This year has been a slog. For a lot of different reasons, both international and domestic. I’ve had trouble all year with reading (among other things). And for someone who takes comfort in time spent reading, who takes solace in novels, this has been especially difficult.
Am I picking the wrong books? I read a thriller recommended by my husband last week and started out really enjoying it. It ended up taking me five days to get through, and by the end there were all these little nit-picky things about it that drove me insane. Like, why does the boy have to be the one saving the girl? The book is supposed to be about the girl! Why is abortion being used as a plot device like this? Why so much focus on breasts? Is it me or is this book actually problematic?
Should I stop pushing on? Is this just a reading rut that has nothing to do with anything else? I’m currently trying to make my way through the second book of a promised trilogy. I loved the first book. It restored my faith in the historical fiction genre, convinced me that they were still worth reading. But over 200 pages into this second book, I don’t care? There’s a romance, a girl ahead of her time, history that I don’t often read about, and the writing is decent. But I can’t seem to care and I think often about maybe just stopping but I just did that a couple of weeks ago, can I do it again?
Do I need to spend less time obsessing? Well obviously. And yet, I feel like I’m always thinking about the other books that I could be reading. About the time that I am not spending reading, about the time I’ve spent reading things that don’t matter to me. I’ve read articles about how it’s not that hard to read 200 books in a year and I struggle with the fact that I haven’t even cracked 100 yet. I think about the books that I have read but not reviewed. About the books that I’ve bought or had sent to me that I haven’t even cracked.
I think longingly of Non Fiction November and all the books I will be ‘free’ to read then. But I also think about all the fiction that I will ignore in the service of Non Fiction November. I think about the fact that I’ve been driving to work nearly every day and all the reading time I’m losing because of it. I think about the days that I get alone time that I spend watching trash TV instead of with my nose in a book.
Mostly I think about how this year has robbed me of quite a bit, including the simple pleasure of the enjoyment of a good book. And then the anxiety spiral starts again.
So, I’m still here. But, you know, in a different headspace.