22 January, 2008

Reading block

So, I have only read one and two halves books so far this year. I have a weekend away this coming weekend, which involves ten hours on trains in total, so I may get some decent reading done then... although I also have a cardigan sleeve and a half to finish knitting, so, hmm.

I find reading blocks very difficult to deal with. I have successfully managed half of Barbara Trapido's Brother of the more famous Jack since yesterday, so I may be emerging from this one, but I have spent most of January feeling antsy and not-right. Partly this has been because I have been in an essay swamp (this evening I hand in To what extent did the fascination with the ‘new woman’ reflect social realities in Weimar Germany? Woo!) and haven't been able to settle to anything without guiltily worrying that I should be reading essay stuff. Then the chicklit novel I started to celebrate my emergence from the essay swamp turned out to be terrible, overly arch and full of anachronisms, so I've laid it aside. (I'm working on my new 'Life's too short to read crap' rule. It is too short. I don't need to finish a book before I judge it unworthy of me.)

Also, due to the aforementioned essay swamp, I haven't had time to tidy or clean the house, or to do any of my other projects (knitting, sewing, cleaning out my wardrobe) so I haven't got to the point where after a busy day I reward myself by sitting down with a book. And bus journeys have been spent staring into space and making mental lists of all the things I need to do rather than reading. Do any of my readers ever get reading blocks, and how do you get out of them?


Niall said...

My solution to reader's block is to read something completely pre-modern. No social realism, no contemporary issues - the more gods and monsters the better.

It really does have a weirdly liberating effect. You get a glimpse of utterly dead ways of thinking, and (arguably a guilty bonus) you rarely feel as though you have to actually finish it. There isn't this dragging sense of responsibility that you can get with contemporary stuff: you're not hemmed in by relevance. So you can enjoy it as much - and only for as long - as you feel like it.

Phil said...

I try not to feel guilty about them, but also have a lot of variety of books on my immediate to read shelf, including some very short stuff, fiction and non-fiction, all sorts of things that can get your brain moving when you're not in the mood for imagining other worlds.