my life (but they'll have to wait in the on-deck circle for awhile yet).

I'm sure you'll get your reading mojo back soon :)


Post a Comment

<< Home