If you've been following my blog for over a year, you likely know about me that I am a pretty avid reader...well, at least I used to be. Since June of last year, when the younger kids came home, the quality of my reading has been pretty pathetic. I've read a few romances, a whole whack of youth fiction (including an entire, large, seven-volume series that I remember almost nothing about!), some totally fluffy chic-lit (which I'm not opposed to in principle, but the stuff I've been reading these months has been pretty sad), and some crappy mysteries (to be distinguished from good mysteries, which I enjoy). Until the past month or so, the only reading I've done that resembles my usual interests has been to re-read a couple of lovely works by Ernest Hemingway: A Moveable Feast (one of my favourite reads); and The Old Man and the Sea. Other than the Hemingway, it's been a pretty sad state of affairs for a woman with an English lit degree and a real love of reading.
It's not that I don't have time to read. I always read before I fall asleep...I'm not sure if I could fall asleep without reading. The issue has been that my brain hasn't been able to focus enough to absorb what a book is trying to tell me. Some of the issues of the past 9-10 months have been so emotionally and mentally intense that by the time I get to bed, I have capacity for two things: first, for staring glassy-eyed at the ceiling for a while in an effort to grapple with and shake off whatever's happened that day; then, for reading a book that takes no (and I do mean no) mental energy to consume and that provides an in-the-moment escapism experience. I remember the content of almost none of the books I've read until the past month, hence the 7-volume series I read that I remember virtually nothing about.
I also don't mean to be judgmental about anyone else's taste in reading, btw. Maybe you're an avid romance reader, or a Sidney Sheldon fan, I don't know. I do know that for me, reading certain types of books aren't really good for me...they put stuff into my head that I don't think are healthy for me. So when I see my ability to read decline from what is normal for me, I worry that it's indicative of the low emotional state that I've been struggling with. And now that I'm at the beginning point of getting back to my usual tastes in books, it's likewise an encouragement to me that maybe I'm coming into a better place.
Anyway, I hope I'm 'on the mend' now...emotionally and with regard to my reading interests. I've read two good books in the past month, which is a lot less than usual but a certain step in the right direction given the sad trajectory of the past ten months.
While I don't think for a second that I'll get back to a two-book-per-week reading habit, and while I think I'm done for now with the days of lugging home from the library a 3-foot stack of 10-11 hardcover books to read in the next three weeks, I'm just grateful that the part of my brain that needs to be active in order to read seems to be normalizing, settling down again. I'm hopeful that this is a sign that, just maybe, life as a whole is settling down into the new normal.
I would love to hear from you about any books you've been enjoying lately. Does anything come to mind? I'd love to start a 'to-read' list again.
And on that note, my friends, it's time to get myself ready for bed and tuck myself in with a good book. Next up: Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern (thanks Eileen and Kathie for the recommendation).